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Location Uganda, Nebbi
Central coordinates 31o 10.00' East  2o 52.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 15,800 ha
Altitude 670 - 850m
Year of IBA assessment 2001


Site description The distinguishing feature of this Reserve is the presence of Ajai’s Island, from which it derives its name. This island lies in the middle of a seasonally waterlogged swamp called Ala, which is fed by two rivers, the Ala and the Acha. It lies immediately to the west of the Albert Nile, and comprises permanent swamp (including papyrus Cyperus papyrus) seasonal swamp, seasonally flooded woodlands and grasslands. The vegetation consists of Echinochloa grassland in the swampy areas bordering the Nile, while better-drained higher ground carries tree-savanna of Combretum, Acacia and Terminalia. The River Nile forms the major drainage for the reserve in the east, while the Acha, Ala and Linya rivers drain the peripheries into the Nile. Between June and January of most years the swamp is flooded, cutting off the island from the mainland. This is one of the factors responsible for the survival of wildlife in the reserve.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 3 for key species. The reserve also holds four out of the 12 species that are restricted to the Lake Victoria Basin biome. A team of volunteers from Frontier Uganda surveyed the reserve in 1993, but the species list for birds remains incomplete.

Non-bird biodiversity: The reserve was specifically gazetted to protect the mammal Ceratotherium simum (CR), which is now extinct in Uganda due to poaching. The reserve still has relatively healthy populations of other large mammals, such as antelope and Syncerus caffer (LR/cd).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black-breasted Barbet Pogonornis rolleti resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Shoebill Balaeniceps rex resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
White-crested Turaco Tauraco leucolophus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-throated Bee-eater Merops bulocki resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Papyrus Gonolek Laniarius mufumbiri resident  1998  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Emin's Shrike Lanius gubernator resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Piapiac Ptilostomus afer resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-pate Cisticola Cisticola ruficeps resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Purple Glossy-starling Lamprotornis purpureus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bronze-tailed Glossy-starling Lamprotornis chalcurus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver Plocepasser superciliosus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Heuglin's Masked-weaver Ploceus heuglini resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-cheeked Oliveback Nesocharis capistrata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-rumped Waxbill Estrilda troglodytes resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species habitat effects - gathering plants happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Forest   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Savanna   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable
Shrubland   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ajai Wildlife Reserve 14,800 protected area contained by site 14,800  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   2%
Unknown   4%
Shrubland   19%
Savanna   14%
Forest   58%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
nature conservation and research -

References Stubblefield and Allan (1994), UNEP (1988a).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ajai Wildlife Reserve. Downloaded from on 28/11/2014

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