The Kibimba Rice Scheme is located either side of the main Jinja to Tororo highway near the town of Bugiri in eastern Uganda. It was established in 1973 as a government venture to increase food production. The intensive irrigated rice cultivation was formed when a dam was put in place on the Kibimba River. It is located about 7 Km from Lake Victoria and about 4 Km from Lake Kimira, which drains into Lake Kyoga. It is within the Lake-Victoria climatic zone which is characterized by relatively high rainfall and small variation in temperature, humidity and wind throughout the year. These rice fields have irrigation channels which allow water to flood certain fields in the production process and it is these flooded fields which are favourable to resident and migrant birds.
The rice paddies have been expanding in size over time and now consume an area 3900ha of field and 450ha of Dam. Two different habitat types are found here, the natural wetlands and the modified wetlands (rice paddies). Kibimba dam was formed when the River Kibimba was blocked; this has formed an area of open water which is dominated by steep sided grassy hills, papyrus cloaks its edge and floating mats of Water Lilies Nymphea caerulea and Water Hyacinths Eichhornia crassiper, covers most of the water.
The rice farm lies to the north of the reservoir and stretches for 4Km with its widest point reaching a width of 2Km. It is essentially a series of small fields with soil banks which are irrigated and planted. Ploughing, seeding and flooding are carried out bi-annually in September-October and March-April. The flooded plots especially are liked by waders, Ducks and Storks. Harvesting is usually carried out three months after planting when the fields are drier and lower numbers of birds are present. It is at an average altitude of 1176 M above sea level and it receives an annual rainfall of between 900mm- 1400mm which is spread between two rainy seasons, late February-June and August-November, with a peak in April.
Waterbird counts have been conducted on regular basis in Kibimba Rice Scheme since 1991 and since that time and large numbers of birds have been recoded. During the winter counts large numbers of Palearctic wading birds are present including many Wood Tringa glareola and Marsh Sandpipers, Little Stint, Ruff and Black-winged Stilt, while large numbers of Storks, Ibis and Egret’s are present, with numbers of Intermediate Egret being particularly noteworthy. Grey-Crowned Crane numbers fluctuate but usually up to 30 are present. The July count has lower numbers of birds present but usually contains good numbers of Ducks and Geese, while resident species such as African Jacana are more visible.
Apart from bird species in the area, Kibimba Rice Scheme is home to many species of amphibians and fish especially in the swamps and the dam. Several species of butterfly can also be found here although more research is needed to establish the diversity