Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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27o 30.00' East 22o 40.00' South
Year of IBA assessment
BirdLife Botswana (Partner Designate)
Site description The Tswapong Hills lie in the hardveld of eastern Botswana, east of the town of Palapye. They arise from a sandy plain dominated by mopane woodland. The hills, which extend for 67 km in an east–west direction, are mainly sandstone and on the steeper slopes the vegetation is dominated by Croton. There are gorges with precipitous cliffs and seasonal streams, and exposed rock faces around the edge of the hills and along some watercourses.
Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. Gyps coprotheres currently breeds at three sites within the Tswapong Hills. The species has probably bred there for well over a century but the existence of some former and current breeding sites, Machibaba and Kukubye at Lerala, and Manong Yeng, was not documented until 1976. The Machibaba site was abandoned in 1984. In the same year, breeding sites at Bonwalenong and Sebale were discovered; Seolwane was colonized in 1986, but the colony here dwindled and finally disappeared in 1990 whilst that at Kukubye suffered a similar fate due to direct persecution. In the 1980s, the number of breeding pairs increased from 240 in 1984 to 325 in 1992, although the total number of birds appeared to be declining. Bonwalanong, having undergone a large increase since 1989, was the most important breeding site in 1992, with over 200 pairs, and Manong Yeng then supported around 90 pairs. Nine nests were also found at Kukubye in 1992. As of 2001, the decline in numbers of Gyps coprotheres appears to have halted.
Non-bird biodiversity: Two species or subspecies of butterflies are endemic to the Tswapong Hills.