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Location Malawi, Southern
Central coordinates 35o 6.00' East  16o 1.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 450 ha
Altitude 900 - 1,100m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

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



Site description Most of the natural vegetation in Thyolo District disappeared with the establishment of extensive tea estates around the beginning of the twentieth century. It must have consisted largely of moist Brachystegia or transition woodland (miombo interspersed with evergreen species), with rainforest in stream depressions and on the summit of Thyolo Mountain. Forest existed in a continuum down to the lower levels (c.1,000 m) around the mountain. This is no longer the situation, but a dozen patches of lowland rainforest have been preserved privately amid the tea fields to the north-east and within 2–10 km of Thyolo Mountain. They lie in stream depressions, at c.1,050 m, with a tall canopy of mainly Albizia gummifera and Khaya anthotheca (syn. K. nyasica). The three most important patches visited in the 1980s were on the estates of Mwalantunzi (93 ha), Namingomba (80 ha) and Mikundi (40 ha).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Bar-tailed Trogon Apaloderma vittatum resident  1999    Least Concern 
Green-headed Oriole Oriolus chlorocephalus resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Crested-flycatcher Elminia albonotata resident  1999    Least Concern 
White-winged Apalis Apalis chariessa resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla resident  1999    Least Concern 
Orange Ground-thrush Zoothera gurneyi resident  1999    Least Concern 
Kurrichane Thrush Turdus libonyanus resident  1999    Least Concern 
White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata resident  1999    Least Concern 

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
forestry -
nature conservation and research -
water management -

Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.

References Dowsett-Lemaire (1989a, 1990).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Thyolo tea estates. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/04/2014

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