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Akagera National Park

Birding Akagera National Park, Rwanda Important Bird Area Destination

Shikra

Akagera National Park lies largely in the Mubari–Migongo subregion which is located in the north-east of Rwanda, on the Tanzanian and Ugandan borders. The topography of the park is characterized by rolling sandstone hills in the west, cut in places by deep, narrow valleys. In the east, flood-plains and swamps are predominant. To the south of the Buganza, the Gisaka subregion is wetter. And to the north of Akagera is the Mutara subregion where the vegetation is dominated by open grasslands in which Themeda, Hyparrhenia and Cymbopogon predominate, grasses characteristic of traditional pastoralism and repeated bush fires.

The extremely varied vegetation of the park has been described as the most heterogeneous savanna ecosystem in the region. Open savannas are dominated by three typical grasses, Themeda triandra, Hyparrhenia filipendula and Cymbopogon afronardus. Though Acacia and Combretum predominate, more than 250 tree species occur in the park. Towards the lake borders to the east, the savanna becomes more heavily wooded, with gallery forest occurring along lake edges. Gallery forest species include Albizia spp., Acacia polyacantha and some Ficus spp. Flood-plain and marsh vegetation occur in the river valley, with marshes dominated by Cyperus papyrus, Cladium and Miscanthidium.

Birding Importance

Akagera boosts of a rich bird Checklist of over 525 species, this reflects the extremely wide diversity of habitat. 44 species of raptor, Papyrus Gonolek, Shoebill Storkand a good number of Palearctic migrants, amongst which Lesser Kestrel, Great Snipe and Black-winged have been recorded. The park represents the northern limit of distribution of a number of Zambezian biome species, including Sauza’s Shrike, Arnot’s Chat, and Long-tailed Cisticola. One species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome, seven of the Afrotropical Highlands biome, nine of the eleven species of the Lake Victoria Basin biome that occur in Rwanda have been recorded at this site.

The park also has a health mammal list of over 50 species among which include the African Elephant which was introduced to the park in 1975.

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