Bird Watching On The Shores Of Lake Kivu

Situated in the western corner of Rwanda, Lake Kivu forms the physical boundary between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This Lake is one of the magnificent African Great Lakes with three main sections including Cyangugu (Southern side), Kibuye (central) and Gisenyi (Northern side) and a haven to wide range of bird species, especially the aquatic and wetland species hence making it one of the bird lover’s Paradise. Rwanda is a small landlocked country known for mainly the critically endangered mountain gorillas that live within the Volcanoes National Park in north-western part of the country. However, there are also over 750 species of birds in Rwanda with the highlights being the Albertine Rift endemics.

Among the country’s most remarkable birding spots is Lake Kivu, especially the shores of the Lake in areas such as Kibuye and Gisenyi among others. This Lake lies at an elevation of 1460 meters above sea level with a minimum depth of 480 meters. Lake Kivu is also popular for being one of the few Lakes in the World that experience limnic eruptions which always take place when gases in the water body especially Carbon monoxide and methane  are eventually released into the atmosphere thus leading to instant death of humans and animals.

If you explore Kibuye area, you will be excited to encounter extraordinary bird species including the common kestrel, African Pied Wagtail, Tropical Boubou, Common Waxbill, spotted Yellow-throated Greenbul, Speckled Pigeons, Chin-spot Batis, Ashy Flycatcher, Cardinal Woodpecker, Bronzed Sunbirds, African Pied Wagtail, White tailed Blue Flycatcher and many others.

Also, the shores of Lake Kivu offer opportunities of spotting the colorful Southern Red Bishop, Red-chested sunbirds, Hadada Ibis, Crimson-rumped Waxbill, Scarlet-chested, Spectacled Weaver, Striated Heron, Common Waxbill, Black-headed Heron, Red-billed Firefinch, Little bee-eater, Yellow-fronted Canary, Sacred Ibis, Holub’s Golden Weaver, Variable Sunbird, Bronzed Manakin, Black-headed Weaver, Yellow-bellied Waxbill and many others.

If you visit the Gisenyi area, you will come across the Bronze Sunbird, White-browed Robin-chat, Long-tailed Cormorant, Speckled Mousebirds, Grassland Pipit, Olive Pigeons, African Black Swift, Angola Swallow, Mosque Swallow, the Black Crake, Common (Rock) Kestrels, swifts, African fish eagles, Yellow-throated Greenbuls, Pin-tailed Whydah, Grey-rumped Swallow , Common Bulbul, Spot-flanked Barbet, Red-rumped Swallow, Black Saw-wing, Lesser-striped Swallow, Black-crowned Waxbills, Holub’s Golden Weaver and many others.

Taking a boat trip to Akeza Island rewards bird enthusiasts with the views of the great cormorants, the Water Thick-knees, Grey-capped Warbler, Common Fiscal, Green-headed Sunbird, Common Waxbill, Red-chested Sunbird, Common (Rock) Kestrels, Pin-tailed Whydah, Bronze Sunbird and Baglafecht Weaver among others.

Therefore in addition to the common birding areas; Akagera National Park, Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe Forest as well as the wetland like Akanyaru, Lake Kivu is also an important Birding Area with a diversity of aquatic and wetland bird species that wander around the shores of the Lake.