Rwanda Birds, List of birds in Rwanda, Number of bird species found in Rwanda

Rwanda Bird Checklist

Shoebill Balaeniceps rex

Shoebill Balaeniceps rex
Shoebill

Diet: Lungfishes, Catfish, Tilapia, Frogs, Reptiles, and small mammal

 

Habitat and feeding: Swamps, marshes, particular floating vegetation, generally muddy areas on fresh water bodies

 

The Shoebill is a massive bird, growing to heights of 3-1/2ft to 4-1/2ft tall.

 

The birds nest solitarily, laying one to three eggs in a large flat nest built amid swamp grasses or sedges, usually in remote areas. These eggs measure 80 to 90 mm high by 56 to 61 mm and weigh around 164 g. It takes 140 days of nest-attendance to get from new-laid egg to independent offspring and it takes three to four years to get from newly independent offspring to mature adult.

 

This species is considered to be one of the five most desirable birds in Africa by ornithologists.

Saddle-billed Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis)

Saddle-billed Stork
Saddle-billed Stork

Diet: Mainly feeds on fish, frogs and crabs, but also on small birds and reptiles.

 

The Saddle-billed Stork breeds in forested waterlands and floodlands in tropical lowland. The female lays one or two white eggs weighing about 146g each. The incubation period is 30–35 days, with another 70 – 100 days before the chicks fledge.

 

Birds grow to 150 cm height,142 cm length and 2.4–2.7 m wingspan. The male is larger and heavier than the female, with a range of 5.1–7.5 kg. The female is usually between 5 and 7 kg. It is probably the tallest of the Storks. 

 

The long bill measures from 27.3 to 36 cm. 

 

Sexes can be readily distinguished by the golden yellow iris of the female and the brown irises and dangling yellow wattles of the male.

Village Weaver (Ploceus cucullatus)

Village Weaver (Ploceus cucullatus)
Village Weaver

The Village Weaver is a stocky 15–17 cm bird with a strong conical bill and dark reddish eyes.

 

This weaver builds a large coarsely woven nest made of grass and leaf strips with a downward facing entrance which is suspended from a branch in a tree. 2-3 eggs are laid. This is a colonial breeder, so many nests may hang from one tree.

 

Village Weaver feeds principally on seeds and grain, and can be a crop pest, but it will readily take insects, especially when feeding young, which partially redresses the damage to agriculture.

 

The calls of this bird include harsh buzzes and chattering.

Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta)

Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta)
Hamerkop

This sedentary medium-sized wading bird of 56 cm long, weighing 470 gm  is know to occur from Africa to coastal southwest Arabia wetlands.

 

Hamerkops feed during the day, the main diet consists of amphibians and fish. Sometimes, they eat shrimp, insects and rodents. They walk in shallow water looking for prey, shuffling one foot at a time on the bottom or suddenly opening their wings to flush prey out of hiding.

 

Hamerkops, of all birds make the biggest nest in the trees, sometimes more than 1.5 m across, comprising perhaps 10,000 sticks and strong enough to support a man's weight. A mud-plastered entrance 13 to 18 cm wide in the bottom leads through a tunnel up to 60 cm long to a nesting chamber big enough for the parents and young.

 

They lay 3 to 7 eggs that start white but soon become stained. Both sexes incubate for 28 to 30 days. The chicks leave the nest at 44 to 50 days.

 

In culture, the bird is associated to bad omen; Some cultures in Uganda believe, when the bird patches on ones house then they are likely to be struck by lightening. In some places, when it calls over the house, people know that someone close to them has died. The Kalahari Bushmen believe that the inimical god Khauna would not like anyone to kill a Hamerkop. According to an old Malagasy belief, anyone who destroys its nest will get leprosy, and a Malagasy poem calls it an "evil bird". Such beliefs have given the bird some protection.

Goliath Heron (Ardea goliath)

Goliath Heron (Ardea goliath)
Goliath Heron

The Goliath Heron, is the world's largest heron. It measures 120–152 cm height, 185–230 cm wingspan and weighs 4–5 kg.

 

The species is very aquatic, even by heron standards, inhabiting marshes around lakes, swamps, mangrove wetlands, reefs with few cool water, and sometimes river deltas within elevations from see level to to 2,100 m. 

 

Goliath Herons generally prefer to nest on islands or islands of vegetation coinciding with the start of the rains. The birds may abandon a nesting site if the island becomes attached to the mainland. They nest fairly low in variously sedge, reeds, bushes, trees or even on rocks or large tree stumps. The nests are large, often measuring around 1 to 1.5 m in diameter. In these nests they lay pale blue eggs, averaging 72 mm by 54 mm and weighing around 108 g. The clutch size can range from 2 to 5. Incubation lasts 24 to 30 days.

 

Mainly prey on fish, specializing in relatively large fish. The largest fish targeted may measure 50 cm although the heron may not be able to swallow prey up to this size. Small fish are generally ignored and the average Goliath catches around 2 or 3 fish a day. Breams, Mullet, Tilapia and carp have locally been recorded as preferred species. Frogs, prawns, small mammals, lizards, snakes, insects and even carrion are also part of the diet.

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