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Location Angola, Huambo
Central coordinates 15o 11.00' East  12o 25.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 6,000 ha
Altitude 2,000 - 2,500m
Year of IBA assessment 2001





Site description The highlands of west-central Angola are of great biogeographic interest as they harbour species that are relicts of past climatic conditions that favoured a wider distribution of a cool moist forest biome. Only a few patches of forest remain, isolated on the protected slopes of mountains in Benguela, Huambo and Huíla Provinces. The best remaining example of these forests is on Mount Moco, in the Luimbale district, where there are at least 15 patches ranging in size from 1 ha to 15 ha in deep ravines. No specific climatic data are available for the area, but the site is within the 1,400 mm isohyet.

The dominant trees in the remnant forest patches include Podocarpus, Polyscias, Apodytes, Pittosporum, Szygium and Halleria, with canopy heights seldom exceeding 8 m. Huntley and Matos (1994) note that epiphytes are less abundant on the trees than they are on the trees of similar forest communities elsewhere. Short grasslands with scattered trees and shrubs surround the forest patches. Tree and shrub genera include Protea, Cliffortia, Phillipia, Cyathea, Stoebe and Lobelia, while grass genera include Monocymbium and Festuca (Huntley 1974a).

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. A total of 221 species have been collected at Mount Moco, including three species of global conservation concern—Macronyx grimwoodi is frequent in moist grassland, while Francolinus swierstrai is uncommon, and Xenocopsychus ansorgei is common on rocky outcrops. The latter two species have restricted ranges, as do Dioptrornis brunneus and Nectarinia ludovicensis, which are both frequent in the area and probably breed.

The site qualifies for both Afrotropical Highland and Zambezian biome-restricted species, and four species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome also occur. The Afrotropical Highland avifauna has strong affinities with the avifaunas of other remote Afromontane forests, and is characterized by numerous subspecific endemics that are restricted to Mount Moco (Huntley and Matos 1994), e.g. Oenanthe monticola nigricauda. At least five species—Schoutedenapus myioptilus, Apus sladeniae, Caprimulgus poliocephalus koesteri, Apaloderma vittatum, Batis margaritae margaritae—have been recorded in Angola only on Mount Moco, while Pseudoalcippe abyssinica ansorgei is known from only two other sites (Calandula and the Luachimo river).Other species that occur, and that are part of isolated populations in Angola, include Columba arquatrix, Anthus lineiventris, Sheppardia bocagei, Cisticola aberrans, Apalis cinerea, Calamonastes undosus, Muscicapa adusta and Malaconotus viridis. Two rare and localized species, Ploceus nigrimentum, presumed resident in savanna woodland in the highlands of Huambo and Cuanza Sul, and Euplectes gierowi, that has been collected west of this site, could both occur in suitable habitats (see Mombolo, AO018).

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammal species may include Cephalophus sylvicultor (LR/nt), but is probably extinct in these forests, according to Huntley (1974b).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lybius minor resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Anchieta's Barbet Stactolaema anchietae resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Western Green Tinkerbird Pogoniulus coryphaea resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Swierstra's Francolin Pternistis swierstrai resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Endangered 
Dickinson's Kestrel Falco dickinsoni resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Caprimulgus poliocephalus resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Scarce Swift Schoutedenapus myoptilus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-backed Mousebird Colius castanotus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Trogon Apaloderma vittatum resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pale-billed Hornbill Lophoceros pallidirostris resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Boulton's Batis Batis margaritae resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Souza's Shrike Lanius souzae resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Miombo Tit Parus griseiventris resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-and-rufous Swallow Hirundo nigrorufa resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-throated Swallow Hirundo rufigula resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Angola Lark Mirafra angolensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Miombo Wren-warbler Camaroptera undosa resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Laura's Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus laurae resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-necked Eremomela Eremomela atricollis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-capped Crombec Sylvietta ruficapilla resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
African Hill Babbler Pseudoalcippe abyssinica resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Angola Babbler Turdoides hartlaubii resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sharp-tailed Glossy-starling Lamprotornis acuticaudus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Orange Ground-thrush Zoothera gurneyi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Kurrichane Thrush Turdus libonyanus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Angola Cave-chat Xenocopsychus ansorgei resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Least Concern 
White-headed Black-chat Myrmecocichla arnoti resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Miombo Rock-thrush Monticola angolensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Angola Slaty Flycatcher Dioptrornis brunneus resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Boehm's Flycatcher Muscicapa boehmi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Anchieta's Sunbird Anthreptes anchietae resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-breasted Sunbird Nectarinia talatala resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Oustalet's Sunbird Nectarinia oustaleti resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Miombo Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia manoensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bocage's Sunbird Nectarinia bocagii resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bronze Sunbird Nectarinia kilimensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dusky Twinspot Euschistospiza cinereovinacea resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Firefinch Lagonosticta nitidula resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Fuelleborn's Longclaw Macronyx fuellebornii resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grimwood's Longclaw Macronyx grimwoodi resident  1998  present  A1, A3  Data Deficient 
Thick-billed Seedeater Serinus burtoni resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   5%
Forest   94%

Land use

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

References Hall (1960b), Huntley (1974a), Huntley and Matos (1994).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mount Moco. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/12/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife