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Location Mozambique, Tete
Central coordinates 30o 30.00' East  15o 40.00' South
IBA criteria A3
Area 150,000 ha
Altitude 300 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description The site lies between the confluence of the Luangwa and Zambezi rivers and the Mussangezi and Zambezi rivers, at the head of Lake Cahora Bassa. The main habitats include seasonally flooded grassland, palm-savanna, a fringe of riverine woodland, semi-arid woodland with baobabs Adansonia digitata, and wooded hillsides. The area is sparsely inhabited and is a hunting concession.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 3 for key species. Three species of the Zambezian biome are not represented in any other IBA in Mozambique. Falco dickinsoni occurs in semi-arid woodland, Agapornis lilianae utilizes semi-arid woodland and flooded grasslands, and Lamprotornis mevesii occurs in fringing riverine woodland. Several waterbirds occur on the lake shores and flooded grasslands, and distinct communities of woodland birds occur in the riverine and semi-arid woodlands.

Non-bird biodiversity: Significant populations of larger mammals, including Loxodonta africana (EN) occur.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Dickinson's Kestrel Falco dickinsoni resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Nyasa Lovebird Agapornis lilianae resident  1999  present  A3  Near Threatened 
Racquet-tailed Roller Coracias spatulatus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Meves's Glossy-starling Lamprotornis mevesii resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-headed Black-chat Myrmecocichla arnoti resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-breasted Sunbird Nectarinia talatala resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   57%
Wetlands (inland)   5%
Shrubland   30%
Forest   6%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
hunting -
other -
Notes: Firewood collection.

References Clancey (1996).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Headwaters of the Cahora Bassa Dam. Downloaded from on 29/10/2016

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