Birds – Rwanda

Ariadne van Zandbergen
Expert
By Ariadne van Zandbergen

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who write and update many Bradt guides, including the guide to Rwanda.

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who write and update many Bradt guides, including the guide to Rwanda.

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who author the Bradt guide to Rwanda.

Ariadne and her husband form a team who author the Bradt guide to Rwanda.

Rwanda is a great birding destination with nearly 700 species recorded within an area smaller than Belgium. Rwanda doesn’t have any endemics, occurring in the country only, but it does have several near-endemics which can be found in Rwanda and its neighboring countries. Of specific interest are the 27 Albertine Rift endemics which can be found in the high-altitude rainforest area in and around Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Notable Birds in Rwanda
African fish eagle
Common
African harrier hawk
Common
African jacana
Common
Red-throated alethe
Rare
Shoebill
Rare & localized

Birding Rating

Endemic & Near-Endemic Birds

(E) endemic = only lives in Rwanda
(NE) near-endemic = also lives in neighboring countries

There are no endemic bird species in Rwanda.

Other Birding Specials– Treats for Avid Birders

Facts & Figures

Birds in Rwanda
Bird Species
690+
Migratory Birds
Nov to Apr

Best Time for Bird Watching

From a birdlife perspective, Rwanda is a fine destination any time of year, especially since the main draw here is the resident birds. Most of Rwanda’s special birds can be found in Nyungwe Forest; the birding is best here from January to June as most birds are vocal at that time. April is extremely wet, however, so logistics can become challenging. The Dry season months from June to September are easier, as forest trails are drier and hiking is less difficult. This is also the best time for gorilla trekking. Migrants are present from November to April.

Best Parks for Birding Includes Birding Rating

Most of Rwanda’s birds are in Nyungwe Forest and Akagera NP. Nyungwe Forest has many Albertine Rift endemics and forest specials, making it a birding hotspot. Akagera’s sizeable lakes are the go-to for general savannah birds, including raptors and water-associated birds.

Recommended Birding Books

  • The Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi
    Terry Stevenson and John Fanshaw
  • Pocket Guide: Birds of East Africa
    Dave Richards
  • Wild Rwanda: Where to watch birds, primates and other wildlife
    Ken Behrens, Christian Boix, Keith Barnes

Want to Visit Rwanda?

Birding Rating

Facts & Figures

Birds in Rwanda
Bird Species
690+
Migratory Birds
Nov to Apr