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Location Uganda, Bushenyi
Central coordinates 30o 9.54' East  0o 7.38' South
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 15,400 ha
Altitude 915 - 1,110m
Year of IBA assessment 2001


Site description The reserve (KWR) lies immediately south of Lake George (a Ramsar Site), and east of Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP: IBA UG007) where the Kazinga Channel leaves the lake, flowing towards Lake Edward. Although KWR has similar ecosystems to QENP, the natural barriers formed by the Kyambura Gorge and Kazinga Channel make it possible to manage the area as a separate entity. KWR serves as a buffer zone for the north-eastern part of QENP.There is no land connection between the reserve and the park, animals simply fording the Kyambura river where it is shallowest during the dry seasons to move between the protected areas. The river gorge supports a high-canopy tropical forest which grades to a swamp-forest and papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) swamp near the river mouth. The eastern border follows Buhindagi river from Lake George, south-east to Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve (a moist semi-deciduous forest not presently included within the IBA) where the boundaries of the Forest and Wildlife Reserves abut. A road from the main Mbarara–Kasese highway runs up to Kashaka fish-landing site, bisecting the reserve.There are seven volcanic crater-lakes, both fresh and saline, in the reserve, the most significant of which are the saline Lakes Nshenyi, Bagusa and Maseche; Lakes Chibwera, Kinera, Kararo and Kyamwiga have fresh water.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 3 for key species. The fauna and flora are similar to that of Queen Elizabeth National Park (IBA UG007). Both IBAs have volcanic craters with saline lakes, which are important sites for waterbirds. A total of 332 bird species has been recorded in Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, including seven species of global conservation concern. Lake George, the Kazinga Channel and the seven crater-lakes within the reserve offer a large and varied habitat to many birds, including about 110 wetland species. Lakes Maseche, Nshenyi and Bagusa are within a few kilometres of each other, and the populations of Phoenicopterus minor in these craters can be considered as one. Since 1994, the number recorded on the three saline lakes together has exceeded 20,000 on several occasions, and reached 30,000 in February and August 1999. Although the population of Phoenicopterus minor in Uganda is only 2% of the total population in East Africa, these sites are of considerable conservation importance, since they represent alternative potential breeding sites if the traditional breeding sites are not available. Laniarius mufumbiri and Chloropeta gracilirostris were recorded in papyrus swamps along the shores of Lake George in November 2000. There is a roosting site for Pelecanus onocrotalus at Kashaka fishing village, with a single count of 900 birds in 1994. There are isolated records of Gallinago media and Hirundo atrocaerulea, and a 1994 record of Torgos tracheliotus by the Frontier-Uganda team.

Non-bird biodiversity: Threatened mammals include Loxodonta africana (EN), Panthera leo (VU) and Pan troglodytes (EN).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor non-breeding  1999  30,000 individuals  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
Shoebill Balaeniceps rex resident  1998  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Himantopus himantopus non-breeding  1998  4,100 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Papyrus Gonolek Laniarius mufumbiri resident  1998  present  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Carruthers's Cisticola Cisticola carruthersi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-winged Scrub-warbler Bradypterus carpalis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Papyrus Yellow Warbler Chloropeta gracilirostris resident  1998  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Red-chested Sunbird Nectarinia erythrocerca resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Northern Brown-throated Weaver Ploceus castanops resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2012 low favourable medium
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - nomadic grazing happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Biological resource use gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Grassland   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Wetlands (inland)   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kyambura Wildlife Reserve 15,400 is identical to site 15,400  
Queen Elizabeth National Park 205,600 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Queen Elizabeth National Park UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 739,500 protected area is adjacent to site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   3%
Wetlands (inland)   12%
Shrubland   7%
Grassland   8%
Forest   68%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
nature conservation and research -
other -
Notes: Firewood collection.

References Allan (1994), Chapin (1953), UNEP (1988a), Zandri and Viskanic (1992).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Kyambura Wildlife Reserve. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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