Right at the western side of Lake Victoria, northwest of Entebbe is the spectacular Mabamba wetland.
This is a wide marshland that stretches through a long narrow bay, and it’s considered to be one of the best or even the number 1 birding destination in Uganda for encountering the rare Shoebill stork and many other bird species.
The wetland is a one hour’s drive from Entebbe International Airport and 54km from Kampala. This swamp is explored through local canoes with a local guide who takes you around the beautiful birding encounter.
Some of the birds sighted on Mabamba wetland are African purple swamp hen, Swamp flycatcher, African jacana, African water rail, Papyrus Gonolek, Pallid Harrier, White-winged Warbler and the Blue Swallow Common moorhen, lesser jacana, African pygmy Goose, White-faced whistling duck, Squaco heron, Blue Breasted Bee-eater, Winding cisticola, Goliath Heron, the Papyrus Gonolek, House Sparrow which is Vagrant, Mosque Swallow (monteiri race), Weyn’s Weaver, White-shouldered Tit, Sand Martin, Brown Snake-Eagle, Eurasian Hobby, Grosbeak Weaver, Blue-headed Coucal, Fork-tailed Drongo, Feral Pigeon, Flappet Lark, Long-Crested Eagle, Stripped Kingfisher, Common Stonechat, Common Greenshank, Whinchat, Grey Wagtail, Great Blue Turaco, Grassland Pipit, Orange Weaver, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Black-headed weaver, Slender-billed Weaver, Yellow-backed Weaver, Black Headed Gonolek, Ruppell’s Long-tailed Sterling, Grey-Headed Sparrow, Spur-winged Lapwing, Yellow Wagtail, African Pied Wagtail, Pied King Fisher, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Yellow Billed Stork, Olivaceous Warbler, Tawny Eagle, Carruther’s Cisticola, Ross’s Turaco, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Ashy Flycatcher, Rufous-napped Lark, Yellow-throated Greenbul, Common Squacco Heron, White-faced Whistling-duck, Fulvous Whistling-duck, Goliath Heron, Slender-billed Gull, Spur-winged Goose, Long-toed Lapwing, African Marsh Harrier, White-browed Coucal, Violet-backed Sterling among others.
Due to the presence of diverse vegetation on the wetland, Mabamba has maintained its status as a prime destination that inhabits more than 100 bird species every year.
It is recorded that Uganda has over 1000 individual shoebill storks left.
The Shoebill Stork is a predominantly solitary species, in which adults come together only to breed. After laying the eggs, the female shoebill and the male share incubation duties for a month before the young ones start to hatch.
Baby shoebills are fed for several months before they can start searching for their food. The chicks start flying after their first 3 months, while it takes three to four years for the chicks to become sexually mature and it can live up to 36 years.
The Shoebill’s diet consists of all kinds of fish, Water Snakes, Lizards, Frogs, young Crocodiles, young water birds, Snails, Rodents and also muddy waters.
They often stand standstill in water, waiting for prey to pass by and with its lightweight, it can stand on floating vegetation.
Like many papyrus swamps adjacent to Lake Victoria, Mabamba is home to the Sitatunga, a swamp antelope which is commonly hunted by local people.
It is also a habitat to rare plant species like Sandboxes species
Mabamba is one of the few places in Africa where one can spot more than 225 bird species in one day. If you are a birder or you just love the adventure, I would recommend exploring the Mabamba wetland.
The Shoebill stork a bird found in this swamp is a rare and critically endangered bird, whose population is documented to be less than 5000 in the world. With long, spindly blue-gray legs that match its blue-grey feathers, the Shoebill stands almost 50 inches above the swampland.
It will be amazing to experience the breath-taking singing from the Mabamba birds with you. Get in touch with Friendly Gorillas Safaris to book your tour to Mabamba or Click here for more information.