Lutembe Bay

Lutembe Bay is a wetland located on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda. Lutembe bay is one of Uganda’s 33 important birding areas and is a listed Ramsar wetland of international importance since 2006. Situated at the mouth of Lake Victoria’s Murchison Bay, this shallow area is almost completely cut-off from the main body of Lake Victoria by a C. papyrus island.

The site supports globally threatened species of birds, endangered Cichlid fish, and over 100 butterfly species, including three rare ones. It is a breeding ground for Clarias and lungfish, and regularly supports more than 70% of the White-winged Black Terns (Chlidonias leucopterus) population.

The bay regularly supports 20 000 – 50 000 roosting and feeding water birds and seven globally threatened species occur: Papyrus Yellow Warbler (Chloropeta gracilirostris), Papyrus Gonolek (Laniarius mufumbiri), and Shoebill (Balaenicepsrex), African Skimmer (Rhynchops flavirostris), Pallid Harrier (Circus macrouros), Great Snipe (Gallinago media) and Madagascar Squacco Heron (Ardeola idea). There are 24 species of regional concern. As well as supporting a large diversity of African species it is an important non-breeding area for huge congregations of Pale arctic migrants and there are often large numbers of Grey-headed Gulls (Larus cirrocepharus), Black-headed Gulls (Larus ridibundus) and Gull-billed Terns (Sterna nilotica).

The Eco system at the bay plays an important hydrological role, with the swamps surrounding the Murchison Bay acting as natural filters for silt, sediments and excess nutrients in surface run-off, wastewaters from industries, and sewage from Kampala City.

Recently, Lutembe Bay is being reclaimed and demarcated for horticultural activities and the surrounding highly populated areas have been strongly affected by commercial and industrial development, urban wastewater, and conversion to agricultural land.

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