NINE days Birdwatching and Wildlife Game drive: Nyungwe and Akagera National Parks - Rwanda

Rwenzori Turaco an endemic bird to the Albertine Rift Region

NINE days Birdwatching and Wildlife Game drive: Nyungwe and Akagera National Parks - Rwanda

 3rd to 11th September 2019

Trip Report

From 3rd to 11th September, we have conducted a birding and wildlife game driving tour in Akagera and Nyungwe National Parks-Rwanda. The trip was very enjoyable and successful. The accommodation was budgeted but clean, the transport and guiding were well organized. The main target of this trip was to see maximum of Albertine Rift Endemics and we saw 25 out of 29 found in Nyungwe NP. We missed Kivu ground Thrush, Albertine Owlet, Shelley’s Crimsowing, Rokefeller’s Sunbird.

DAY 1: Tuesday, 3rd September 2019

Early morning on Tuesday, 3rd September, I have met my 2 client, Mr Michael and Andy, and we immediately head to Bugesera. The first stop was at Kamatana Valley and we were welcomed by Lesser Jacana, one of the rare species in Rwanda and most wanted species by client.  Other species recorded include African Fish Eagle, Red-knobbed Coot, Long-tailed Cormorant, White-faced Whistling Duck, Yellow-billed Duck, Common Moorhen, African Jacana, etc. The second stop was at Mwogo wetland trying Papyrus Gonolek. We failed to see this spectacular species but we have seen Ruhuaha and Sooty Chat and Black-headed Gonolek at Bugesera Lodge. After lunch at Africa Bite, we proceeded to Akagera NP with a quick coffee stop at Imigongo Center. We reached the park at 5pm and we were welcomed by a Reedbuck and Bushbuck and bird species seen at the include Bare-faced Go-away bird, Klaas’s Cuckoo, Grey-backed Fiscal, Ring-necked Dove. As park rules and regulation, the park activities start at 6am and close at 6pm. After registration at the park reception we head directly to the Akagera Game Lodge, where we stayed our 3 nights.

 

DAY 2: Wednesday 4th September 2019

On Wednesday, 4th September, we started in the garden of Akagera Game Lodge where were lucky to see, the Red-faced Barbet. Other species sighted include Brubru, Laughing Dove, Green-capped Eremomela, African Grey Hornbill, Black-headed Weaver, Greater Blue-eared, Violet-backed and Ruppel’s Long-tailed Starlings, Spot-flanked Barbet, Meyer’s Parrot, African Black-headed Oriole, African Thrush, African Golden-breasted Bunting, etc. We continued our birding along Nyamwashama loop and we have seen Slate-colored Boubou, Zitting Cisticola, Tabora Cisticola, Trilling Cisticola, Temminck’s Courser, Senegal Lapwing (Covering eggs),  Crested Barbet, Crowned Lapwing, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Green Woodhopoe, Greenw-nged Pytilia, etc.

We continued birding on hills side, at Muyumbu campsite, we sighted the rare Miombo Wren Warbler, Bateleur, Black-chested Snake Eagle and Red-headed Weaver. On the loop of the campsite and we sow Flapped Lark, Red-capped Lark, Northern Pufback and Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting.  report14Additional to birds we have seen man ungulates grazing on the new shoots of the burnt grasses mainly Impalas, Defassa Waterback and Warthog.

After lunch we went to the lake circuit before heading to Lake Ihema for a sunset boat. On the circuit, we have seen Croaking Cisticola and Hildebrant’s Francolin, White-chined Prinia, Red-chested Sunbird and a big population of reintroduced Grey-crowned Crane.

DAY 3: Thursday 5th September 2019

On Thursday, 5th September, we had a day and evening night game drive. During the day, we sighted Ross’s Turaco, Common Scimitabill, Chin-spot Batis, Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike, Red-faced Crombec. On night game drive we have seen Square-tailed Nightjar and herds of Buffaloes (about 200 individuals).

DAY 4: Friday 6th September 2019

On Friday, 6th September, we left Akagera NP to try different birds at Mashoza Relict Forest. The target was Gray-headed Bushshrike (Malaconotus blanchoti), unfortunately we failed this one but we have seen Lesser Honeyguide, one of the wanted species by our clients. Other species spotted include among other a flock of White-headed Saw-wing, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Holub’s Golden Weaver, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, etc. We drove back to Kigali around 11am with a refreshment drink stop in Kayonza Center. After lunch at Africa Bite Restaurant, we drive to Nyabarongo-Ruliba ste and we have spotted Slender-billed Weaver, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Great Egret, Bronze Sunbird and among other.

