|Central coordinates||31o 47.00' East 0o 47.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A4i, A4iii|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See Box for key species. As yet, there is no species list for the islands, whose significance is as a breeding and roosting site. The full importance of the islands, especially for Larus cirrocephalus was not appreciated until recently. There are no other breeding colonies of Egretta garzetta known in Uganda, which makes this an important site. Phalacrocorax carbo breeds on both islands in Ficus trees, and 2,000 non-breeding birds were recorded in February and October 1995. Large numbers of Phalacrocorax africanus also roost on the islands, with an estimate of 3,000–5,000 in July 1997.
Site description These three rocky islets are about 3 km offshore in Sango Bay. The largest covers about 5 ha, and the next about 3 ha (these are locally known as Ennene (large) and Entono (small) respectively), whilst the smallest is just a rocky outcrop jutting out of the lake. The two larger ones are sparsely vegetated with shrubs and short, weather-beaten trees, especially of Ficus species. The shoreline has no fringing swamp or sandy beaches. The larger island is used periodically by fishermen catching Nile perch Lates niloticus (Mputa) and Rastrineobola argentea (Mukene). A group of fishermen have settled on the island.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Little Egret Egretta garzetta||breeding||-||500 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Little Egret Egretta garzetta||winter||-||20,000 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Reed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus||breeding||-||6,000-7,000 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Grey-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus||breeding||-||10,000 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Grey-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus||winter||-||100,000 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||breeding||-||-||unknown||A4iii|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||winter||-||-||unknown||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Musambwa islands||Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar)||8||is identical to site||8|
Local conservation groups The local conservation group below is working to support conservation at this IBA.
|Musambwa Islands Joint Conservation Organisation (MIJCO)||1998|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|Notes: Collection of eggs of gulls Larus cirrocephalus.|
Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.
Management considerations In 1995, there were only three houses on the islands, but by 1997 there were seven, including a shop. Problems associated with an increasing human population, such as disturbance, consumptive utilization and competition for space, may become more acute with time. The number of adult Ficus trees is decreasing.Local people in the Sango Bay area collect and eat eggs of nesting Larus cirrocephalus. Although some eggs are laid in crevices too deep for people to extract them, the disturbance leads to desertion. Information about breeding periods is passed on by the resident fishermen. Recent observations indicate that the egg-collection may not be sustainable.Fishermen of two kinds use the islands. Those who fish the Nile Perch Lates niloticus and set their nets far from the shore, and only use the islands for short periods; and those who fish the sardine-sized Mukene R. argentea. The latter set their nets close to the islands, reside on the islands and have cleared about 200 m² for sun-drying the fish. In addition to losing nesting-space, birds will become susceptible to injury from fishermen preventing them from eating the fish on the ground. The UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme recently approved an award of $50,000 to NatureUganda for a two-year project with local communities to conserve the islands.
Related state of the world's birds case studies
References Britton (1980), Brown et al. (1982, 1988), Witte et al. (1992).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Musambwa islands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/06/2013
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