Mabamba Birding Uganda

Uganda birding sites: Mabamba Wetland

Mabamba is one of the most important birding areas in Uganda and is listed as a Ramsar wetland of international importance. It is located on the edge of Lake Victoria. It is the closest place to Kampala where you can find the shoe bill stork and several other interesting birds. It is an unprotected with globally threatened and Lake Victoria Basin Biome species bird categories. It has over 300 bird species and has an impressive one day record of 157 species. In recent years it has grown into the most interesting birding site in Uganda.

The Mabamba bay is mostly an extensive stretch of marsh along the narrow bay. It is fringed with papyrus along the edges as it extends towards the main part of Lake Victoria. It is considered an Important Birding Area and is a very popular birding spot.

Mabamba bay covers an area of about 16,500 hectares and is situated at an altitude of 1130m above sea level. The area receives quite a lot of rainfall, very similar to the other areas on the northern shores of Lake Victoria.


Birding opportunities
Mabamba is a favorite spot for many birders in Uganda. It is one of the best places to see the elusive and much sought after shoebill stork, the only place in Uganda that is better than Mabamba wetland when it comes to shoebill sightings is Murchison falls national park. Another notable bird in this wetland is the migrant blue swallow. There are over 100 blue swallows recorded each year.

Some of the other birds found in Mabamba include: Gull-billed Terns, White-winged Black Terns and Whiskered Terns, and residents such as Grey-headed Gulls, Goliath Herons, Spur-winged and Pygmy Geese, Malachite kingfisher, Papyrus Canary, Northern Brown-throated weaver, Carruther’s Cisticola, Western Banded Snake Eagle, fork-tailed dongo, common green shank, eurasian hobby Papyrus Gonolek,White Winged Warbler, White Shouldered Tit, Red Cap, ashy flycatcher, yellow throtaed green-bul, flappet lark, sand martin, white-browed coucal, common sqaucco heron, slender-billed gull, spur winged goose, long-toed lapwing, tawny eagle, ross’ turaco, African pied wagtail, fulvous whistling duck, African marsh harrier, the violet backed sterling, White Spotted Fluftail and Weyns Weaver, Allen’s and Purple Gallinule, Grey herons, Jacanas, Ruffaus Bellied Heron, Squaco, Purple Heron, the endangered Pallid Harrier , various egrets and ducks as well. Five Lake Victoria biomes and several immigrant bird species have also been recorded in the area.

The Papyrus Gonolek, the Pallied harrier, White winged warbler and the Blue swallow are four endangered bird species found in the area.

The most popular of all the birds found here is of course the shoebill. It is the most sought after bird in the wetland. They are usually seen in pairs or threes in the marshes especially at Nakowogo which is about 2km from the bay.

If you love nature in all its various forms, you will enjoy Mabamba bay. For flora and fauna, it is covered by miscanthus and cyperus species, and some small patches of nypea caerulea. Also, because it is a wetland on the shores of Lake Victoria, there is fish, mostly lung fish and tilapia. The Mabamba bay supports a lucrative fishing industry and so provides a source of income for locals in the area, and also fish for home consumption.

You can also see some animals such as the Sitatunga and the bush pig in Mabamba.

Birding in Mabamba is simply an amazing experience, there are several birding spots and bird species to look out for. It is truly the perfect birding spot for a short birding safari, since it has a lot to offer by way of bird species and is located close to Kampala- the capital and Entebbe where the airport is found.

Whether you want a 2 day birding trip or a 25 day birding trip, be sure to Mabamba wetland to your itinerary.

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