Located in north-eastern Burundi, the park extends south-westwards from the border with Tanzania along a 65 km stretch of the valley of the Ruvubu river. The south-western boundary of the park lies some 20 km to the east of the town of Gitega. The Ruvubu river valley comprises a series of meanders flanked by swamp vegetation, gallery forest and, further inland, savanna woodland. The latter comprises Hyparrhenia grassland with Brachystegia, Julbernardia, Combretum and Terminalia spp. and Acacia seyal plus Pericopsis and Parinari spp. on hillsides. Riverine forest lines the Ruvubu, interspersed with areas of Cyperus papyrus and Phoenix reclinata. There are also areas of flood-plain grassland, while papyrus swamps with sparse Syzygium occur along the drainage lines of the smaller valleys. On the high ridge which forms the southern boundary of the park, Protea sp. is common. The vegetation of the park includes Zambezian elements at the northern limits of their distribution. The rain season extends from October to May.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. More than 200 bird species have been recorded, including Ardeola idae, Circus macrourus, Falco naumanni and Gallinago media. Large numbers of waterbirds occur with counts of over 1,000 Pelecanus onocrotalus and large numbers of Mycteria ibis. Other species recorded include Neotis denhami. In addition, three species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome and 10 of the Afrotropical Highlands biome have also been recorded (see Table 3).
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals of global conservation concern include Panthera leo (VU) and Tragelaphus spekii (LR/nt).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The park was established in 1980, when 3,000 families were relocated at a cost of about US$500,000. The park seeks to conserve habitat which used to cover much of north-eastern Burundi. Illegal traditional hunting still exists, but has little serious impact.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ruvubu National Park. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 02/02/2023.