Day 5: Saturday 7th September 2019

On Saturday, 7th September, the team left Kigali at 7am to Nyungwe National park with the target to see the maximum number of Endemics to the Albertine Rift Region out of 29 so far confirmed in this mountain Forest. Kigali to Nyungwe is a travel of 5 to 6 hours and we had a refresher stop at Huye before we head to Gisakura Guest House where we spent 4 nights. With well maintained trails, knowledgeable guide, Nyungwe NP is the best and easiest site to see birds endemic to the Albertine Rift in the region.

 DAY 6: Sunday 8th September 2019report15

On Sunday, 8th September, we started at Uwinka interpretation center and we spent the whole morning in Umuyove trail and Rangiro road. We have seen many endemics including Regal Sunbird, Mountain-masked Apalis, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Strange Weaver, Rwenzori Batis and Great-blue Turaco. After lunch we went to Bweyeye road and we have seen Mountain Babbler, Rwenzori Turaco, Blue-headed Sunbird and Olive Woodpecker. We stopped birding at 5pm, when we drove back to Gisakura Guest.

DAY 7: Monday 9th September 2019

Umuyove Trail was very productive with an easy walk and many endemic birds. On Monday, 9th September we came back the same trail in the morning and we have see Kungwe Apalis, Red-throated Owlet, Red-collared Mountain Babbler, White-headed Woodhopoe and Cabanis’s Greenbul. After a brief break at the Canteen at Uwinka reception, we had our afternoon at Gisakura and we have seen Willard’s Sooty Boubou, White-tailed Crested-flycatcher, White-bellied Robinchat, Red-throated Alethe, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher.

DAY 8: Tuesday 10th September 2019

Tuesday, 10th September we went to Pindure trail and we saw Handsome Francolin, one of the

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 endemics to the Albertine Rift and we immediately drove back to Waterfall trail in Gisakura and we have seen Newman’s Warbler, Black-faced Rufous Warbler and another Red-collared Mountain Babbler, Red-throated Alethe, Tullberg’s Woodpecker, Equatorial Akalat and we heard Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye. We had a break lunch at Gisakura Guest House and at 2pm we drove to Kamiranzovu wetland to see Grauer’s Swamp Warbler and have also seen Stripe-breasted Tit, Mountain Illadopsis and Dusky Crimsonwing.

DAY 9: Wednesday 11th September 2019

Wednesday, 11th September, was the last day of this 9 days birding tour. The morning day was spent looking for the endemics we missed during the previous days. As the team had an evening flight, we had. We started at Gisakura and we saw Yellowbill, Dusky Tit and heard Narina Trogon. We continued at Uwinka and we saw briefly Dwarf Honeyguide. And finally we went at Bweyeye road and the last endemic seen was Albertine Boubou. We left Nyungwe at 10am to be at the airport at 5pm as the client had the evening flight to Kampala.

 

