Kagera swamps

Country/territory: Tanzania

IBA Criteria met: A1, A3 (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 111,600 ha

Protection status:

Site description
The Kagera river forms the border between Tanzania and Rwanda. As it flows north between the two countries, it passes through a series of lakes and swamps for some 100 km. These are surrounded by a series of low rolling hills which, in Tanzania, are extensively cultivated, but within Rwanda are within the Akagera National Park (IBA RW003). The swamps and lakes are characterized by extensive stands of papyrus Cyperus papyrus. The Ibanda Arena Game Reserve (20,000 ha), in the extreme north-west of Tanzania, is included in the IBA, the boundaries of which remain provisional, but nothing is known of its avifauna.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Little is known of the avifauna of the site. Chloropeta gracilirostris has been recorded from papyrus swamps along the Ruvubu river, which flows north into the Kagera river. There are no records from within the IBA site, but it is likely to occur. During the 1990s, up to 50 Balaeniceps rex were estimated to remain in the area although there has been only one record from the Tanzanian part of the swamps. Gallinago media has been recorded once from flooded grassland along the north-western shore of Lake Rushwa and it is likely that similar habitats in the IBA are seasonally important for this passage migrant. Laniarius mufumbiri has been recorded throughout the course of the Kagera river and along the Ruvubu river to the south. Observations and ringing in 1987 and 1993 suggest it is not uncommon. It is unclear if Lybius rubrifacies, the distribution of which defines the ‘Dry woodlands west of Lake Victoria’ Secondary Area (s057), occurs at the site. There is little suitable habitat along the lake shore, but it is likely to occur in the hills overlooking the swamps. While only four species of the Lake Victoria Basin biome are known to occur at the site, it is possible that up to a further five may be present.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kagera swamps. Downloaded from on 03/08/2020.