email a friend
printable version
Location Malawi, Southern
Central coordinates 35o 30.00' East  15o 8.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 29,473 ha
Altitude 550 - 1,626m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM) (Affiliate)



Site description The Liwonde Highlands consist of a chain of four round hills on a ridge 32 km long from west to east, rising from the Lake shore plain (to the north) and Lake Chilwa (to the east), with the Shire Highlands stretching to the south. Chikala Hill is the easternmost and highest of the four, with a rocky peak at 1,626 m. It bears one of the finest patches (285 ha, at 1,300–1,600 m) of mid-altitude rainforest in the country, with a 40-m-tall canopy dominated by Newtonia buchananii and Strombosia scheffleri. The forest is surrounded by miombo woodland, but large areas have been cleared on the eastern saddle where 800 people have established themselves illegally. There is still much well-preserved miombo on the three hills to the west of Chikala, although at lower levels 3,000 ha have disappeared under Eucalyptus plantations.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Over 160 species are known from the reserve. The forest on Chikala is important for its breeding population of Alethe choloensis and Oriolus chlorocephalus (both common, with c.15 pairs of the oriole and more of the alethe), with smaller numbers of Apalis chariessa. Zoothera guttata has not been recorded, but could occur as it is known from similar habitat and altitude elsewhere in southern Malawi. Dendropicos stierlingi has been recorded from Chinduzi Hill and Ploceus olivaceiceps from high-altitude woodland near hilltops.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Whyte's Barbet Stactolaema whytii resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Racquet-tailed Roller Coracias spatulatus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Böhm's Bee-eater Merops boehmi resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pale-billed Hornbill Lophoceros pallidirostris resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Stierling's Woodpecker Dendropicos stierlingi resident  1999  present  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Pale Batis Batis soror resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Green-headed Oriole Oriolus chlorocephalus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Crested-flycatcher Elminia albonotata resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-bellied Tit Parus rufiventris resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-winged Apalis Apalis chariessa resident  1999  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Miombo Wren-warbler Camaroptera undosa resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Stripe-cheeked Greenbul Andropadus milanjensis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Thyolo Alethe Alethe choloensis resident  1999  present  A1, A2, A3  Endangered 
Orange Ground-thrush Zoothera gurneyi resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Kurrichane Thrush Turdus libonyanus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-headed Black-chat Myrmecocichla arnoti resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Miombo Rock-thrush Monticola angolensis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Miombo Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia manoensis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Olive-headed Weaver Ploceus olivaceiceps resident  1999  present  A3  Near Threatened 
Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-faced Citril Serinus hypostictus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-eared Seedeater Serinus mennelli resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2013 medium not assessed low
unset
Unknown

Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Very little or no conservation action taking place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Liwonde Forest Reserve 29,473 is identical to site 29,473  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   13%
Shrubland   26%
Forest   60%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
forestry -
water management -

References Dowsett-Lemaire (1989a, b).

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 (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Liwonde Hills Forest Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/12/2014

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