Birding Checklist in Akagera National Park Rwanda

Wildlife in Akagera National Park

Birding Checklist in Akagera National Park Rwanda

Birding Checklist in Akagera National Park Rwanda :  Akagera national park in Rwanda is excellent for bird watching, with over 525 species drawn by its diverse flora and fauna. The savannah birds and raptors are very common, and there are several endemic species, such as the red-faced barbet, that may be spotted. Short boat rides are also provided on the Akagera’s lakes, allowing you to get up close and personal with various water birds such as the marabou stork, African fish eagle, open-billed stork, herons, cormorants, and egrets.

After the recent reintroductions of lion and black rhino, Akagera National Park, Rwanda’s only savannah reserve, is once again a Big Five destination. Elephants, buffalo, giraffes, and hippopotamuses are among the other creatures. In terms of pure animal watching, Akagera falls short of the more well-known parks in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The park, on the other hand, is highly picturesque, and the birding is very gratifying.

If you’re lucky, you might be able to see a shoebill stork. With over 525 species and a huge number of migrating birds, this area is also a popular site for bird watching herds. There is also the possibility of seeing the rare shoebill stork. This park is also a fantastic place to see the rare and beautiful papyrus Ganolex.

If you enjoy birding, this is a birding paradise, and birding excursions are very popular among visitors to this area. You’ll be astounded by the sheer number and variety of species. With almost 500 bird species documented in Rwanda’s Akagera National Park, there is never a boring moment, from the massive concentration of waterfowl to the myriad of savannah birds.

If you enjoy birds, this is a great place to see numerous indigenous species as well as rare treasures like the near-threatened papyrus Gonolek, which is only found in papyrus wetlands. Other species include the black-headed ganalex, lilac-breasted roller, heuglin’s roin chit, Ross’s Turaco, created barbet, swamp flycatcher, and red-faced barbet.

Birding Checklist in Akagera National Park Rwanda
lilac-breasted roller

Bird Watching Safaris in Akagera National Park.

Birdwatchers can witness a variety of savanna-related bird species along the game trails at Akagera National Park in the morning and evening. This park is well-known across the East African area for its abundance of water birds, and it is also one of the few spots in the world where you may view papyrus endemics. The gorgeous lilac-breasted roller is one of the usual species you will witness on your Rwanda safari.

Your Birding Checklist in Akagera National Park Rwanda.

If you are one of those bird enthusiasts on a birding safari in Akagera National Park Rwanda, here are some bird species to put on your birding checklist;

  • Yellow-bellied Eremomela
  • White-winged swamp warbler
  • Western reef heron
  • Tabora cisticola
  • Striped pipit
  • Souza’s shrike
  • Sooty falcon
  • Slate-coloured boubou
  • Short-tailed pipit
  • Shoebill
  • Shelley’s francolin
  • Ring-necked francolin
  • Red-winged francolin
  • Red-faced barbet
  • Papyrus Gonolek
  • Northern brown-throated weaver
  • Grasshopper buzzard
  • Eleonora’s falcon
  • Dimorphic egret
  • Denham’s bustard
  • Crested barbet
  • Carruthers’s cisticola
  • Cabanis’s bunting
  • Brown-chested lapwing
  • Booted eagle
  • Blue-shouldered robin-chat
  • Beaudouin’s snake eagle
  • Amur falcon

Best Time for Birding Tours in Akagera National Park Rwanda

The birds of Akagera National Park are abundant all year. Each season brings a new set of species. From June through September, the dry season is ideal for francolins, various marsh species, nightjars, and owls. Lapwings and other open grassland birds thrive during the early wet season, which begins around October. Songbirds are most active from September to November, with a brief respite in March and April. Water birds that breed in colonies, such as cormorants, darters, herons, storks, and ibises, mostly breed from February to July. From November through April, migratory birds are present in the national park.

Cost of Birding in Akagera National Park

Birding in Rwanda’s Akagera national park costs $50 per person per day and the activity is best combined with a guided game drive in the park or boat cruise on Lake Ihema or Shakani.

Packing List for Bird Watching Safaris in Akagera National Park Rwanda.

When planning your bird watching safaris in Akagera National Park, pack essential items like; your bird checklist, a pair of binoculars, a  hat/cap, long trousers/ shirts, sunscreen and insect repellent cream, snacks, water bottle, a good pair of hiking boots, light raincoat/jacket (in case it rains) and a camera.

Conclusion: Akagera National Park is located off the usual path, near Rwanda’s border with Tanzania, and has 1085 square kilometers of low altitude grasslands and woods. It is dotted with different wetlands and lakes that follow the meandering path of the River Akagera and the mountain ranges that surround it. Akagera National Park is a truly beautiful park with a vast range of habitats that supports over 12 antelope species, including the extremely little oribis, the good-looking chestnut-coated impala, topi (also known as tsessebe in Southern Africa), and the Cape eland, the world’s biggest antelope.