Bird watching in Nyungwe National Park which is a high dense rainforest in southern Rwanda on the border with Burundi. Bird watching is one of the activities commonly done in the park because of the impressive bird checklist in the park.
The park has been conserved as a national park since 2004 covering an area of approximately 970 sq. km of rainforest bamboo. It is probably the best-preserved montane rainforest in Central Africa. Nyungwe Park is comprised of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps, and bogs.
Bird watching in Nyungwe National Park is one of the main activities that avid and seasoned birders choose to undertake. This is because of the impressive and unique bird checklist and affordability. The park is one of the seven important birding areas found in Rwanda that has been considered so by BirdLife International.
With the terrain and dense forest, it is such an amazing experience as forest birds tend to shy and hide in the forest offering such a challenging yet memorable experience. In Nyungwe, it is also possible to spot new species that you might not see anywhere else in the country.
Nyungwe forest is unique and rich in terms of biodiversity with different flowering plants and marsh areas which provide food and shelter for the birds. For an amazing experience, there are several set birding trails in the forest and these have different bird species to be spotted.
Some of these trails include the Bigugu trail where you can spot the Red-collared mountain warbler, Karamba trail rich in bird species like Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, and the Gisakura trails with possible sightings of birds like the Kivu ground Thrush, short-tailed Warbler, Mountain Masked Apalis, and Regal Sunbird. The Kamiranzovu trail offers a chance of seeing the Grauer’s swamp warbler, short-tailed Warbler, and Grey-crested Kakamega.
To go bird watching Nyungwe National Park, one needs to purchase a permit and this should be done prior to the tour. You should also go with professional bird guides to help spot the birds especially lifers within the forest.
Over 310 bird species have been recorded in Nyungwe National Park, which reflects the wide habitat diversity and altitudinal range. Among the 310 species, these include the 29 species of the Albertine Rift mountains endemic birds that occur in Rwanda.
The Chapin’s Flycatcher and Rockefeller’s Sunbird are found in Nyungwe and both are globally threatened, restricted-range and biome-restricted.
Within Nyungwe, 11 of the 23 species of the Guinea-Congo forests biome can be seen. 71 of the 74 species of the biome of Afrotropical Highlands that occur in Rwanda have also been recorded in Nyungwe.
The top 10 bird species searched in Rwanda include the Regal Sunbird, Kivu ground Thrush, Congo bay Owlet, Rwenzori Nightjar, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Rwenzori Turaco, Red-collared Mountain Babbler, Rwenzori Batis, Doherty bush shrike, and Grauer’s swamp Warbler.
Common birds in the park include the African paradise flycatcher, Chinspot batis, Crowned hornbill, Eastern mountain greenbul, and Long-crested eagle.
Treats for avid birders include the Albertine owlet, Archer’s robin-chat, Blue-headed Sunbird, Buff-throated Apalis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Dwarf honeyguide, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Handsome francolin, Mountain masked Apalis, Neumann’s warbler, purple-breasted sunbird, Red-collared babbler, Red-faced woodland warbler, Regal sunbird, strange weaver, and many others.
Generally, the best time to go birding in Rwanda as a whole is between July and late March. During this time, there is quite a jam of birds in all parts of the country due to migration, inbreeding, passage, and searching for food. This is also the best time to go bird watching in the Nyungwe forest.
Generally, Nyungwe National Park is undoubtedly the most important forest for the conservation of montane birds in the region, making it a good bird-watching spot for Rwanda and East Africa at large.
Other activities that can be done on a Rwanda tour to Nyungwe include chimpanzee trekking and canopy walk. Both activities are amazing and unique to only Nyungwe in Rwanda which makes them worth undertaking. These can be customized with birding in a single trip.
Acacia safaris have been planning tours in Rwanda for the past 20 years and can be trusted to help you plan a bird-watching safari to Nyungwe National Park with a professional bird guide. We also tailor other trips including Rwanda gorilla tours, wildlife safaris in Rwanda, hiking, and other activities.
Here are some of the recommended itineraries that tourists can choose when going on the East Africa safari.