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Location Lesotho, Quthing
Central coordinates 28o 8.00' East  30o 21.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3, A4ii
Area 30,000 ha
Altitude 1,900 - 2,800m
Year of IBA assessment 2001





Site description This site consists of the near-vertical cliffs flanking the 230-m-deep gorge of the Qanatu river, together with the surrounding mountainous area, including Letšeng-la-Letsie. These highlands support a traditional pastoral economy with a low-density population. Approximately 35% of the surrounding area (within a 25 km radius) is cultivated, the remainder being open pasture. The vegetation is primarily montane grassland, but thick bush and scrub flank the lower gorge walls. 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.

Populations of IBA trigger species

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  95 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Vulnerable 
Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres winter  200-250 individuals  A4ii  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 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   90%
Grassland   7%
Forest   2%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
other -
Notes: Trapping and killing of birds (e.g. Gyps coprotheres, Bubo capensis, maybe Geronticus calvus) for cultural and medicinal uses (body parts).
not utilised -

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.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Upper Quthing Valley. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/10/2014

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