Volcanoes National Park Bird watching Rwanda
This national park is located in the north west of Rwanda along the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park is contiguous with Mgahinga Gorillas National Park as well as Virunga National Park. It was gazatted in 1925 as a small area surrounded by Mikeno Karisimbi, and Visoke, the intention was to protect mountain gorillas from the poachers. This was the first national park to be created in Africa and contains eight Pleistocene volcanic peaks which form part of the water shed between the Congo River systems as well as the Nile.
The vegetation here varies with altitude and the park is mostly covered with bamboo and some parts are occupied by montane bogs. The other vegetation found in this park include; bush land, subalpine, thicket, Afro alpine vegetation of both Thicket grassland and Heath. This park is well known for mountain gorillas as well as the popular primatologist who cared for the mountain gorillas, Dian Foseey and set up Karisoke Research Centre, she was later murdered by poachers in 1985, and however her work is still carried on by Rwanda Development Board.
This park also has a rich avifauna with a total of 178 bird species with 13 species and 16 sub species endemic to Ruwenzori and Virunga Mountains. There are three globally threatened species namely; African Green Broadbill, Lagden’s Bush shrike, and the Kivu ground Thrush. 17 of the 25 albertine rift mountains endemic bird as well as 53 species of the Afro tropical highlands biome can be found in Volcanoes national park. The main bird species found here include; Strange weaver, Rwenzori Turaco, Collared apalis, sun bird, Rwenzori Batis, Rwenzori double collared, dusty crimson wing, Red faced woodland warbler, Archer’s ground Robin, Black fronted duiker and the francolins.
Birding in Nyungwe Forest
This park is situated in the southwest of Rwanda between the border of Rwanda and Lake Kivu. Nyungwe is also divided north-south by mountains that reach 2,600- 2,900m which form part of the Congo- Nile watershed. It’s composed of vegetation, water flow as well as biodiversity. The park has over 250 tree species and receives an average annual rainfall ranging from 1,500-2,500mm.
This national park is a wonderful Bird watching Rwanda destination which lies in Butare and provides good roadside birding. There are over 275 species that have been recorded reflecting the wide habitat diversity as well as the altitudinal range. These also include; 25 species of the Albertine Rift, Rockefellers’ sunbird as well as the Chapin’s Fly catcher.11 of the 23 species of the Guinea Congo Forests biome and 71 species of the biome Afrotropical highlands are recorded on this site. This forest is the most important forest for the conservation of montane birds in Rwanda.
Some of the bird species found here include; Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Masked Mountain Apalis, Rwenzori Hill Babbler, Neumann’s and Grauer’s Warbles, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, double-collared, purple-throated, Archer’s Robin-chat, Strange Weaver, Mountain Sooty Boubou, Rwenzori, blue-headed, Red-collared Mountain Babbler, Stripe-breasted Tit, Handsome Francolin, and Rockefeller’s Sunbird. The other wildlife species found here include; 13 primate species like chimpanzees, owl-faced monkeys, Golden monkeys, vervet monkeys, leopards, Golden cats, olive baboons, greater bush babies, Dwarf Galago, etc.