Working for birds in Africa

Important Bird Areas

Fri, 01/11/2013 - 14:04 -- abc_admin

Botswana Makgadikgadi Pans and Baobab Tree

Image Credit: 
Claire Spottiswoode

There are no endemic bird areas nor endemic bird species in Botswana, and the country's only near-endemic is Short-clawed Lark Certhilauda chuana with the major global stronghold in the grasslands of the south-east. Populations of the globally threatened Slaty Egret Egretta vinaceigula and Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus in the north (mainly the Okavango Delta) are of great importance. Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus, Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber and Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor breed in large numbers on the Makgadikgadi Pans when conditions are suitable - such as after the rich rainy season of 1999-2000, when more than 200,000 flamingos concentrated to breed in the shallow saline lake formed on the pans. In addition, species of the Kalahari-Highveld and Zambezian biomes are well-represented.

Botswana has 13 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) covering 130,000 km2. Several of these are enormous, for example the Central Kalahari (Kgalakgadi) and Khutse Game Reserves, the Botswana part of the Kgalakgadi Transfrontier Park and the Makgadikgadi Pans system. The Okavango Delta is also very large as is the Chobe National Park whilst the Linyanti Swamp / Chobe River extends for more than 100 km. Lake Ngami whilst ephemeral is also included because of the huge waterbird populations that occur and breed there in times of flooding. Smaller IBAs include the only two Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres colonies in Botswana in the Tswapong Hills near Palapye and at Mannyelanong Hill south of Gaborone, as well as a reservoir, Bokaa Dam north of Gaborone for Southern Pochard Netta erythrophthalma, and Phakalane Sewage Lagoons near Gaborone for Maccoa Duck Oxyura maccoa . Another reservoir Shashe Dam now qualifies as an IBA for its Southern Pochard populations. The remaining IBA South-east Botswana Grasslands is a mixture of grassland and farmland in south-east Botswana where most of the Short-clawed Larks Certhilauda chuana occur.

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

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