Mabamba Marsh land is an Important Bird Area for the Shoe bill and other bird species .It is a popular destination for birding. Birding is done by boat with the guidance of the community site guides. Boats are organized usually allocated in groups of 5-7 individuals.
Mabamba swamp is a Ramsar site, and a community project, with local people employed as guides. It has various water channels through it,that host a number of water birds that include African Jacana, Lesser Jacana, Long toed lapwing,Yellow billed duck’ Blue-breasted Bee eater, Malachite Kingfisher,Purple Heron, Black Crake, Pied Kingfisher, Winding Cisticola, Fan tailed widow bird, Hammerkop and Angola swallows. Others species may include Swamp flycatcher, African purple swamp hen, African water rail,Blue Breasted Bee-eater, Winding cisticola, Goliath Heron(rarely seen) and many others.
There are about 250 shoebill Storks (Nature Uganda) left in Uganda today.
The Shoe bill is a solitary specie bird. It can stay perched on the marshland for long hours .This motion less positioning and its binoculars vision is sometimes to its advantage to ambush its next prey usually fish. Breeding time coincides with the start of the dry season so that their nests are not washed away by floods.
Shoebill feeds on lung fish but can also take on monitor lizards, baby crocodiles, water snakes with its sharp-edged mandibles.
Travel to Mabamba
It takes about 1 hour to drive mainly on dirt roads from Entebbe to the home of the Shoe bill – Mabamba Swamp, and it’s about 50km (1 ½ hrs) west of Kampala. Mabamba Swamp is an extensive marsh stretching through a long narrow bay, fringed with papyrus towards the western main body of Lake Victoria in Mpigi District. You will then access the swamp in local fishing boat / Canoe with a local guide.
The Shoebill bird can also be found at the Delta in Murchison Falls National park, Uganda Education Wildlife Centre and Lake Mburo National Park.