Bird watching takes root in Rwanda

Naturalists believe that Rwanda offers an experience that is more diverse, exceptional and breathtaking.To a bigger extent the Mountain Gorillas had been the most exciting wildlife encounter that Rwanda had to offer however, birding is taking shape as a tourist attraction.
Rwanda is home to over 600 bird species. The New Times / File
Rwanda is home to over 600 bird species. The New Times / File

Naturalists believe that Rwanda offers an experience that is more diverse, exceptional and breathtaking. To a bigger extent the Mountain Gorillas had been the most exciting wildlife encounter that Rwanda had to offer however, birding is taking shape as a tourist attraction.

Bird watching was launched in October 2007 in a bid to move away from the monoculture of gorilla tourism. Rwanda’s bird watching industry is also branded as a product of the country’s tourist attractions that have potential.

More bird watchers are often the richest and most philanthropic tourists. Tourists normally come in groups, and they spend the longest time which means more money for the host country.

The Akagera national park shelters a big number of bird species lists in Africa with over 525 record bird species.

The Akagera national park whose name is derived from the meandering River Akagera is composed of mainly lakes and swamps thus providing a habitat for a great number of wildlife.

Research shows that 15 percent of the world’s bird species are found in the East African region and Rwanda alone boasts of 650 bird species.

Tourism is one of the prominent foreign exchange earners in Rwanda, and with such innovations its successes can only become better.

In Rwanda, seven sites covering 274,535ha (10 percent of the size of the country), are currently confirmed as Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Highly desired birds include Red-collared Babbler, Albertine Owlet (both are only accessible in Rwanda), Ladgen’s Bushshrike, Neumann’s Warbler, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, Kungwe Apalis and the Purple-breasted Sunbird.

These roam three National Parks; Volcanoes, Akagera and Nyungwe. Other sites are Gishwati Forest, and the swamps of Rugezi, Akanyaru and Nyabarongo.

Rwanda’s IBAs are home to over 650 bird species. Out of these, 475 are presumed to be resident while 117 are regular seasonal migrants.

In 2010, a study by On The Frontier Group indicated that bird tourism would to contribute 10 percent of Rwanda’s tourism receipts that year.

ntagu2005@yahoo.com

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