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Birding in Volcanoes National Park offers birders a remarkable opportunity to look out for some of the interesting birds in Rwanda. With over 200 bird species, Volcanoes National Park is amazingly a destination worthy visiting not only for mountain gorilla trekking but also for enthusiastic birders to go birding. The park protects 17 Albertine rift endemic species and local specialties, especially the scarlet tufted sunbirds and grauer’s swamp warblers.

Bird watching is perfectly done with lead of an experienced park guide. There is even possibility of combining other experiences including mountain gorilla trekking and golden monkey tracking.

Explore the avian wonders of Volcanoes National Park. This Virunga Park hosts a myriad of unique bird species. The park provides an unforgettable birding experience to travelers. Whether you are an experienced birder or a novice, you will like the Volcanoes National Park.

There are over 290 species of birds that are protected in the Virunga Region. These include 17 of the total 25 Albertine Rift endemics, three globally threatened bird species such as the Kivu ground thrush, Lagden’s bush-shrike as well as the African green broadbill.

Go Birding in Varied Vegetation

The vegetation here varies with the altitude and the park is covered with bamboo and the other parts are covered with montane bogs. The other types of vegetation that is found with in the park also include; subalpine, the bush land, afro alpine vegetation of both the thicket grassland as well as heath.

Birds to See in Volcanoes National Park

The Volcanoes National Park has also got a rich avifauna with over 178 species and 13 species and 6 sub species that are endemic to Ruwenzori and Virunga mountains. The 16 species are native to Virunga Massif. There are also 53 of the 74 species of the Afro-tropical highlands biome that occur in Rwanda call the Volcanoes National Park home.

Birds of the Virunga MountainsThere are also three globally threatened species including; the Lagden’s Bush Shrike, the African green Broadbill as well as the Kivu ground Thrush.

More so, 17 of the 25 albertine rift mountain endemic birds as well as the 52 species of the afro tropical highlands biome can also be found with in Volcanoes national park. The main bird species that are found here include; collared apalis, Ruwenzori Turaco, the sun bird, Rwenzori batis, rwenzori double collared, the dusty crimson wing, the red faced woodland, archer’s ground Robin, the Francolins, and the black fronted duiker as well as the francolins.

Other common bird species you are likely to encounter during a birding safari in Volcanoes National Park include Rwenzori Turaco, Archer’s ground robin, strange weavers, handsome francolins, Collared Apalis, Dusky crimson-wing, Yellow-eyed black flycatcher, the Red-faced woodland warbler, Rwenzori double collared sunbird, Rwenzori Batis, the masked mountain Apalis, Grauer’s Rush-warbler, Rwenzori Hill babbler and many others.

Unlike other tourist activities within this Park that are mainly conducted within the dry season, Bird watching is different because it is best enjoyed during the rainy season because that’s when you will get higher chances of spotting the migratory bird species.

When is the Best Time to Go Birding in Volcanoes National Park?

You can go birding in the Volcanoes National Park all year round. However since the volcanoes are usually wet and often covered in the mist, the dry season will be a better time for your bird watching experience. The dry season runs from June to September and December to January. Within the dry season, there are low rains and thus you can see more birds than in any other season.

What to carry and Wear for a Birding Safari in Rwanda

Carry a birds guidebook, camera, binoculars, enough drinking water and snacks, a back pack for carrying your lunch, drinking water and gadgets, wear a hat and sunglasses, wear long sleeved shirt and long trousers because you will be traversing through the jungles with unpleasant vegetation that can injure your legs and arms, strong waterproof hiking boots, long socks, carry a walking stick, a rain jacket and a sweater due to the unpredictable weather.

Don’t forget to hire a porter to help carry the backpack.

Besides gorilla trekking, birding is also another reason to visit Volcanoes National Park to sight over 180 species of birds including African green broadbill, the Kivu ground thrush and Lagden’s Bush-shrike among others.

Where Else to Go Birding in Rwanda

Other birding destinations in Rwanda include Akagera National Park in the Eastern province, a 1122 sq.km park with over 500 species of birds; Nyungwe Forest National Park, an excellent birding destination to spot most of Albertine rift endemic and forest avifaunal species including Kivu ground thrush, and this park holds 310 bird species; the lakes and wetlands of Bugesera in the southeastern Kigali also considered to be the most accessible bird watching spot in the Land of a Thousand Hills.

At Bugesera wetlands and lakes, possible birds to be sighted include papyrus canary, white collared olive-back, papyrus gonoleks, white backed duck, white winged swamp warblers, etc. Kigali –offering excellent birding experience to urban tourists and majority of the birds exist at Nyarutarama Lake including lesser honey guide, African swamp hen, African goshawk, ruppell’s starling, palm nut vultures, red chested sunbird, grey-backed fiscal, bat hawk, crested barbet, and others.