Kyambura Wildlife Reserve

Country/territory: Uganda

IBA Criteria met: A1, A3, A4i, A4iii (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 15,400 ha

Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2012 low favourable medium
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The reserve (KWR) lies immediately south of Lake George (a Ramsar Site), and east of Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP: IBA UG007) where the Kazinga Channel leaves the lake, flowing towards Lake Edward. Although KWR has similar ecosystems to QENP, the natural barriers formed by the Kyambura Gorge and Kazinga Channel make it possible to manage the area as a separate entity. KWR serves as a buffer zone for the north-eastern part of QENP.There is no land connection between the reserve and the park, animals simply fording the Kyambura river where it is shallowest during the dry seasons to move between the protected areas. The river gorge supports a high-canopy tropical forest which grades to a swamp-forest and papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) swamp near the river mouth. The eastern border follows Buhindagi river from Lake George, south-east to Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve (a moist semi-deciduous forest not presently included within the IBA) where the boundaries of the Forest and Wildlife Reserves abut. A road from the main Mbarara–Kasese highway runs up to Kashaka fish-landing site, bisecting the reserve.There are seven volcanic crater-lakes, both fresh and saline, in the reserve, the most significant of which are the saline Lakes Nshenyi, Bagusa and Maseche; Lakes Chibwera, Kinera, Kararo and Kyamwiga have fresh water.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. The fauna and flora are similar to that of Queen Elizabeth National Park (IBA UG007). Both IBAs have volcanic craters with saline lakes, which are important sites for waterbirds. A total of 332 bird species has been recorded in Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, including seven species of global conservation concern. Lake George, the Kazinga Channel and the seven crater-lakes within the reserve offer a large and varied habitat to many birds, including about 110 wetland species. Lakes Maseche, Nshenyi and Bagusa are within a few kilometres of each other, and the populations of Phoenicopterus minor in these craters can be considered as one. Since 1994, the number recorded on the three saline lakes together has exceeded 20,000 on several occasions, and reached 30,000 in February and August 1999. Although the population of Phoenicopterus minor in Uganda is only 2% of the total population in East Africa, these sites are of considerable conservation importance, since they represent alternative potential breeding sites if the traditional breeding sites are not available. Laniarius mufumbiri and Chloropeta gracilirostris were recorded in papyrus swamps along the shores of Lake George in November 2000. There is a roosting site for Pelecanus onocrotalus at Kashaka fishing village, with a single count of 900 birds in 1994. There are isolated records of Gallinago media and Hirundo atrocaerulea, and a 1994 record of Torgos tracheliotus by the Frontier-Uganda team.

Non-bird biodiversity: Threatened mammals include Loxodonta africana (EN), Panthera leo (VU) and Pan troglodytes (EN).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kyambura Wildlife Reserve. Downloaded from on 27/01/2023.