|Central coordinates||28o 59.00' East 29o 48.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A3, A4ii|
|Altitude||2,000 - 3,300m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description The area encompasses the catchments of the Sehonghong and Matebeng rivers, bounded on the west by the Senqu. The IBA covers a set of nucleus vulture colonies and one satellite colony located on steep basalt lava cliffs in the lower reaches of the Senqu (Orange) river. The river and its tributaries are situated near the Lesotho/KwaZulu-Natal border on the fringe of the Drakensberg. The IBA consists of three colonies and the surrounding foraging area. The tributaries of the Senqu system have incised deeply into the basalt, thus creating near-vertical cliffs suitable for occupation by cliff-dwelling species. The colonies are at an altitude of c.2,750–2,950 m. The vegetation is primarily montane grassland. High-altitude shrubs form a heath of Erica, Chrysocoma and Helichrysum. The summits are generally rocky, with bare, shallow soil patches and rock sheets near the escarpment.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus||resident||-||present||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres||resident||-||75 breeding pairs||-||A1, A4ii||Vulnerable|
|Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres||winter||-||220 individuals||-||A4ii||Vulnerable|
|Black Harrier Circus maurus||resident||-||present||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Ground Woodpecker Geocolaptes olivaceus||resident||-||present||-||A1||Least Concern|
|Drakensberg Rockjumper Chaetops aurantius||resident||1998||present||-||A1, A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Mountain Pipit Anthus hoeschi||resident||1998||present||-||A1, A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Drakensberg Siskin Serinus symonsi||resident||1998||present||-||A1, A2, A3||Least Concern|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial - terrestrial||3%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|Notes: Trapping and killing of birds (e.g. Gyps coprotheres, Bubo capensis, maybe Geronticus calvus) for cultural and medicinal uses (body parts).|
Other biodiversity The alpine floral communities found in the Maloti/Drakensberg mountains are unique in southern Africa, holding a remarkable number of endemic plant species. A recent botanical survey of three valleys in the Maloti yielded many species that could not be identified, and some may be new to science. The high-altitude streams and seepages hold the Drakensberg-endemic frogs Strongylopus hymenopus and Amieta vertebralis.
References Allan et al. (1996), Bonde (1993), Brown (1992a,b), Donnay (1990), Jilbert (1979, 1982), Manry (1984, 1985a,b), Meakins et al. (1988), Mendelsohn (1984), Osborne and Tigar (1989, 1990, 1992a,b).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sehonghong and Matebeng. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/08/2014
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