Bird Watching in Nyungwe Forest National Park is an amazing activity that many people engage in first for its affordability and the amazing experiences. Nyungwe Forest national park is one of the seven important birding areas found in Rwanda that has been considered as an Important Bird Area by the Bird Life International. Nyungwe is home to 310 bird species and surprisingly 29 are endemic to the Albertine Rift.
Why you should go bird Watching in Nyungwe
Challenging yourself: It can be difficult but more fun to spot birds in the nyungwe national park as the forest can be very dense and forest birds tend to be shy as the hide which make it difficult to spot them. It requires professional bird guides who can even identify them by hearing their sounds.
Find the lifers of the day: The word lifer is used by birders to mean the new species of birds you have spotted. Here in the nyungwe national park there is a good chance to spot new species which you cannot spot anywhere else in the country including those 29 endemics to the Albertine Rift.
The uniqueness of nyungwe forest: Nyungwe Forest National Park is rich in terms of biodiversity with different flowering plants, marsh area which provides food and shelter for birds to keep them around because. Nyungwe forest is the only forest which stayed green during the ice age. Besides, Nyungwe is the best birding site in Albertine Rift as it is also known to be the most easily accessible tropical rain forest in the Albertine Rift.
Birding trails in the nyungwe national park
Nyungwe has well-constructed birding trails which are among the Nyungwe National Park Hiking Trails which offer the best experience for birders. Some of these include;
Bigugu trail: The trail has the highest summit of the mountain Bigugu in the forest of the altitude of 2950m above from the sea level and the trail is 13km. So if you choose this trail here you are likely to see Red – Collared mountain warbler.
Karamba trail: The trail shows the history of the remaining evidence of the houses of the populations who used to live in Nyungwe Forest. This trail has more and rich in bird species and here you may see Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, and many others yet the trail is only 4 km.
Gisakura trails: Here each trail is worthy for bird watching and if you are not rushing, you are in the right forest. Trails in the side of Gisakura offer chances of seeing many different species such as Kivu ground Thrush, Short-tailed Warbler, Mountain Masked Apalis, Regal Sunbird.
Kamiranzovu trail: The trail is popular for its plant species including accommodating the huge number of the Orchids than any other part in the forest. But also it is the first one to offer the chance of seeing Grauer’s swamp warbler, Short-tailed Warbler and Grey-crested Kakamega. Kamiranzovu swamp is among the world’s first large swamp in the high altitude and the trail is 6km long.
Requirements to go for birding in Nyungwe
Birding Permit: Bird watching is also the most done as an activity in the park which is also required to buy permits before just like any other national parks in Rwanda. Bird Watching in Nyungwe, as well as in any other National Parks of Rwanda, need one to book a permit. They need one to apply online and they need to make payments before the day of the visit. All is done through platform, RDB office and book through tour operators.
Professional bird guides: Nyungwe national park has the best bird guides who will help you to spot many species.
Some of the recommended guides include Niyonzima Clever who is the best one in the park and knows all nyungwe birds’ by voice and also knows to call them to come out of the forest by using his unique technique sounds. Christopher and Claude are also other professionals who are ready to help you.
What to carry for Bird Watching in Nyungwe
These are the essentials to carry along with you as you take on the bird watching safaris in order to have a successful birding safari. Some of these items to carry along for the safari include; Binoculars, Field guide book i.e. “Birds of East Africa is recommended”, an all weather Notebook and pencil, Raincoat, Hiking shoes, Camera and Snacks.
Price: The price for bird watching in Nyungwe per Day and per person is $50. But if you are planning to do birding for not less than three days, you will pay the first day for $50 and two remaining days will be $25 for each day.
Best time to go birding in nyungwe: Generally, the best season for birding in Rwanda is between July and late March. Here is quite a jam of birds in all of the sides of the country, due to migration, some inbreeding, others in the passage and searching food. Therefore plan your trip during this for the best experience.
Top 10 bird species found in Nyungwe Forest
- Kivu-ground Thrush
- Congo-bay Owlet
- Red-faced woodland Warbler
- Red-collared mountain-Babbler
- Doherty-bush shrike
- Grauer’s-swamp Warbler