Before I visited the Akagera National Park for the first time, I envisioned a dry Savannah devoid of water bodies. Upon arrival, I was surprised to learn that the protected area encompasses ten lakes surrounded by extensive marshlands. Kagera River flows on the eastern edge of the park, forming the boundary line between Rwanda and Tanzania.
Akagera’s wetland area is home to more than 400 species of birds. I could have done a whole series about birds without even scratching the surface. A birding enthusiast visiting the park feels like a kid in a candy store.
Nature-based tourism enables me to understand wildlife better. Every nature getaway is a study tour. While visiting Akagera, I spent some time studying birds and trying to identify them through colors and sound.
As the name suggests, the red-winged francolin has red wings. The chest of a brown-chested lapwing is brown. The face of a red-faced barbet is ..... I am sure you can easily fill in the blank space. There are more distinctive features than the color alone. However, the pigmentation of body parts provides leads.
Furthermore, I try to put names to birds whenever I listen to the sounds they produce. The longer I listen to them, the more I notice differences in tones, patterns and pitches. The red-chested sun bird produces a high-pitched jumble while the sun bird’s call includes a short chek, chek, chek followed by a long cheee, cheee, cheee.
In Part VI of this series, I mentioned how the birds inhabiting the shore of Lake Mihindi entertained me during my memorable lunch break at Mihindi Campsite & Café. The soothing melodies of the yellow-fronted canary had a calming effect. Known for its silvery twitter, this talented singer is a true definition of a songbird.