Explore some of the most elusive bird species in Africa in Nyungwe Forest National Park. The Park is one of the last and largest remaining montane forest in Eastern Africa and home to hundreds of bird species, some unique orchids and 13 large primates. Nyungwe Forest has good infrastructure, including great hiking trails, an information center, a forest camp site and several upscale hotels. The Nyungwe Canopy Walkway which gives you a unique perspective on the forest was recently voted as the best canopy walkway in the world.
Rwanda is famous for its numerous bird species. The Albertine Rift Valley passes through western Rwanda. This rift gives way to a deep valley surrounded by high mountains, some of which are amongst the highest in Africa. The unique landscape and climate of the Albertine Rift in Rwanda is the cause of the 29 Albertine Rift Endemic bird species which only live here. The diverse habitats of the region is what is behind Rwanda as the best montane birding in Africa.
Birds of Nyungwe Forest National Park
Nyungwe Forest serves as a very important habitat for numerous birds. In 2008 a workshop was held in Kitabi in Nyungwe with participants from ORTPN Research & Monitoring team, ORTPN Nyungwe Bird guides, WCS‐PCFN Bird & Mammal team and WCS‐PCFN Research & Monitoring team in order to update the Nyungwe National Park bird list. The previous list was from 1990 and contained 275 birds. Information was added to the list from the long term monitoring of birds in Nyungwe as well as observations from other park personnel, especially the ORTPN bird guide. Any new species not already recorded on the list was added following consensus from participants in the workshop. Each species was rated in two ways following the method used by Dowsett et al. on the 1990 list. Firstly in terms of ease of observation and behavior and secondly in terms of habitat:
1 = Not easily seen or rare
2 = Scarce, seasonal or local
3 = Easily seen or common
F = Forest species
NF = Non‐forest species
FE = Forest edge species.
The final list produced from the workshop included a total of 299 bird species (appendix 1). However, this list includes 27 species from the original list created by Dowsett et al. that have never been seen by the Park personnel. It 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. All the birds were also assigned conservation risk status as assessed by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (2008) which showed 13 species in Nyungwe to be classified as either endangered, vulnerable or near threatened.