|Central coordinates||30o 38.00' East 1o 45.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A3|
|Altitude||1,300 - 1,825m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. At least 525 species are known from the park, reflecting the extremely wide diversity of habitat. These include 44 species of raptor, Balaeniceps rex and many Palearctic migrants, amongst which Falco naumanni, Gallinago media and Glareola nordmanni have been recorded. The park represents the northern limit of distribution of a number of Zambezian biome (A10) species, including Lanius souzae, Myrmecocichla arnotti and Cisticola angusticauda. In addition, one species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome (A05) and seven of the Afrotropical Highlands biome (A07) also occur (see Table 3). However, all these data need to be reviewed in the light of the recent reduction in size of the park, which means that some species are no longer likely to occur within it, e.g. species of gallery forests (e.g. Camaroptera chloronota, Cossypha cyanocampter) and montane forests (e.g. Illadopsis pyrrhoptera, Cisticola chubbi).
Site description Akagera National Park is located in the north-east of Rwanda, on the Tanzanian and Ugandan borders. It now covers an area of 100,000 ha, following a recent reduction of its original size of 250,000 ha. The excised areas are mainly from the eastern and northern parts of the park’s original limits. The park was contiguous to the north-west with the Mutara Hunting Reserve (34,000 ha), degazetted in 1997. 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. The extensive lakes and swamps of Akagera river valley cover an area of c.100,000 ha. The highest point in the park is Mount Mutumba (1,825 m). The vegetation of the park is extremely varied and, indeed, 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 spp. and Combretum spp. predominate, more than 250 tree species occur in the park. The relatively steep hills of central and southern parts support a denser tree- and bush-cover. 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.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Ring-necked Francolin Francolinus streptophorus||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Near Threatened|
|Madagascar Pond-heron Ardeola idae||winter||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Endangered|
|Shoebill Balaeniceps rex||resident||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus||winter||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|White-spotted Flufftail Sarothrura pulchra||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Black-shouldered Nightjar Caprimulgus nigriscapularis||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Red-faced Barbet Lybius rubrifacies||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A3||Near Threatened|
|Buff-spotted Woodpecker Campethera nivosa||resident||1998||unknown [units unknown]||-||Least Concern|
|Papyrus Gonolek Laniarius mufumbiri||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A3||Near Threatened|
|Carruthers's Cisticola Cisticola carruthersi||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Olive-green Camaroptera Camaroptera chloronota||resident||1998||unknown [units unknown]||-||Least Concern|
|Leaf-love Pyrrhurus scandens||resident||1998||unknown [units unknown]||-||Least Concern|
|White-winged Scrub-warbler Bradypterus carpalis||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Mountain Illadopsis Illadopsis pyrrhoptera||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Sharpe's Pied-babbler Turdoides sharpei||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Green-throated Sunbird Nectarinia rubescens||resident||1998||unknown [units unknown]||-||Least Concern|
|Bronze Sunbird Nectarinia kilimensis||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Red-chested Sunbird Nectarinia erythrocerca||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Black-billed Weaver Ploceus melanogaster||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Northern Brown-throated Weaver Ploceus castanops||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|White-collared Oliveback Nesocharis ansorgei||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Yellow-browed Citril Serinus frontalis||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Thick-billed Seedeater Serinus burtoni||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Akagera||National Park||90,000||protected area contained by site||90,000|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial landscapes (terrestrial)||48%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
Other biodiversity More than 50 species of mammal are known from the park, including Lycaon pictus (EN), now thought to be locally extinct. Diceros bicornis (CR) and Loxodonta africana (EN) were introduced to the park in 1958 and 1975 respectively.
Management considerations Akagera National Park and the formerly contiguous Mutara Hunting Reserve were protected by Decrees dating from 1934 and 1957 respectively. Compared with other parts of Rwanda, the park is not heavily populated. At least, it has not been in recent decades; its previous inhabitants were displaced on the creation of the park. Following social unrest in the country in the 1960s, there was uncontrolled poaching and grazing and many guards were killed. In 1969, 3,800 ha were degazetted from the park as were 8,400 ha from the Hunting Reserve. Following the recent civil war, the park came under further pressure, as a result of occupation by many thousands of pastoralists, which resulted in 60% of the park being degazetted in 1997. Furthermore, there is a plan to build a hydroelectric dam on the Rusumo falls on the Akagera river. This represents a serious threat for the wetland ecosystems of the park and all surrounding areas.
References Dzwonko and Kornas (1994), Kanyamibwa (1998), Vande weghe (1981, 1990).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Akagera National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/05/2013
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