Nyungwe National Park is well known as a primate destination, with chimpanzee trekking being the major attraction to the park. However, Birds of Nyungwe National Park, has made bird watching at Nyungwe National Park, to be one of the key activities at Nyungwe National Park, attracting those who love the winged one.
Nyungwe, recognized as an IBA (Important Bird Area) by Birdlife International, has over 300 species recorded. This also includes some rare visitor species to Nyungwe as well as Migratory birds, forest edge and non‐forest bird species. A total of 183 species have been classified as easily seen or common with 173 of those species being true forest species. There are at least 26 Albertine Rift endemics. Three birds unrecorded elsewhere on the eastern side of the Albertine Rift are Albertine owlet, red-collared babbler and Rockefeller’s sunbird.
Also, 11 of the 23 species of the Guinea-Congo Forests biome and 71 of the 74 species of this biome of Afrotropical Highlands that occur in Rwanda have been recorded at this site. Generally, Nyungwe forest is undoubtedly the most important forest for the conservation of montane birds in the region.
Nyungwe National Park is undoubtedly the Red-collared Babbler and Rwanda is the only safe place to see this stunning bird. Other specialties include Rwenzori Turaco, Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Nightjar, Grauer’s Warbler, Regal, Blue-headed and Purple Breasted Sunbirds, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler and Neumann’s Warbler. All of these and more can be seen easily from a well-maintained network of trails with the help of the park’s expert bird guides.
With more time and a bit of luck it is also possible to observe Kungwe Apalis, Kivu Ground Thrush and Willard’s Sooty Boubou. Possibly the rarest of Nyungwe’s birds would be the Congo Bay Owl, Albertine Owlet and Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Rockefeller’s Sunbird which have been reported, but are seldom seen. Night-walks will be available soon and these offer the potential to track down the park’s elusive nocturnal species.
Forest birding is never easy, you will need ample time for a great and more sightings, as sometimes you will only listen to the bird calls, and not see the physical appearance due to the nature of the birds, hiding in thickets which are hard to spot. There are networks of well-maintained birding tails within Nyungwe forest to aid for bird watching experience.
During your bird watching time in the Nyungwe forest, you may encounter some of the amazing forest primates such as the colobus monkeys, which are always feeding around in the wilderness. Other birding destinations include Akagera National Park, Volcanoes National Park, Giswati Mukura National Park, shores of Lake Kivu, and Bugesera swamps.
Besides bird watching at Nyungwe, to discover the birds of Nyungwe National Park, upon visiting the park, one can as well involve in other activities like, nature walks, canopy walk, forest trail hikes, chimpanzee trekking, colobus monkey trek, and community visit.