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Location Angola, Cuanza Sul
Central coordinates 14o 22.00' East  10o 51.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 5,000 ha
Altitude 1,000 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001





Site description The site lies on the escarpment zone where an area of about 200,000 ha of impoverished semi-deciduous moist forest (an outlier of Guinea–Congo forest) has the richest array of local endemics bird species in Angola. The rainfall is markedly seasonal, with November–December and February–April the months in which most rain falls. Tree genera in the forest include Ficus, Newtonia, Albizia, Celtis, Ceiba and Pterocarpus. Oil palms Elaeis are common, and epiphytes are abundant on the trees. Although the undergrowth of the forest has been cleared and the forest floor extensively planted with coffee, current coffee production is low, and much of the forested area is relatively undisturbed by human activity. However, valley bottoms in the area are now being cleared by subsistence farmers (Hawkins 1993) and this is a matter for some concern.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The site is important for six species of global conservation concern—all have a restricted range, all but one are endemic to Angola, and most are uncommon at the site. Prionops gabela is found only at Gabela and along the road to Muxima, while Sheppardia gabela is virtually confined to the Gabela area. The Angolan endemic Platysteira albifrons has been collected at Quirimbo, just north of Gabela, and is likely to occur in thickets and woodland at lower elevations in the general area. The globally threatened Macrosphenus pulitzeri is highly likely to occur in secondary forest in the south of the region. The site is also important for species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome and Afrotropical Highlands biome. The forests at Gabela are the only known locality in Angola for Alethe poliocephala, Dyaphorophyia blisseti, Parus funereus, Ploceus insignis and Cryptospiza reichenovii, and are one of the few sites in Angola where Stephanoaetus coronatus is known to occur. Other poorly known species that occur in the forest include Cercotrichas leucosticta and Hylia prasina. Numerous species reach the southern limit of their Angolan distributions at Gabela, including Campethera nivosa, C. caroli, Phyllastrephus albigularis, Neocossyphus fraseri, Muscicapa cassini, Trochocercus nitens, Batis minulla, Illadopsis fulvescens, Oriolus nigripennis and Spermophaga ruficapilla.

The avifauna of the forest includes a surprising number of savanna species (including three of the Zambezian biome)—for example, Kaupifalco monogrammicus, Accipiter badius and Turdus libonyana are present during the dry season. The avifauna is relatively better known than other areas in Angola, but most ornithological fieldwork has been directed towards collecting. A preliminary project on the biology of selected elements of the avifauna of the escarpment in the area has been done (Hawkins 1993).

Non-bird biodiversity: Bats that have been collected include the rare Epomops franqueti (Cabral 1989).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Gymnobucco calvus resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Trachyphonus purpuratus resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Hairy-breasted Barbet Tricholaema hirsuta resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Green Turaco Tauraco persa resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Buff-spotted Woodpecker Campethera nivosa resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-eared Woodpecker Campethera caroli resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-fronted Wattle-eye Platysteira albifrons resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Chestnut Wattle-eye Platysteira castanea resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-necked Wattle-eye Platysteira chalybea resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Gabela Bush-shrike Laniarius amboimensis resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Endangered 
Monteiro's Bush-shrike Malaconotus monteiri resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Gabela Helmet-shrike Prionops gabela resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Endangered 
Blue-headed Crested-flycatcher Trochocercus nitens resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-vented Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone rufocinerea resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dusky Tit Parus funereus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chattering Cisticola Cisticola anonymus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bubbling Cisticola Cisticola bulliens resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Apalis rufogularis resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Yellow-necked Greenbul Chlorocichla falkensteini resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pale-olive Greenbul Phyllastrephus fulviventris resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-throated Greenbul Phyllastrephus albigularis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-throated Nicator Nicator vireo resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Green Hylia Hylia prasina resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Green Crombec Sylvietta virens resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Illadopsis Illadopsis fulvescens resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous Flycatcher-thrush Stizorhina fraseri resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Angola Cave-chat Xenocopsychus ansorgei resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Least Concern 
Gabela Akalat Sheppardia gabela resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Endangered 
Forest Scrub-robin Erythropygia leucosticta resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Carmelite Sunbird Nectarinia fuliginosa resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Superb Sunbird Nectarinia superba resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Vieillot's Black Weaver Ploceus nigerrimus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-capped Weaver Ploceus insignis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-headed Malimbe Malimbus rubricollis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-faced Crimson-wing Cryptospiza reichenovii resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dusky Twinspot Euschistospiza cinereovinacea resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   2%
Shrubland   12%
Savanna   18%
Forest   67%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
other -
Notes: Firewood collection.

Further web sources of information 

Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This site has been identified as an AZE due to it containing a Critically Endangered or Endangered species with a limited range.

References Hawkins (1993).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Gabela. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/12/2014

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