Status of two threatened species in two IBAs in Rwanda

Charles Kahindo

The study will assess the status of two globally threatened bird species; Grauer's Rush Warbler (Bradypterus graueri) and Papyrus Yellow Warbler (Chloropeta gracilirostris), in Rugezi swamp and Volcano National Park, northwest of Rwanda in the Albertine Rift region. The region is important for conserving unique biodiversity now confined to vulnerable ecosystems. Rugezi swamp holds the biggest population of the endemic Grauer’s Rush Warbler, but the area is not protected and thus continues to be encroached upon legally and illegally. For many endemic taxa very little is known about their status, distribution and response to habitat degradation. The study will compare the population status and habitat quality of two rare bird species in Rugezi and the protected Volcano National Park. This project will conduct field surveys and build local capacity for biodiversity conservation and monitoring. Socio-economic data will be used to gauge public opinion and develop a community participation strategy for the sites. The results will among others, be used by Association pour la Conservation de la Nature au Rwanda (ACNR), a BirdLife affiliate, to lobby the Rwandan government for some form of protection in Rugezi swamp in order to conserve the threatened biodiversity contained therein and ensure its ecological functioning.