The Albertine Eco-Region
Comprising a chain of mountains formed through upliftment and volcanic activity, the Albertine Eco-region stretches across six countries and is regarded as the center of the Afromontane habitat. It is also a belt of exceptional faunal and floral endemism: over 40 bird species, 34 mammals, 117 butterflies, 34 amphibians and 16 reptiles are not found. It’s no wonder why it’s the most celebrated destination of ecological importance.
The Nyarutarama Lake, or ‘Lover’s Lake’ bordering the Kigali Golf Course, is surrounded by a track which offers excellent nature walks and bird watching opportunities.
The Nyabarongo Wetlands also offer walking paths and good bird watching. This protected area covers 142.62 km2 with two lakes – Lake Mirayi in the south and Lake Rumira in the north. The wetlands are fed by the Nyabarongo River, a tributary of the Nile, which empties into Akagera River which, in turn, flows into River Victoria.
Volcanoes National Park
To the north lies the Volcanoes National Park, this protects the Rwandan portion of the Virunga Mountains, a Transforntier Conservation Area that includes protected areas in Uganda and the DRC. Forming a complex of mostly dormant volcanoes, it includes Rwanda’s highest point, Mount Karisimbi (4,507m), and the two active ones, Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamuragira. While more famous for its mountain gorillas and other primates, volcanoes boast almost 165 bird species, 17 Endemic to the area.
The Nyungwe National Park, a tropical mountain rainforest and one of the Rwanda main protected areas, and lies on the south western slopes of the highland region that forms the great divide between the Congo and Nile drainage system. The park protects one of the region’s largest and oldest remaining patches of montane rainforest and is home to 310 species of birds.
The forests Rwanda are increasingly being sought out for the incredible birding opportunities, particularly the numerous Albertine Rift endemics; 27 to be found in Nyungwe, the highest concentration to be found in any park in Africa.
Amongst them are the; Regal Sunbird, Cinnyris regius, Red-Collared Babbler, Kupeornis rufocinctus, Rwenzori Turaco, Gallirex johnstoni, handsome spurfowl, pternistis nobilis, rwenzori Batis, Batis diops, Grauer’s Swamp Wabler, Bradypterus graueri, blue-headed Sunbird, Cyanomitra oritis, possibly the rarest of all endemic birds would be the Albertine Owlet, Glaucidium albertinium, known from only five records in the area.
The Akagera National Park
The Akagera National Park in the north east covers a sizeable chunk of savannah. A mix of rolling grassland interspersed with broad-leafed and acacia woodland, these lower-lying lands are dissected b the Akagera River.
The sought after species here would be; red-faced barbet, lybius rubrifacies, lanius souzae, and white-collared oliveback, nesocharis ansorgei, amongst others. The park has a mosaic of wetlands and lakes, along the course of the Akagera River and the eastern boundary.
Amidst the papyrus and reed beds some of the prized species to be found are; carruthers’s cisticola, cisticola carruthersi, papyrus canary, serinus koliensis and more
Wetlands and Marshes
Covering up to just over 10% of the country, they include Rugezi, the fourth of the main protected areas, as well as two other locations, Akanyaru Wetlands and Nyabarongo Wetlands, that have been declared Important Birding Areas by Birdlife International.
‘Any serious birding expedition should incorporate both the wetter forested and more mountainous western regions, the drier savannahs of the east and the many wetlands and marshes.’
JBA- Kenya Safari
JBA- Kenya Safari