Volcanoes National Park is one of the Important Birding Areas in Rwanda with several exceptional species of birds worth exploring during birding safaris.  The Park is situated in the North-western corner of the country bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

It is continuous with other Parks that lie within the Virunga Massif such as Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga National Park of Uganda. Volcanoes National Park was established in 1925 (making it one of the oldest Parks in Africa) as a small area neighboring Mountains Bisoke, Mikeno and Karisimbi with the aim of conserving the critically endangered Mountains gorillas that were facing extinction at the time.

This remarkable Protected Area is naturally endowed with over 180 species of birds including 16 species that are endemic to the Virunga Mountains, 17 of the 25 Albertine Rift endemic species and 13 species that are endemic to the Rwenzori Mountains hence making it a must-visit birder’s paradise. Not only that, Volcanoes National Park is a haven to three globally threatened birds species such as the Kivu ground thrush, African green broadbill and the Lagden’s bush shrike. Surprisingly, over 53 species of the Afro-tropical highlands biome call the jungles of this Park home.

Notable bird species not to miss during birding safaris in Volcanoes National Park include the Handsome Francolins, sunbirds, Rwenzori Turaco, the red-faced woodland warbler, Rwenzori Batis, the strange weavers, black-fronted duikers, Archer’s ground-robin, Rwenzori double collared sunbirds, Grauer’s rush-warblers the dusty crimson wing and the Collared Apalis among others.

Just like other tourist activities in this Park, birding begins in the morning with briefing before venturing into the jungles to search for the bird species in the company of well-trained birders.

What to Wear and Carry for Birding within Volcanoes National Park

Just like most activities in the jungles of Volcanoes National Park, tourists intending to participate in birding have to wear the right way and carry some required items that include; Wearing a long sleeved shirt because you will be searching for birds species in the jungles hence need to protect your arms from grass scratches or tree branches, wear long trousers to protect your legs from getting scratched, carry a camera and pair of binoculars to capture every bird species, wear strong hiking boots, you should have a rainproof rain jacket incase of rains, carry enough drinking water, carry a guidebook, a backpack to carry your camera, binoculars, drinking water and a walking stick. Don’t forget to hire a porter to help carry your backpack and support you during hiking.

Best Time for Bird Watching Within Volcanoes National Park

Unlike other activities such as gorilla trekking, mountain climbing and nature walks that are enjoyable when conducted during dry seasons, the best time for birding is the rainy season from October to November and March to May because it’s when you are likely to see numerous migratory bird species. Additionally, the rainy season is always the breeding period for most birds in this Park.

Besides birds, Volcanoes National park is also a home to several wildlife species such as the critically endangered mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, African elephants, spotted hyenas, bush duikers and Buffaloes among others. This Park is also a home to five of the eight Virunga Volcanoes including Mount Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Sabinyo and Gahinga as well as sheltering the resting place for Dian Fossey, the woman that dedicated 18 years of her life conserving the Mountain gorillas.