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Birds of Nyungwe Forest

Birds In Nyungwe National Park 

Nyungwe National Park is probably the most important destination for bird watching safaris in Rwanda, with over 322 bird species recorded, of which the majority are forest specialists and 29 are regional endemics whose range are restricted to a few forests along the Albertine Rift.

In fact you don’t need to be an ardent bird watcher to appreciate some of Nyungwe birds. Most people, for example, would do a double-take when they first spot a great blue turaco, a chicken-sized bird with garish blue, green, and yellow feather, often seen gliding between the trees along the main road.

Another real avian gem is the paradise flycatcher, a long-tailed blue, orange and sometimes white bird often seen around the guest house.

Other birds of Nyungwe National Park impress with their bizarre appearance, the gigantic forest hornbills, for instance, whose wailing vocalization as almost as comical as their ungainly bills and heavy-winged flights.

And while tracking through the forest undergrowth, watch out for red-throated alethe, a very localised bird with distinctive blue eyebrow. The alethe habitually follows troops to eat the insects they disturb.

From East African perspective, however, it is the Albertine Rift Endemics that are the most alluring. Of the 29 Albertine Rift Endemics, the following are reasonably common:

  • Handsome francolins
  • Rwenzori turacos
  • Red-faced woodland warbler
  • Collared apalis
  • Mountain masked apalis
  • Yellow-eyed black flycatcher
  • Rwenzori batis
  • Stripe-breasted tit
  • Regal sunbird
  • Blue-headed sunbird
  • Purple-breasted sunbird
  • Dusky crimsonwing
  • Strange weaver
  • Rwenzori nightjar
  • Short-tailed warbler
  • Shelly’s crimsoning wing
  • Red-throated Alethe
  • Archer’s robin chat
  • Kivu ground thrush
  • Dwarf honey guide
  • Albertine owlet
  • Rockefeller’s sunbird
  • Kungwe apalis
  • Grauer’s warbler

Also common but more localized are Grauer’s rush warbler (common in Kamiranzovu Swamp) and Red-collared mountain babbler (common around Mount Bigugu).

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