Checklist

No

COMMON NAME

SEEN/HEARD

1

Abyssinian Thrush

YES

2

Afep Pigeon

YES

3

African Black-headed Oriole

YES

4

African Darter

YES

5

African Fish-Eagle

YES

6

African Green Pigeon

YES

7

African Grey Hornbill

YES

8

African Harrier-Hawk

YES

9

African Jacana

YES

10

African Marsh Harrier

YES

11

African Openbill

YES

12

African Paradise-Flycatcher

YES

13

African Pied Wagtail

YES

14

African Pipit

YES

15

African Spoonbill

YES

16

African Stonechat

YES

17

African Swamphen

YES

18

African Thrush

YES

19

African Yellow White-eye

YES

20

Albertine Sooty Boubou

YES

21

Angola Swallow

YES

22

Archer's Robin-Chat

YES

23

Arrow-marked Babbler

YES

24

Augur Buzzard

YES

25

Baglafecht Weaver

YES

26

Banded Prinia

YES

27

Bare-faced Go-Away-Bird

YES

28

Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo

HEARD

29

Bar-tailed Trogon

HEARD

30

Bateleur

YES

31

Bennett's Woodpecker

YES

32

Black Crake

YES

33

Black Cuckooshrike

YES

34

Black Kite

YES

35

Black Sawwing

YES

36

Black-and-White Casqued Hornbill

YES

37

Black-and-White Mannikin

YES

38

Black-billed Turaco

YES

39

Black-crowned Tchagra

YES

40

Black-crowned Waxbill

YES

41

Black-faced Apalis

YES

42

Black-faced Rufous Warbler

YES

43

Black-headed Gonolek

YES

44

Black-headed Heron

YES

45

Black-headed Weaver

YES

46

Black-lored Babbler

YES

47

Black-tailed Oriole

YES

48

Black-throated Apalis

YES

49

Blue Malkoha

YES

50

Blue-headed Sunbird

YES

51

Blue-naped Mousebird

YES

52

Broad-billed Roller

YES

53

Bronze Mannikin

YES

54

Bronze Sunbird

YES

55

Brown-crowned Tchagra

YES

56

Brown-throated Wattle-eye

YES

57

Brubru

YES

58

Cabanis' Greenbul

YES

59

Cape Wagtail

YES

60

Cardinal Woodpecker

YES

61

Cattle Egret

YES

62

Chestnut-throated Apalis

YES

63

Chinspot Batis

YES

64

Chubb's Cisticola

YES

65

Cinnamon Bracken-Warbler

YES

66

Cinnamon-breasted Bunting

YES

67

Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater

YES

68

Collared Sunbird

YES

69

Common Bulbul

YES

70

Common Kestrel

YES

71

Common Moorhen

YES

72

Common Scimitarbill

YES

73

Common Waxbill

YES

74

Crested Barbet

YES

75

Croaking Cisticola

YES

76

Crowned Hornbill

YES

77

Crowned Lapwing

YES

78

Doherty's Bushshrike

YES

79

Double-toothed Barbet

YES

80

Dusky Brown Flycatcher

YES

81

Dusky Crimsonwing

YES

82

Dusky Tit

YES

83

Dwarf Honeyguide

YES

84

Eastern Mountain Greenbul

YES

85

Egyptian Goose

YES

86

Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove

YES

87

Equatorial Akalat

YES

88

European Bee-eater

YES

89

Fan-tailed Widowbird

YES

90

Flappet Lark

YES

91

Fork-tailed Drongo

YES

92

Golden-breasted Bunting

YES

93

Goliath Heron

YES

94

Grauer's Swamp Warbler

YES

95

Grauer's Warbler

YES

96

Great Blue Turaco

YES

97

Great White Egret

YES

98

Greater Blue-eared Starling

YES

99

Green Woodhoopoe

YES

100

Green-backed Camaroptera

YES

101

Green-headed Sunbird

YES

102

Green-winged Pytilia

YES

103

Grey Apalis

YES

104

Grey Crowned-Crane

YES

105

Grey Cuckooshrike

YES

106

Grey Heron

YES

107

Grey-backed Fiscal

YES

108

Grey-chested Babbler

HEARD

109

Grey-headed Kingfisher

YES

110

Grey-headed Nigrita

YES

111

Hadada Ibis

YES

112

Hamerkop

YES

113

Handsome Francolin

YES

114

Hildebrandt's Francolin

YES

115

Holub's Golden Weaver

YES

116

Intermediate Egret

YES

117

Klaas's Cuckoo

YES

118

Kungwe Apalis

YES

119

Laughing Dove

YES

120

Lesser Honeyguide

YES

121

Lesser Jacana

YES

122

Lesser-striped Swallow

YES

123

Levaillant's Cuckoo

YES

124

Lilac-breasted Roller

YES

125

Little Bee-eater

YES

126

Little Egret

YES

127

Little Swift

YES

128

Lizard Buzzard

YES

129

Long-crested Eagle

YES

130

Long-tailed Cormorant

YES

131

Long-toed Lapwing

YES

132

Luhder's Bushshrike

YES

133

Mackinnon's Shrike

YES

134

Malachite Kingfisher

YES

