DR Congo is more than just the mountain gorillas! The larger section of 2 Endemic Bird Areas (EDAs) is situated in the nation, the Eastern DR Congo lowlands and the Albertine Rift Mountains. The 2 EDAs comprise of the Central Refugium that is one Africa’s main centers of endemism. All 43 restricted range species of these 2 EDAs take place of which 23 are of international conservation concern. Further still, 2 secondary EDAs are situated wholly within the state, Lake Lufira and Upemba plains and 2 are partially within the nation, Gabon Cabinda coast and West Democratic Republic of Congo. DR Congo also takes a larger portion of species restricted to a number of biomes; 228 out of 278 Guinea-Congo forest birds, 93 out of 228 Afro tropical Highland, 47 out of 67 species of the Zambezian biome, 29 of the 54 Sudan Guinea savanna species and 9 of 12 species of the Lake Victoria basin biome. 19 Important Birding Areas of which 12 are conserved legally have been identified spanning about 130500 square kilometers/5.5% of the nation and these holds a wide spectrum of domain. Large places of the state however have not been surveyed ornitholohically and several important sites perhaps remain to be explored and documented.
Luki Forest Reserve is an area of lowland forest around the Atlantic coast lying to the north of Boma town. Though the site doesn’t have adequate information about its species, about 136 of the 228 birds of the Guinea Congo Forest biome live in this area.
Bombo Lumene Game Reserve situated south of the main Kinshasa to Kenge highway and is the only conservation area with White headed Robin Cossypha heinrichi and also the only area where black chinned weaver Ploceus nigrimentus has been recorded
Ngiri is a big remote site of swamp forest located between the Ubangi River in the west and the Congo River in the East. A big population of water birdlife breeds including the long tailed cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus, African darter anhinga rufa and purple heron ardea purpurea. It is the only popular area in DR Congo with Congo sunbird cinnyris congensis
Salongo National Park is the biggest rainforest protected area in the world and encompasses a good part of the central basin of the Congo River. There is little ornithological data though Congo Peacock Afropavo congensis is popular to live here.
Lomaka Yekkokora is a big site of untouched tropical moist forest in the middle of the Congo basin. It can only be accessed by River and inhabits the largest population of Congo Peacock Afropavo congensis
Garamba National Park is a big site of mainly densely wooded savanna located on the Sudan border and is the only conservation area in the Sudan Guinea Savanna biome in the DR Congo.
Lendu plateau is another big site of high ground on the western part of Lake Albert in the north east of DR Congo. Prigogine’s Greenbul chlorocichla prigoginei and Bedford’s paradise flycatcher Terpsiphone bedfordi live in this remarkable area.
Mount Hoyo Reserve is made up of the mountain that lies at 1450m and the surrounding area of forest situated in the Northern end of the Rwenzori range. The area may be expected to contain a significant population of the Guinea Congo Forest biodiversity.
Okapi Faunal Reserve is a large tract of moist lowland forest in the northeast of DR Congo. It encompasses the unique yellow legged weaver Ploceus flavipes and golden napped weaver P. aureonucha.
Virunga National Park is located around the Uganda border and has a large variety of habitats. It contains the Grauer’s swamp warbler Bradypterus graueri, yellow crested helmet shrike prionops alberti and Shelley’s crimson wing Cryptospiza shelleyi, doubled toothed barbet, yellow billed barbet, Madagascar bee eater, narrow tailed starling, grey throated barbet.
Maiko National Park is another large remote site of humid primary tropical forest in the east of DR Congo that contains a significant number of Congo peacock Afropavo congensis.
Forests west of Lake Edward are located in the east of DRC and the major birds in the area include white pigeon Columba albinucha, Albertine owlet glaucidium albertinum and Grauer’s and Grauer’s cuckoo shrike coracina graueri.
Kahuzi Biega National Park is situated near the Rwanda and Burundi borders. No systematic record has been done in the park but it is very significant for primate safaris.
Itombwe Mountains are found west of the north most part of Lake Tanganyika and are the richest single forest site for birds in Africa with 563 species. The currently described Prigogine’s Nightjar Caprimulgus prigoginei is only famous in the area and the Congo Bay owl Phodilus prigoginei and Schouteden’s Swift Schoutedenapus schoutedeni.
The following 3 IBAs are situated in the southeast DRC. Upemba National Park, large site with black lored waxbill Estrulda nigriloris: Kundelungu National Park though there are no current records; Lufira Valley with Lake Lufira weaver Ploceus ruweti that is restricted to the swamps bordering the Lake.
In conclusion, Democratic Republic of Congo is beyond mountain gorillas. There are several habitats that inhabit numerous bird species and this makes it one of Africa’s best birding destinations. Forest, endemic and swamp bird species are all inhabited in this country and have a wide area to catch a glimpse of unique birdlife.