Birds Species in Lutembe Bay

March 21, 2024
News Journeys Uganda

Birds Species in Lutembe Bay: Uganda’s Lutembe Bay is a hidden gem for bird lovers, situated midway between Entebbe and Kampala. Many different kinds of birds can be found at this Ramsar site and Important Bird Area (IBA) in Lake Victoria. Let us introduce to you this popular spot for birdwatching. Situated in the Wakiso District, close to Lutembe Bay, on the shores of Lake Victoria, it is roughly 2 kilometres away from the Kampala-Entebbe Road. The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) is in charge of Lutembe since it is a Ramsar site and an Important Bird Area.

Why is Lutembe Bay a birding spot and with a variety of birdlife

Bird Diversity Millions of Palearctic migrants as well as native species land at Lutembe Bay as a critical migration stopover. These are bird species that migrate from North European countries to Africa as a result of climatic changes, particularly in the winter, in order to seek refuge in the tropics, particularly in Uganda. Huge groups of Grey-headed Gulls and White-winged Terns adorn the bay, rendering it an exceptional location for birdwatching. Beyond the papyrus-filled lakeside, gardens, thickets, and wooded grasslands reach out into Lutembe Bay. There are around 200 different species of birds in this diverse area. The Lake Victoria Biome’s types include: Lutembe is home to eight of the twelve species of the Lake Victoria biome that are known to exist in Uganda.

Bird Diversity:

Lutembe Bay is renowned for its avian population. Notably, it hosts as many as 1.5 million white-winged terns. These terns, along with other water and wetland-associated birds, thrive in the bay’s diverse habitats, including papyrus-filled lake shores, wooded grasslands, thickets, and gardens.

Bird species to see in Lutembe bay Ramsar site:

Nestled along the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda, Lutembe Bay is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Now let us explore some of the amazing bird species that call this paradise of wetlands home:

White-winged Terns (Chlidonias leucopterus): These elegant terns form enormous flocks at Lutembe Bay mostly during the migration period between September and April of every year. Their striking white wings and graceful flight patterns are a sight to behold.

Grey-headed Gulls (Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus): These gulls are another common sight, often mingling with the terns. Their grey plumage and black heads make them easily recognisable.

Hottentot Teal (Spatula hottentota): The Hottentot Teal, a dabbling duck, frequents the bay’s waterways. Look out for their distinctive chestnut-colored heads and striking blue wing patches.

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia): The Caspian Tern, with its large size and vibrant red bill, is a prominent visitor. They dive into the water to catch fish, creating spectacular aerial displays.

Temminck’s Stint (Calidris temminckii): This small wader is known for its short, straight bill and mottled brown plumage. It forages along the muddy shores of Lutembe Bay.

Broad-billed Sandpiper (Calidris falcinellus): The non vocal Broad-billed Sandpiper is a delicate shorebird with a slender bill. Its breeding plumage features intricate patterns.

The Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris): The Great Knot, a long-distance migratory bird, graces Lutembe Bay. Its intricate plumage and sturdy bill aid in probing for food.

Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex): Although rare, the Shoebill occasionally visits Lutembe Bay. Its massive bill resembles a shoe, and it’s a true bird-watching gem.

African Skimmer (Rynchops flavirostris): The African Skimmer glides gracefully over the water, skimming its bill along the surface. Its striking black-and-white appearance is captivating.

Not only is Lutembe Bay a birdwatcher’s dream, but it also serves as an essential home for several migratory and native species. Let us honour the abundant variety of birds that call this Ramsar-listed wetland home!

Other common and uncommon birds in Lutembe Bay:

Birds to see at Lutembe Bay Ramsar site

Great, Yellow-billed Cattle and Little Egrets

Senegal Lapwing

Common and wide spread Spur-winged Lapwing

African Open-billed Stork

African-wattled lapwing

Grey-caped Warbler

African (Grassland) and the migrating Tree Pipit

Black Crake

Fantailed Widowbird


Common Moorhen

Sedge, Lesser Swamp, Greater Swamp and Reed Warblers

Blue-headed Coucal

White browed Coucal

Papyrus Gonolek

Plain-backed Pipit

Red-eyed, Laughing and Blue-spotted Wood-Dove

Village, Orange, Golden-Backed, Slender-Billed, Black-Headed and Grosbeak Weavers

Black-Winged Stilt

Flapped and Rufous-napped Larks

White-Browed and Brown-backed Scrubrobin

Black and White and Bronze Manikin

Barn Swallow

Red-chested Sunbird

White-browed Robin-chat

Snowy-crowned (headed) Robin-chat

White-throated, Olive and Blue-cheecked Bee-eater

Yellow-throated Greenbul

Black-headed Gonolek

Yellow-Throated Long Claw

Red-headed Lovebird

Meyer’s Parrot

Diederik and Klaas’s

Brown Twinspot

Red-Rumped Swallow

Barn and Angola Swallow

Red-billed Firefinch

Red-cheecked Cordon-bleu

African Paradise Flycatcher

Yellow-Rumped and Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, among others.

Best season to go birding in Lutembe bay

When it comes to Palearctic birds, such as the Madagascar Squacco Heron, White-winged Terns, Slender-billed Gulls, Caspian Tern and others, September through March is the greatest season to go birding but other mertioned bird species above are around all year.

Challenges and threats to the bird population at Lutembe Bay:

Definitely! The bird population at Lutembe Bay faces several threats that impact their habitat and well-being:

Habitat Degradation:

Urbanisation and agricultural expansion around the bay lead to habitat loss.

Wetland drainage for development purposes reduces the available nesting and feeding areas for birds.


Water pollution from agricultural runoff, industrial waste, and sewage affects the quality of the bay’s water.

Chemical pollutants can harm bird health and disrupt their food sources from from the Rosebird green houses.

Invasive Species:

Invasive plant species, such as water hyacinth, can outcompete native vegetation and alter the wetland ecosystem.

These invasive species may not provide suitable habitats for birds.

Human Disturbance:

Recreational activities like fishing and boating can disturb nesting birds.

Noise and disturbance may cause birds to abandon nests or reduce breeding success.

Climate Change:

Rising temperatures, altered rainfall patterns, and extreme weather events impact bird migration and breeding.

Changes in water levels affect food availability and nesting sites.

Illegal Activities:

Illegal hunting, egg collection, and trade in bird species threaten their survival.

Enforcement of conservation laws is crucial to preventing such activities.

Community involvement, public awareness campaigns, and conservation projects are all part of the efforts to save Lutembe Bay. We can protect this important habitat for both native and migratory bird species by addressing these challenges. Lutembe Bay is waiting for your curiosity and camera. In this exciting lakeside setting, marvel at the vivid feathers and complex behaviour of these feathered wonders.