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Location Mozambique, Sofala
Central coordinates 36o 0.00' East  18o 30.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i
Area 500,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 100m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description The site consists of the delta and most of the flood-plain of the Zambezi river (including the Marromeu Reserve), as well as the adjoining hunting concessions (coutadas 10, 11 and 12). The habitats present include open water (fresh and estuarine), sandbanks, isolated pools, marshland, grassland and Acacia savanna in the delta and flood-plain, extensive lowland forest and deciduous woodland in the hunting concessions, and Brachystegia woodland on the western fringes of the site. The sparse human population is involved in fishing and agriculture on a small scale.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 3 for key species. The site supports a breeding population of Grus carunculatus. The latest available count is of c.70 breeding pairs, but breeding numbers are likely to fluctuate. More than 2,000 birds have been present on occasion. Many waterbirds occur, and concentrations of Anastomus lamelligerus have been observed to exceed the 1% threshold of 1,000 birds. Circaetus fasciolatus and Sheppardia gunningi are forest residents. This is the only IBA site in Mozambique where the latter species is known to occur. Two species typical of the Afrotropical Highlands biome occur, as do two of the Zambezian biome. Current knowledge of the wetland habitats is based on aerial surveys, and investigation on the ground is likely to discover other threatened or restricted-range species.

Non-bird biodiversity: Among larger mammals, Loxodonta africana (EN) occurs (30–40 animals). Significant populations of threatened amphibians, fish and other aquatic fauna are likely but as yet unknown.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
African Openbill Anastomus lamelligerus winter  1,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Southern Banded Snake-eagle Circaetus fasciolatus resident  1999  present  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus resident  70 breeding pairs  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus winter  2,000 individuals  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Zululand Batis Batis fratrum resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pale Batis Batis soror resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-fronted Helmet-shrike Prionops scopifrons resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Tiny Greenbul Phyllastrephus debilis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-bellied Glossy-starling Lamprotornis corruscus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
East Coast Akalat Sheppardia gunningi resident  1999  present  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Mouse-coloured Sunbird Nectarinia veroxii resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Lesser Seedcracker Pyrenestes minor resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Marromeu Game Reserve 1,000,000 protected area overlaps with site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   10%
Grassland   11%
Forest   77%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
hunting -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

References Beilfuss and Allan (1996), Clancey (1996), Davies et al. (1975), Goodman (1992a, b), Irwin (1963).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Zambezi River Delta. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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