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Location Uganda, Mpigi
Central coordinates 32o 34.00' East  0o 10.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 800 ha
Altitude 1,130 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001


Site description Lutembe Bay is a secluded backwater at the mouth of Lake Victoria’s Murchison Bay, between Kampala and Entebbe. It is shallow, fringed by papyrus Cyperus papyrus, and almost completely cut off from the main body of Lake Victoria by a papyrus island. The dominant vegetation is a mosaic of papyrus on the open waterside, with Miscanthus and Vossia towards the dry land. The bay extends into a Miscanthus swamp and merges with forest remnants to the north and with a recently cleared horticultural farm to the north-west on the landward side. Its protection from the wave action of the open water facilitated the establishment and proliferation of the invasive water hyacinth Eichhornia, although that has recently declined. The bay and its associated swamps are important for the surrounding communities as a source of raw materials for local crafts, building, water for domestic use and, probably more importantly, fish as food and income.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 3 for key species. Although Chloropeta gracilirostris has been recorded only once, in papyrus along the bay, it is probably under-recorded in the Lake Victoria swamps. Laniarius mufumbiri is occasionally seen in papyrus, but its abundance is not known. Three additional species of global conservation concern have been recorded: occasional Balaeniceps rex, Rynchops flavirostris and one record of Ardeola idae.A comprehensive inventory of all bird species that occur in the bay is currently being made. Regular waterfowl counts since 1993 show a total of 108 waterbird species at the site, of which 26 are Palearctic migrants. The bay regularly supports 20,000–50,000 roosting waterbirds and, therefore, qualifies both as an IBA and for designation as a Ramsar Site. However, numbers shoot up to 100,000–200,000 and sometimes many more between October and February when there are Palearctic migrants. An estimate of 1,000,000 Chlidonias leucopterus was made in 1994, and counts in July 1999 show that between 500,000–1,500,000 birds roost on muddy islets when the water-level is low. Clearly Lutembe Bay is one of the most important migration stop-over sites in the Lake Victoria basin and a major roost-site for many species, including large congregations of migrant waders. Many Phalacrocorax carbo also feed and roost in the bay, the largest number recorded being 1,448 in July 1998.

Non-bird biodiversity: Among mammals, the site supports Tragelaphus spekii (LR/nt) and Lutra maculicollis (VU).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Sterna nilotica winter  500-10,000 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Grey-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus winter  1997  12,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus winter  500,000-1,500,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
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 
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 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1,000,000-2,499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of surface water (agricultural use) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - type unknown/unrecorded happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Wetlands (inland)   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable

Sterna nilotica 10050 1443 individuals 15 very unfavourable
Larus cirrocephalus Grey-headed Gull 12000 3922 individuals 33 very unfavourable
Chlidonias leucopterus White-winged Tern 1000000 783 individuals 1 very unfavourable

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)  
Lutembe Bay Wetland System Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 98 is identical to site 800  

Local conservation groups The local conservation group below is working to support conservation at this IBA.

Name Year formed
Lutembe Wetlands Users Association 2007


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   11%
Wetlands (inland)   55%
Forest   33%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -
other -
Notes: Collection of natural materials for craftmaking and building; collection of water for domestic use.

References Arinaitwe (1997), Carswell (1986), Rose and Scott (1997), Taylor and Rose (1994).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lutembe Bay. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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