Mapping Spatial Distribution, Abundance, and Habitat Use of Endemic Sunbirds in Gishwati-Mukura National Park, Rwanda

  • Gilbert Micomyiza
  • Callixte Gatali
  • Theophile Niyonzima
  • Sam Kanyamibwa


Gishwati-Mukura National Park (GMNP) is an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) that hosts several Albertine Rift Endemic (ARE) bird species such as sunbirds. This study aimed at mapping the spatial distribution, abundance, and habitat use of endemic sunbirds within GMNP. Point Count Method (PCM) and presence-absence were used to record the data on 16 transects varying from 1 to 4.4 km. The findings revealed an abundance of 69 and 138 endemic sunbirds in Gishwati and Mukura forests, respectively. The Regal Sunbird had the highest relative species abundance (75% of observations), followed by Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird (11%), Purplebreasted Sunbird (10%), and Blue-headed Sunbird (5%). The study also revealed 37 plant species used by endemic sunbirds in GMNP for foraging and/or habitat. Plant species in Gishwati are significantly different from those in Mukura forest (p≤0.01). Moreover, altitude was positively correlated with the abundance of endemic sunbirds, while canopy and DBH (distance at breast height) were negatively correlated. Our findings revealed a positive impact of the LAFREC (Landscape Approach to Forest Restoration and Conservation) project on bird diversity and provide new insights for further strengthening efforts to conserve the park’s biodiversity. Further research is required which might consider seasonality.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2617-233X
print ISSN: 2617-2321