​Birds – Rwanda

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Rwanda.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Rwanda.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Bradt guidebook to Rwanda.

Philip is the author of the Bradt guidebook to Rwanda.

Rwanda is a fantastic birding destination with more than 700 species recorded within an area smaller than Belgium. The mountain birding in Rwanda is arguably the best on the continent. Of specific interest are the 29 Albertine Rift endemics, all of which are present in the high-altitude rainforest area in and around Nyungwe National Park. Many of them can be found in Volcanoes and Gishwati-Mukura National Parks too.

Notable Birds in Rwanda
African fish eagle
Common
African jacana
Common
Black-headed weaver
Common
Great blue turaco
Locally Common
Red-chested sunbird
Common

Birding Rating

Endemic & Albertine Rift Endemic Birds

(E) endemic = only lives in Rwanda
(ARE) Albertine Rift endemic = only lives in the Albertine Rift

There are no endemic bird species in Rwanda.

Facts & Figures

Birds in Rwanda
Bird Species
700+
Migratory Birds
Nov to Apr

Best Time for Bird Watching

From a birding perspective, Rwanda is a fine destination any time of the year, especially since the main draw here are the resident birds. Most of Rwanda’s special birds can be found in Nyungwe; 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.

Best Parks for Birding Includes Birding Rating

The combination of Nyungwe and Akagera National Parks is perfect for a birding tour in Rwanda. Most of Rwanda’s birds are found in one or the other park. Nyungwe has many Albertine Rift endemics and forest specials, while Akagera is rich in general savannah birds, including raptors and water-associated birds found around the park’s sizable lakes.

Recommended Birding Books

  • Birds in Rwanda: An Atlas & Handbook
    An essential buy; comprehensive but cumbersome for field use.

    Jean Vande weghe, Gael Vande weghe
  • Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi
    The best field guide that includes complete coverage of Rwanda.

    Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe
  • eGuide to Birds of East Africa (app)
    The app version of the above book is comprehensive for Rwanda.

    Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe
  • Birds of Africa: South of the Sahara
    Complete for Rwanda but the vast scope makes it cumbersome.

    Ian Sinclair and Peter Ryan
  • Wild Rwanda: Where To Watch Birds, Primates, & Other Wildlife
    A ‘how to’ guide that’s essential for serious birders.

    Ken Behrens, Christian Boix and Keith Barnes

Want To Visit Rwanda?

394 Rwanda Tours

Birding Rating

Facts & Figures

Birds in Rwanda
Bird Species
700+
Migratory Birds
Nov to Apr