Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Lake Mburo National Park
30o 55.00' East 0o 40.00' South
A1, A2, A3
1,280 - 1,520m
Year of IBA assessment
Site description This is a relatively new National Park, having been gazetted in 1982. Hilly and upland areas dominate the north-western part and the River Ruizi and an interlinking chain of lakes occupy the southern parts. From west to east these are: Mburo, Kigambira, Mutukula, Kazuma and Bwara. The Park contains a wide variety of habitat-types, which give it a surprisingly high diversity of animals and plants for its size. Acacia trees are widespread in many areas, such as well-drained hillsides and low-lying hilltops—places which were formerly much more open and which provided good grazing for cattle and wildlife. The present extent of the Acacia can probably be attributed to overgrazing and frequent burning.Today, there has been a reduction in the diversity of large mammals, as a result of human activity which, over the years, has included hunting, eradication of tsetse fly Glossina, and habitat destruction through cultivation and settlement. Some large mammals, such as Loxodonta africana and Diceros bicornis, are believed to have existed in the area formerly, but have been extinct for many years. Others, such as Panthera leo and Hippotragus equinus, have disappeared in recent years. Rainfall is fairly low and tends to be erratic and unreliable, causing shortage of pastures and thus affecting the behaviour of wildlife and creating demands on the park by local pastoralists. The Park’s location near the Masaka–Mbarara highway makes it easily accessible from Kampala. There are a number of tourist facilities and an education centre.
Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The park has a diverse bird fauna, with over 310 species recorded. These include a number that have not been recorded in other parks in Uganda such as Ardeola rufiventris, Tricholaema melanocephala, Eremomela scotops, Euplectes orix and Cisticola fulvicapillus. Lybius rubrifacies, a restricted-range species, is occasionally seen, but is rare, probably reaching its northern limit here, and not known anywhere else in Uganda. The site is important for certain species of the Lake Victoria Basin biome, such as Bradypterus carpalis and Cisticola carruthersi, which are rare in other IBAs. The site has one Afrotropical Highlands biome species, Ploceus baglafecht. There are isolated records of two globally near-threatened species, Phoenicopterus minor and Gallinago media. Torgos tracheliotus occurs.
Non-bird biodiversity: Lake Mburo is the only National Park in Uganda in which the ungulate Aepyceros melampus (LR/cd) is found.