Nyamuriro swamp

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
This IBA lies within the Ruhuhuma swamp in Kageyo valley, in which a river from Lake Bunyonyi flows. It is an extensive natural swamp dominated by papyrus Cyperus papyrus and, in parts, herbaceous plants. The drainage from this swamp connects to Lakes Mutanda and Murehe in Kisoro District. The swamp is a remnant of the extensive papyrus swamp system that once covered the whole of the Ruhuhuma valley, but which was extensively drained in the 1970s for vegetable growing and dairy farming. The local Kagunga Cooperative Society has been growing crops in this swamp for over 40 years. This society had tried draining the whole swamp, but failed in some places because of deep flooding during the rainy seasons. The people who belong to this society still attempt to drain the swamp, as seen from the channels.The hill to the south of the swamp belongs to a mining company, Boodle Mining Co. Ltd., that practised open-cast mining of wolfram until the late 1970s when large-scale mining was halted. Small-scale and localized mining continues by a few members of the local community. The mining company constructed a road across the swamp, but it was swept away by heavy rains and now people cross the swamp with small canoes.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. This swamp is probably the best site in Uganda for a number of papyrus specialists, and may be one of the best in Africa for the conservation of Chloropeta gracilirostris (which is found only in undisturbed papyrus swamps). Other papyrus-dwellers include Acrocephalus rufescens, Cisticola carruthersi, Bradypterus carpalis and Serinus koliensis.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals of global conservation concern include Tragelaphus spekii (LR/nt) and Aonyx congica (DD).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Drainage at both ends of the swamp is seriously threatening the habitat. There are no measures in place or planned to protect the swamp except by-laws through the local communities. Because of the terrain, steep-sided hills and V-shaped valleys, the swamps are the only place local people can harvest materials for building and benefit from water-supply for domestic use and animals. Without protection, the swamp could be completely destroyed since it is located in a densely populated area. The lack of awareness of wetland legislation among the people, whether deliberate or otherwise, is a significant issue.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Nyamuriro swamp. Downloaded from on 23/09/2019.