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Location Uganda, Kumi
Central coordinates 33o 51.00' East  1o 42.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 25,000 ha
Altitude 1,030 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001


Site description The shallow Lake Bisina covers an area of about 192 km², and is some 32 km long by 6 km wide, with a thin strip of fringing papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) swamp. The major river entering the lake is the Apedura, which flows from the north. It has a 30-km long and up to 6.5-km wide flood-plain. The IBA includes the marsh at the south-western end of the lake, beginning with a shallow part dominated by submerged and partially submerged plants such as Nymphaea, Najas and Ceratophyllum. The lake edge is covered by floating grass Vossia that extends into seasonal Hyparrhenia-dominated grassland. Echinochloa grass also grows extensively in the swamp, forming strong mats on the edges of the marsh

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Ploceus spekeoides appears to be common in the vicinity of water, at least during the breeding season. A total of 47 nests were counted in early August 1996, but it has not been recorded breeding since. The type-specimen was obtained from Nariam in central Teso. However, the swamp around Nariam has since been drained. The status of this species is not well-known, but its distribution seems to be restricted to the north-eastern part of Uganda. There have been unconfirmed records from Rhino Camp in Arua and south of Lake Kyoga near Nakasongola.Ploceus castanops breeds extensively in the short papyrus fringing the lake. Other notable papyrus species include Bradypterus carpalis, Cisticola carruthersi and Serinus koliensis. There is suitable habitat for the globally threatened Chloropeta gracilirostris, but the species has yet to be recorded.

Non-bird biodiversity: Local communities hunt the ungulate Tragelaphus spekii (LR/nt).

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 
Red-chested Sunbird Nectarinia erythrocerca resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Northern Brown-throated Weaver Ploceus castanops resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Fox's Weaver Ploceus spekeoides resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Papyrus Canary Serinus koliensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Biological resource use gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Savanna   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Shrubland   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  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Lake Bisina Wetland System Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 54,229 protected area contains site 25,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   71%
Unknown   3%
Shrubland   2%
Savanna   10%
Forest   11%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
other -
Notes: Water for domestic use and food during famine.

References Burgis and Symoens (1987), Mann (1976).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lake Bisina. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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