Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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31o 22.00' East 8o 55.00' South
A1, A3, A4i
Year of IBA assessment
Zambian Ornithological Society (Partner Designate)
Site description The site comprises two large pans separated by a narrow strip of land. The more westerly lies adjacent to the main Kasama-Mbala road, about 10km south of Mbala. They represent an unusual plateu habitat and hold a wide variety of aquatic vegetation.The water levels fluctuate greatly and when high, the pans support a large rafts of water lilies and patches of swamp dominated by reed mace and variuos sedges. In drier periods the pan bases revert to grassland and occasionally one pan will dry out completely, but it is rare for both to do so. Fringing the pans are areas of scrub and degraded miombo, some farmland and a few patches of evergreen thicket. The area was once a part of the now abandoned Mbala state ranch.
Key Biodiversity For some time Uningi has been the most important site in Zammbia for Great Crested Grebes. Although also known from nearby Lake Chila and a small area in Westerrn Province, Uningi has provided the majority of recent records. However, since the mid 1990s and several consecutive dry years there have been no records. The pans have been visited frequently and explored thoroughly and its unlikely that birds have been overlooked. Furthermore there have been no recent records from other Zambian localities so there is much concern over the specie's status in Zambia. whether or not the species is able to re-establish itself in the futureremains to be seen, but the East African population is now considered to be 'critically endagered'. Other birds typical of the deep water pools include White-backed Duck, African Pygmy Goose, African and Lesser Jacanas. Many other water birds occur and characteristic birds include Rufous -bellied Heron, Great White Egret, Purple Heron, Saddle-billed Stork (see cheklist).