When Lutembe Bay wetland is mentioned, what comes in the minds of any regular tourist to Uganda is bird watching because this site is a real Paradise when it comes to bird species.
Extending for only 3.1 square miles (8 square kilometers/800 hectares), this Important Bird Area and Ramsar wetland of International Importance (since 2006) is found on the Northern shores of Lake Victoria, the Africa’s largest Lake by area and World’s largest Tropical Lake.
If you ever visit Uganda and wish to participate in birding, the Lutembe Bay wetland (one of the 33 Important Birding Areas in Uganda) should not miss on your Itinerary because as rare as it seems, it is popular for offering shelter to over 200 species of birds including 26 migrants, making it the main migration stop for many Palearctic migrants from North Africa, Russia, Scandinavia as well as the main land of Europe and these birds include more than 1.5 million (52%) white-winged terns encountered during birding tours in Uganda, gull-billed terns, black-headed gulls, Holub’s golden weaver as well as several Grey-headed Gulls. Majority of the Migratory species of birds normally begin arriving within the Lutembe Bay wetland in the rainy season especially September to November and leave in the middle of February of early March.
Other bird species of interest found within the area include the African green Pigeon, Great knot, Sooty Chat, Hottentot Teal, Brown-backed scrub robins, Tropical Boubou, Broad-billed Sandpiper, African pygmy kingfishers, Whiskered Terns, the Caspian Tern, road-billed rollers, Lead-colored flycatcher and Temminck’s Stint among others. Additionally, there are also about 7 globally threatened species of birds like the Pallid Harrier (Circus macrouros), African skimmer (Rhynchops flavirostris), Papyrus Yellow warbler (Chloropeta gracilirostris), the Madagascar Squacco Heron (Ardeola idea), the Shoebill stork (Balaeniceps rex), Papyrus Gonolek (Laniarius mufumbiri) and the Great Snipe.
This wetland is part of the extensive Murchison bay that is known for abundant counts of flora and fauna species but this area offers materials for building as well as craft products to the local community members, fresh drinking water, fish, energy products and medicine among others. It is also a wonderful breeding ground for several fish species and several species can be found in the wetland. For instance, the endangered Cichlid fish, Clarius fish and Lung Fish are found within this wetland area.
This site is also a haven to a wide range of butterfly species (over 100 species have been recorded) including three extraordinary species that are not found in any other Important Bird Area of Uganda and they include Cacyreus virilis, Acraea Pharsalus and Belenois solilucis thus making it an ideal butterfly watching destination in Uganda.
Lutembe Bay wetland is also a haven to the rare Sitatunga antelopes, Otters (especially the African-Clawless otter and African spot-necked otters), Rodents and Shrews. Therefore, bird watching, nature walks and butterfly watching are some of the important tourist activities that can be enjoyed within this endowed tourist destination. This site is close to Kampala City and Entebbe International Airport hence making it easier accessible by tourists on Uganda tours.
Besides being a home to the wildlife, birds and butterflies, Lutembe Bay wetland naturally plays a role of filtering water that goes through it. Normally, it filters things like sediments, silt and excess nutrients in the running water as well as the dirty wastewater that comes from the nearby factories in addition to the sewage from all over Kampala.
List Important Bird Areas in Uganda
1) Echuya Forest Reserve
2) Mgahinga Gorilla national park
3) Bwindi Impenetrable national park
4) Nyamuriro Swamp
5) Queen Elizabeth National Park
6) Rwenzori Mountains National Park
7) Semliki Reserves
8) Lake Mburo National Park
9) Semliki National park
10) Kibale National Park
11) Kyambura wildlife reserve
12) Sango Bay Area
13) Mabira Forest
14) Bugoma Forest Reserve
15) Nabajjuzi wetland
16) Kidepo valley National Park
17) Kasyoha – Kitomi Forest reserve
18) Mount Moroto forest reserve
19) Lake Bisina
20) Mount Elgon National Park
21) Lake Opeta
22) Lake Nakuwa
23) Mount Otzi Forest Reserve
24) Doho Rice scheme
25) Mount Kei Forest reserve
26) Murchison Falls National Park
27) Lutembe Bay
28) Ajai wildlife reserve
29) Budongo Forest Reserve
30) Musambwa Island
31) Mabamba Bay
32) Lutoboka Paint
33) Nabugabo Wetland