|Central coordinates||33o 30.00' East 9o 40.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A3|
|Altitude||1,600 - 2,050m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Over 100 species have been recorded at the site. Several pairs of Hirundo atrocaerulea are present at Wilindi in the summer months. Three forest species, Modulatrix stictigula, Andropadus masukuensis and Batis mixta occur nowhere else in Malawi as they reach their southern limits of distribution in the Misukus. The Modulatrix is absent from Mugesse, but is locally common in Wilindi–Matipa above 1,800 m, with up to one pair/ha. The local population of Stactolaema olivacea (particularly numerous in Mugesse) belongs to the race rungweensis, confined to this site and Rungwe Mountain in southern Tanzania.
Site description The Misuku Hills are situated in the extreme north of the country near the Tanzanian border; they rise above a much dissected plateau to a peak of 2,050 m (Matipa). They consist of two Forest Reserves located along parallel ridges running north-west–south-east: Mugesse Forest Reserve (1,600–1,880 m) includes one block of montane rainforest of c.720 ha and is separated from Wilindi–Matipa Forest Reserve (1,700–2,050 m) by a few km of lower-altitude cultivated land. Wilindi–Matipa supports some 2,400 ha of forest intersected on the ridge by small clearings of montane grassland. The forests of the Misuku Hills are the most floristically diverse in the country (with over 150 species of trees recorded); the main emergents are Aningeria adolfi-friedericii and Entandrophragma excelsum. Mugesse is particularly luxuriant and has a striking abundance of strangling figs Ficus spp.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Mountain Buzzard Buteo oreophilus||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Striped Flufftail Sarothrura affinis||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Dusky Turtle-dove Streptopelia lugens||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Montane Nightjar Caprimulgus poliocephalus||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Scarce Swift Schoutedenapus myoptilus||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Bar-tailed Trogon Apaloderma vittatum||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Moustached Green-tinkerbird Pogoniulus leucomystax||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Fuelleborn's Boubou Laniarius fuelleborni||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|White-tailed Crested-flycatcher Elminia albonotata||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea||breeding||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A3||Vulnerable|
|Black-lored Cisticola Cisticola nigriloris||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Chapin's Apalis Apalis chapini||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Shelley's Greenbul Andropadus masukuensis||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Stripe-cheeked Greenbul Andropadus milanjensis||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Waller's Starling Onychognathus walleri||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Orange Ground-thrush Zoothera gurneyi||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|White-chested Alethe Alethe fuelleborni||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Spot-throat Modulatrix stictigula||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher Dioptrornis fischeri||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Olive-bellied Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia fuelleborni||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Bronze Sunbird Nectarinia kilimensis||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Bertrand's Weaver Ploceus bertrandi||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Red-faced Crimson-wing Cryptospiza reichenovii||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Grey-faced Citril Serinus hypostictus||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Oriole Finch Linurgus olivaceus||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Matipa#||Forest Reserve||1,062||protected area contained by site||1,062|
|Mughese||Forest Reserve||673||protected area contained by site||673|
|Wilindi||Forest Reserve||907||protected area contains site||907|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity Vegetation: five montane forest trees (including Cylicomorpha parvifolia and Mitragyna rubrostipulata) and several epiphytic orchids occur nowhere else in Malawi, reaching the southern limits of their distribution in the Misukus. Mammals: the bat Glauconycteris argentata, the flying-squirrel Anomalurus derbianus and the rodent Otomys anchietae are known in Malawi from nowhere else. A species of limited montane distribution that is well-represented here is the squirrel Paraxerus lucifer (also present on the Nyika, site MW002). Butterflies: three species (Papilio fuelleborni, P. thuraui s.s. and Deudorix (Virachola) montana) reach their southern limits, and others known nowhere else in Malawi include Acraea cerasa and Danaus formosa. On present evidence, Charaxes nyikensis reaches its northern limit here.
Management considerations The forests are reasonably well protected. The Forestry Department allows a small amount of pit-sawing on licence and some damage is occasioned at edges by bush fires but, to a large extent, the forest boundary has been respected since it was redefined in the 1950s. Despite the high population density and the clearance of almost all land between the reserves, pressure on the forests has been kept more or less under control thanks to natural emigration and a policy of land conservation through terracing.
References Ansell and Dowsett (1988), Chapman and White (1970), Dowsett-Lemaire (1989a, b).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Misuku Hills Forest Reserves. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/05/2013
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