Saving the major non-breeding populations of blue swallows and their habitats in Uganda

Achilles Byaruhanga

The blue swallow (Hirundo atrocaerula) is a globally vulnerable species whose habitat is disappearing rapidly in both breeding and non-breeding areas. Uganda is one of the major sites for the non-breeding population of this species containing probably over 60% of the non-breeding population especially the northern shoreline of Lake Victoria. The BP Conservation Programme funded a survey to assess the distribution and conservation status of the blue swallow in Uganda in 2001 and through this survey three important sites for the blue swallow were identified (Nabugabo, Sango Bay and Mabamba Bay). All these sites are Important Bird Areas (IBAs) but none are protected. However the actual habitat requirements for the species in the non-breeding range are not known yet critical for formulating sustainable conservation actions, an aspect that was one of the strong recommendations of the first survey. The project seeks to establish habitat requirements and together with all stakeholders develop a long-term conservation strategy for the blue swallow in Uganda. The success in the conservation of the blue swallow sites and habitats in Uganda will contribute greatly to the conservation of the overall population of the species.

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