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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 157824, 12 pages
Research Article

Bird Diversity and Distribution in relation to Urban Landscape Types in Northern Rwanda

1University of Rwanda, P.O. Box 117, Butare, Rwanda
2Karisoke Research Center, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, 800 Cherokee Avenue Southeast, Atlanta, GA 30315-1440, USA

Received 31 March 2014; Accepted 29 June 2014; Published 15 July 2014

Academic Editor: Getachew Dagne

Copyright © 2014 T. Gatesire et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Using the point count method, linear mixed models, Shannon’s diversity index, and Bray-Curtis cluster analysis, we conducted a study of the effect of urban fabric layout on bird diversity and distribution in northern Rwanda. The results showed a significant effect of city landscapes on bird richness and relative abundance; residential neighborhoods, institutional grounds, and informal settlements had the highest species diversity in comparison to other microlandscape types. Riversides were characterized by specialized bird species, commonly known to be restricted to wetland environments. Built-up areas and open field landscapes had comparable results. One Albertine Rift endemic bird species, the Ruwenzori Double-collared Sunbird (Cinnyris stuhlmanni), was recorded. Three migratory birds were found in Musanze city for the first time: the Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos), the Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata), and the Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus). Two bird species have not been previously reported in Rwanda: the Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin) and the Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila pomarina). The implications of this study are particularly relevant to urban decision makers who should consider the existence of a great diversity of avian fauna when developing and implementing master plans, especially when villages and cities are in proximity of protected areas or natural reserves.