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Location Mozambique, Sofala
Central coordinates 34o 5.00' East  18o 25.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 385,000 ha
Altitude 400 - 1,863m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description Gorongosa mountain is a massive inselberg rising out of the coastal plain. Habitat consists of Brachystegia woodland on the lower slopes, dense evergreen forests at altitudes between 1,200 and 1,500 m, and montane grassland at the summit, with forest patches in the ravines. Many of the lower slopes have been cleared for agriculture, but the higher reaches constitute a sacred site for local inhabitants and, as such, enjoy some measure of protection. The adjoining national park consists of a large plain with deciduous woodland and extensive marshes and lakes.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Gorongosa mountain makes up less than 10% of the extent of this site, but is the most important part because most of the species which are of conservation interest are concentrated here. Swynnertonia swynnertoni, Apalis chirindensis and Anthreptes reichenowi are resident in the evergreen forests, while the montane grassland may hold Hirundo atrocaerulea, although this has not been confirmed yet. The mountain is widely known as the only locality where Oriolus chlorocephalus occurs in southern Africa. Three species of the Zambezian biome occur at the site. The wetlands in the National Park have not been comprehensively surveyed, and may support numbers of waterbirds which exceed 1% threshold levels. Gallinago media has been reported here and the wetlands are possibly an important wintering ground for the species. Balearica regulorum, which is threatened within southern Africa, occurs regularly in the wetlands.

Non-bird biodiversity: The plains supported high numbers of larger mammals in the past, including Loxodonta africana (EN). These have been extirpated by hunting but reintroductions are planned.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Great Snipe Gallinago media winter  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Zululand Batis Batis fratrum resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pale Batis Batis soror resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia 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 
Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea breeding  1999  unknown  A3  Vulnerable 
Chirinda Apalis Apalis chirindensis resident  1999  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Stripe-cheeked Greenbul Andropadus milanjensis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Tiny Greenbul Phyllastrephus debilis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-bellied Glossy-starling Lamprotornis corruscus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-chested Alethe Alethe fuelleborni resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Swynnerton's Robin Swynnertonia swynnertoni resident  1999  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Plain-backed Sunbird Anthreptes reichenowi resident  1999  present  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Red-faced Crimson-wing Cryptospiza reichenovii 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)  
Gorongosa National Park 375,000 protected area contained by site 375,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   1%
Shrubland   15%
Grassland   13%
Forest   69%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
forestry -
nature conservation and research -
other -
Notes: Firewood collection.
not utilised -

References Clancey (1996), Pinto (1959).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Gorongosa Mountain and National Park. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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