The Great Rift Valley runs along Uganda’s western border, and contains Lakes Edward, George, and Albert. Main threats to the birds include the effects of high human density and development, and of climate change.Resources:

Nature Uganda is the BirdLife Partner in Uganda:
African Bird Club/Uganda:
Endangered Wildlife Trust, African Crane Conservation Programme:
World Institute for Conservation and Environment Checklist of Birds of Uganda:
British Trust for Ornithology:

Nakibembe musicians, playing akadinda

Music collaborators include 5 musical groups: Siraje, Nakibembe, Niro Beat, Watman, and Sampeke; and Tudungu harpists, Acholi refugees living in Kampala.Siraje (Banyumba musicians from Jinja) takes its name from its leader. The group plays various sized ngomas (drums), nyanele (one-stringed bow), amadinda (xylophone) and tsa tsa (shakers).

The musicians of Nakibembe (named after the members’ tribal group, the Kibembe) come from Iganga, where there is a giant amadinda at least 30 feet long, dug into a carefully measured pit in the ground, so the Earth itself is the xylophone’s resonator. The Kibembe people say that this was the first of all amadinda.

Mugwisa from Uganda

Niro Beat represents many musical traditions from tribal groups throughout Uganda. These musicians play sansi (thumb piano), amadinda, nyele and ngoma.Watman is made up of Acholi musicians (living in Kampala due to civil unrest in the Acholi homelands.) They play a variety of instruments, including ensembles of 8 harps, called kadogo, of different sizes, the giant bass being at least 8 feet long.

Sampeke, comprised of Baganda musicians, is reputedly one of the only groups that still plays the royal Bugandan court music. Their instruments include the nyele as well as kangoro (flutes), and ngoma  – the Baganda people are known for their complex rhythms played at break-neck speeds.

Andy Cooke

Justin Matu, Charles  Busuulwa, Robert Ssimbwa and Isaac Zimbe, as well as Andy Cooke, collaborated in the Flyways concerts with musicians from the Ari, D’Irashe and Basketo communities of southern Ethiopia, and Dokku Lenda from Lante. These concerts were held in Addis Ababa at the National Theatre, the Yared Music School, and the Hager Fikir Theatre in April 2006. Mugwisa Kalifani and Andy Cooke collaborated in concerts with the D’Irashe musicians at Lake Awassa, Ethiopia.

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  • Uganda

    Size: 237,000 km²

    Human population: 33,424,683
    in 40 ethnic groups
    (World Bank, World Development Indicators, 2010)

    Bird species: 1,007
    of which 137 are Palearctic migrants

    Important Bird Areas: 30

    Grey Crowned Crane

    Uganda is comprised of various tribes, each with their own cultures. In the Ankole region to the west, the Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum) is the ruling clan totem. In addition to being a royal emblem, the bird was also considered a a sign of good fortune, especially if it perched on one’s house or flocked in one’s fields. Tales were told to instill fear into youths (potential killers of cranes while farming and grazing domestic animals), that killing a crane, breaking crane eggs or disrupting crane breeding, would draw a curse from clan ancestors, and in punishment the perpetrator would never have children of their own. All this gave the Grey Crowned Crane an elevated conservation status – but over the past 30 years, the effects of modernization have impacted these cultural beliefs. 

    (With special thanks to Jimmy Muheebwa, Nature Uganda, for this information on the Grey Crowned Crane.)