135

Many-coloured Bushshrike

HEARD

136

Marabou Stork

YES

137

Mariqua Sunbird

YES

138

Meyer's Parrot

YES

139

Miombo Wren-Warbler

YES

140

Mountain Buzzard

YES

141

Mountain Illadopsis

YES

142

Narina Trogon

HEARD

143

Neumann's Warbler

YES

144

Northern Double-collared Sunbird

YES

145

Northern Fiscal

YES

146

Northern Grey-headed Sparrow

YES

147

Northern Puffback

YES

148

Olive Sunbird

YES

149

Olive Woodpecker

YES

150

Pale Flycatcher

YES

151

Palm-nut Vulture

YES

152

Pied Crow

YES

153

Pied Kingfisher

YES

154

Pink-backed Pelican

YES

155

Pin-tailed Whydah

YES

156

Plain-backed Pipit

YES

157

Purple Heron

YES

158

Purple-banded Sunbird

YES

159

Purple-breasted Sunbird

YES

160

Red-billed Firefinch

YES

161

Red-billed Quelea

YES

162

Red-capped Lark

YES

163

Red-capped Robin-Chat

YES

164

Red-cheeked Cordonbleu

YES

165

Red-chested Owlet

YES

166

Red-chested Sunbird

YES

167

Red-collared Mountain Babbler

YES

168

Red-eyed Dove

YES

169

Red-faced Barbet

YES

170

Red-faced Crombec

YES

171

Red-faced Woodland-Warbler

YES

172

Red-knobbed Coot

YES

173

Red-necked Francolin

YES

174

Red-rumped Swallow

YES

175

Red-throated Alethe

YES

176

Regal Sunbird

YES

177

Ring-necked Dove

YES

178

Ross's Turaco

YES

179

Ruaha Chat

YES

180

Ruppell's Starling

YES

181

Ruwenzori Turaco

YES

182

Rwenzori Apalis

YES

183

Rwenzori Batis

YES

184

Rwenzori Hill Babbler

YES

185

Rwenzori Nightjar

YES

186

Sacred Ibis

YES

187

Scarlet-chested Sunbird

YES

188

Senegal Lapwing

YES

189

Shelley's Greenbul

YES

190

Siffling Cisticola

YES

191

Singing Cisticola

YES

192

Slate-coloured Boubou

YES

193

Slender-billed Greenbul

YES

194

Slender-billed Weaver

YES

195

Sooty Chat

YES

196

Southern Red Bishop

YES

197

Speckled Mousebird

YES

198

Speckled Pigeon

YES

199

Spectacled Weaver

YES

200

Spot-flanked Barbet

YES

201

Spur-winged Goose

YES

202

Spur-winged Lapwing

YES

203

Squacco Heron

YES

204

Square-tailed Nightjar

YES

205

Stout Cisticola

YES

206

Strange Weaver

YES

207

Streaky Seedeater

YES

208

Stripe-breasted Tit

YES

209

Striped Kingfisher

YES

210

Stuhlmann's Sunbird

YES

211

Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike

YES

212

Swamp Flycatcher

YES

213

Tabora Cisticola

YES

214

Tambourine Dove

YES

215

Tawny-flanked Prinia

YES

216

Temminck's Courser

YES

217

Thick-billed Seedeater

YES

218

Three-banded Plover

YES

219

Trilling Cisticola

YES

220

Tropical Boubou

YES

221

Tullberg's Woodpecker

YES

222

Variable Sunbird

YES

223

Village Weaver

YES

224

Violet-backed Starling

YES

225

Waller's Starling

YES

226

Water Thick-knee

YES

227

Wattled lapwing

YES

228

White-bellied Crested-Flycatcher

YES

229

White-bellied Robin-Chat

YES

230

White-breasted Cormorant

YES

231

White-browed Coucal

YES

232

White-browed Crombec

YES

233

White-browed Robin-Chat

YES

234

White-chinned Prinia

YES

235

White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher

YES

236

White-faced Whistling Duck

YES

237

White-headed Sawwing

YES

238

White-headed Woodhoopoe

YES

239

White-necked Raven

YES

240

White-starred Robin

YES

241

White-tailed Blue Flycatcher

YES

242

White-winged Black Tit

YES

243

Willard's Sooty Boubou

YES

244

Winding Cisticola

YES

245

Woodland Kingfisher

YES

246

Woodland Kingfisher

YES

247

Yellow-bellied Waxbill

YES

248

Yellow-billed Duck

YES

249

Yellow-billed Oxpecker

YES

250

Yellow-billed Stork

YES

251

Yellow-breasted Apalis

YES

252

Yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher

YES

253

Yellow-fronted Canary

YES

254

Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird

YES

255

Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird

YES

256

Yellow-streaked Greenbul

YES

257

Yellow-throated Greenbul

YES

258

Yellow-throated Longclaw

YES

259

Yellow-whiskered Greenbul

YES