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Location Uganda, Masaka
Central coordinates 31o 55.00' East  0o 27.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 22,500 ha
Altitude 1,130 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001


Site description The IBA consists of Lake Nabugabo (c.3,500 ha), a shallow freshwater lake of c.8 km by 5 km, and extensive swamps and small forests to the north, east and south, where Sango Bay (IBA UG013) adjoins. Three much smaller satellite lakes, Birinzi (formerly Kayanja), Manywa and Kayugi are located to the north-west at a slightly higher altitude. Nabugabo is separated from Lake Victoria by an arm of the Lwamunda swamp and a sandbar. Large plants such as Loudetia dominate, but Miscanthus and Vossia, as well as Sphagnum bogs, are also present. Papyrus occurs, but does not dominate any part of the swamp. There is a belt of depleted tropical forest along much of the western shore, and sandy shores along the windward, north-western shoreline. Similar forests exist along the eastern sandbank, some of which are gazetted Forest Reserves. The lakes have been isolated from Lake Victoria for about 3,700 years, during which time the cichlid fauna has undergone speciation. Lake Nabugabo is a popular resort, especially at weekends and public holidays.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 3 for key species. A complete species list for the birds of Nabugabo is not available yet, but over 180 species have been recorded. The scarce Serinus koliensis is among the species of the Lake Victoria Basin biome that are present. Two additional species of global conservation concern, Gallinago media and Circus macrourus, were recorded in December 2000 on seasonally flooded grassland. Hylia prasina and Alcedo quadribrachys occur in the forested areas close to the lake.

Non-bird biodiversity: Nine species of indigenous fish of the family Cichlidae have been recorded from the lakes, including five endemic species of Haplochromis. The introduction of the non-native fish Oreochromis niloticus, O. leucosticus and Tilapia zillii in the 1950s and Lates niloticus in the early 1960s in both Lakes Victoria and Nabugabo has impacted negatively on the indigenous fish, which may now only remain in the satellite lakes.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Shoebill Balaeniceps rex resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
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 
Sharpe's Pied-babbler Turdoides sharpei resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-chested Sunbird Nectarinia erythrocerca resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Northern Brown-throated Weaver Ploceus castanops resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Papyrus Canary Serinus koliensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species habitat effects - gathering plants 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  Very little or no conservation action taking place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Lake Nabugabo Wetland System Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 22,000 protected area contained by site 22,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   2%
Wetlands (inland)   53%
Shrubland   1%
Savanna   2%
Grassland   1%
Forest   38%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
tourism/recreation -

References Kateyo (1998), Langdale-Brown et al. (1964), Okot-Okumu (1999), Omoding et al. (1996), Scott et al. (1994).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Nabugabo wetland. Downloaded from on 26/11/2014

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