|Central coordinates||33o 30.00' East 11o 0.00' South|
|Altitude||1,100 - 1,661m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See Box and Table 3 for key species. Over 300 species have been recorded. The site is particularly important for the conservation of the starling Neocichla gutturalis, a Zambezian species of highly localized and relict distribution; in Vwaza it is common in both miombo and mopane woodland. A few Grus carunculatus occur in the flood-plain; in the past it was known to breed in dambos along the southern Rukuru to the south of Vwaza, so the odd pair may breed in the reserve, but this requires confirmation. There are also records of Falco naumanni. Vwaza is at the north-eastern limit of distribution of Francolinus swainsoni, which occurs nowhere else in Malawi.
Site description The reserve lies on the Zambian border, to the south-west of the Nyika Plateau. It includes Vwaza Marsh in the north, an extensive wetland of reedbeds, patches of papyrus and seasonally flooded grassland, fed by the Hewe stream. The Luwewe stream drains from the Marsh south into the South Rukuru, an important perennial river that forms the southern boundary. The small Lake Kazuni, in the south-east, is fed by the South Rukuru and its level fluctuates seasonally. The alluvial plain lies at 1,100–1,200 m and rises in the east to a series of pediments and hills towards the foothills of the Nyika; the highest point is Mpanda (1,661 m). The reserve encompasses a great variety of habitats, from lake and marsh vegetation, flood-plain grassland, dambos, thickets, riparian forest, and Colophospermum mopane (mopane) and Brachystegia (miombo) woodland. The site is one of the most northerly locations in Africa for mopane, which is found in the alluvial plain as well as in the hills, next to and sometimes mixed with miombo or species of undifferentiated woodland.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Dickinson's Kestrel Falco dickinsoni||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Racket-tailed Roller Coracias spatulatus||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Pale-billed Hornbill Tockus pallidirostris||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Miombo Barbet Tricholaema frontata||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Souza's Shrike Lanius souzae||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Rufous-bellied Tit Parus rufiventris||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Miombo Tit Parus griseiventris||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Miombo Wren-warbler Camaroptera undosa||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Red-capped Crombec Sylvietta ruficapilla||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Babbling Starling Neocichla gutturalis||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Kurrichane Thrush Turdus libonyanus||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Miombo Scrub-robin Erythropygia barbata||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|White-headed Black-chat Myrmecocichla arnoti||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Boehm's Flycatcher Muscicapa boehmi||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Miombo Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia manoensis||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Chestnut-backed Sparrow-weaver Plocepasser rufoscapulatus||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Broad-tailed Paradise-whydah Vidua obtusa||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Vwaza Marsh||Wildlife Reserve||98,600||is identical to site||98,600|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial landscapes (terrestrial)||4%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
Other biodiversity Mammals: a small population of Kobus vardoni (LR/cd) seems to have established itself in recent years (one of only two in Malawi). The population of Hippotragus equinus (LR/cd) is one of the few large ones in Malawi, and that of Alcelaphus lichtensteini (LR/cd) is the largest.
Management considerations The Game Reserve (now Wildlife Reserve) was proclaimed in 1977. Illegal hunting of large mammals is a problem, but it hardly affects bird populations.
References Carter (1987), McShane and McShane-Caluzi (1988).
Contribute Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.
Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/05/2013
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife