Working for birds in Africa

Important Bird Areas

Fri, 01/25/2013 - 15:20 -- abc_admin

Male and female Blue Koorhan Eupodotis caerulescens

Wakkerstroom, South Africa

Image Credit: 
John Caddick, November 2012

Most of the endemic and characteristic species of South Africa are, not surprisingly, confined to the country’s unique biomes: grassland, fynbos and Karoo. Five Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs) occur wholly or partly in South Africa, a number equalled in Africa only by Madagascar, and which support 25 restricted-range species. The EBAs by name are as follows: Cape fynbos; South African forests; Lesotho highlands; Southern African grasslands; South-East African coast; and Karoo secondary area.

South Africa overlaps with six major African biomes: Afrotropical Highlands with 23 of its 228 restricted range species; East African coast with 12 of 38 species; Zambezian with nine of 67 species; Kalahari-Highveld with six of 13 species; Namib-Karoo with 19 of 23 species and finally, Fynbos biome with all nine of its restricted range species occurring in South Africa.

In addition to its remarkable diversity of terrestrial habitat and species, South Africa has a varied coastline with 17 offshore rocky islands extending from Bird Island in Lambert’s Bay to the Algoa Bay Islands which provide platforms for breeding seabird colonies. The majority of the global populations of six seabird species breed on offshore islands: African Penguin Spheniscus demersus; Cape Gannet Sula capensis; Cape Cormorant Phalacrocorax capensis; Bank Cormorant P. neglectus; Crowned Cormorant P. coronatus; Hartlaub’s Gull Larus hartlaubii.

In addition, the South African owned subantarctic Prince Edward Islands support some 2.5 million breeding seabirds and could support up to 8 million birds in total including important concentrations of several penguin, albatross and petrel species.

There are a remarkable 101 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in South Africa covering approximately 101,154 km2 designated by BirdLife International. The IBAs and their administrative regions are as follows:

Kruger National Park and adjacent areas Northern, Mpumalanga
Soutpansberg Northern
Blouberg vulture colonies Northern
Wolkberg forest belt Northern
Pietersburg Nature Reserve Northern
Waterberg system Northern
Nyl river flood-plain Northern
Blyde river canyon Mpumalanga, Northern
Graskop grasslands Mpumalanga
Mac-Mac escarpment and forests Mpumalanga
Blue Swallow Natural Heritage Site Mpumalanga
Steenkampsberg Mpumalanga
Songimvelo Game Reserve Mpumalanga
Amersfoort­ Bethal ­Carolina District Mpumalanga
Chrissie Pans Mpumalanga
Grassland Biosphere Reserve (proposed) Mpumalanga, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal
Pilanesberg National Park North-West
Magaliesberg and Witwatersberg North-West, Gauteng
Barberspan and Leeupan North-West
Kalahari-Gemsbok National Park Northern Cape
Spitskop Dam Northern Cape, North-West
Augrabies Falls National Park Northern Cape
Orange river mouth wetlands Northern Cape
Kamfers Dam Northern Cape
Mattheus-Gat Conservation Area (proposed) Northern Cape
Haramoep and Black Mountain Mine NR Northern Cape
Bitterputs Conservation Area (proposed) Northern Cape
Platberg-Karoo Conservancy Northern Cape
Sandveld and Bloemhof Dam NR Free State, North-West
Sterkfontein / Merinodal Free State
Voordeel Conservancy Free State
Alexpan Free State
Bedford/Chatsworth Free State
Murphy's Rust Free State
Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve Free State, KwaZulu-Natal
Golden Gate Highlands and Qwaqwa NP Free State
Fouriesburg ­Bethlehem­ Clarens Free State
Ndumo Game Reserve KwaZulu-Natal
Kosi Bay system KwaZulu-Natal
Lake Sibaya KwaZulu-Natal
Pongolapoort Nature Reserve KwaZulu-Natal
Itala Game Reserve KwaZulu-Natal
Mkuzi Game Reserve KwaZulu-Natal
Lake St Lucia and Mkuze swamps KwaZulu-Natal
Chelmsford Nature Reserve KwaZulu-Natal
Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park KwaZulu-Natal
Umlalazi Nature Reserve KwaZulu-Natal
Natal Drakensberg Park KwaZulu-Natal
Ngoye Forest Reserve KwaZulu-Natal
Entumeni Nature Reserve KwaZulu-Natal
Dhlinza Forest Nature Reserve KwaZulu-Natal
Umvoti vlei KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal mistbelt forests KwaZulu-Natal
Hlatikulu Nature Reserve KwaZulu-Natal
Karkloof Nature Reserve KwaZulu-Natal
Umgeni Vlei Nature Reserve KwaZulu-Natal
Impendle Nature Reserve KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal mistbelt grasslands KwaZulu-Natal
Richards Bay Game Reserve KwaZulu-Natal
Greater Ingwangwana river KwaZulu-Natal
Franklin vlei KwaZulu-Natal
Matatiele Commonage KwaZulu-Natal
Penny Park KwaZulu-Natal
Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve KwaZulu-Natal
Umtamvuna Nature Reserve KwaZulu-Natal
Mkambati Nature Reserve Eastern Cape
Collywobbles vulture colony Eastern Cape
Dwesa and Cwebe Nature Reserves Eastern Cape
Karoo Nature Reserve Eastern Cape
Katberg ­Readsdale forest complex Eastern Cape
Amatole forest complex Eastern Cape
Kouga ­Baviaanskloof complex Eastern Cape, Western Cape
Alexandria coastal belt Eastern Cape
Algoa Bay Island Nature Reserve Eastern Cape
Swartkops estuary, Redhouse, Chatty saltpans Eastern Cape
Maitland­ Gamtoos coast Eastern Cape
Tsitsikamma National Park Eastern Cape, Western Cape
Olifants river estuary Western Cape
Bird Island Western Cape
Cedarberg­ Koue Bokkeveld complex Western Cape
Karoo National Park Western Cape
Verlorenvlei Western Cape
Lower Berg river wetlands Western Cape
West Coast NP and Saldanha Bay islands Western Cape
Swartberg mountains Western Cape
Eastern False Bay mountains Western Cape
Anysberg Nature Reserve Western Cape
Dassen Island Western Cape
Robben Island National Historical Monument Western Cape
Rietvlei Wetland Reserve Western Cape
Outeniqua mountains Western Cape
Southern Langeberg mountains Western Cape
Wilderness­ Sedgefield Lakes complex Western Cape
Overberg wheatbelt Western Cape
False Bay Park (proposed) Western Cape
Boulders Bay Western Cape
Botriviervlei and Kleinmond estuary Western Cape
De Hoop Nature Reserve Western Cape
Dyer Island Nature Reserve Western Cape
Heuningnes river and estuary system Western Cape
Prince Edward Islands Special NR Subantarctic Islands

NR=Nature Reserve, NP=National Park

For further details, download the country IBAs from BirdLife International.

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