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Location Tanzania, Mbeya
Central coordinates 33o 26.70' East  9o 18.72' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 12,000 ha
Altitude 600 - 2,177m
Year of IBA assessment 2001





Site description The forests and integrated grassland habitat that comprise this IBA are scattered among steep hills north-east of the Songwe river, which forms the international border with Malawi. To the north-east the site is separated from the extinct volcanos of Mount Rungwe and Mpopoto (TZ065) by the Kiwira river valley. This site is somewhat drier than Mount Rungwe, with woodland replacing forest as high as 2,000 m. The area is extensively cultivated with little remaining natural forest cover. The Forest Reserves (FRs) which form the IBA are highly fragmented forest islands: Umalila Catchment Forest Reserve (CFR) (3,796 ha), Mpara CFR (1,048 ha), Kyosa LA-FR (957 ha), Msimwa LA-FR (727 ha), Iyondo LA-FR (973 ha), Ileje Range proposed FR (6,500 ha, only c.50 ha closed-canopy forest) and Kabulo proposed FR (3,500 ha). The IBA also includes several proposed CFRs in Ileje District: Bwenda/Shiringa (1,500 ha), Chabu (3,570 ha), Halembo (264 ha), Membe (5,500 ha), Nalupembe (126 ha), Pimbi (785 ha), Shinji (3,700 ha) and Zuba (1,116 ha).

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The birdlife of this site is poorly known. Among the more interesting species collected have been Cossypha anomala, Pseudoalcippe abyssinica, Modulatrix stictigula, Andropadus tephrolaemus, A. milanjensis, A. masukuensis, Turdus olivaceus, Zoothera gurneyi and Linurgus olivaceus. Nationally rare birds such as Lagonosticta nitidula and Ploceus xanthopterus approach their northern limits along the Songwe river. Stactolaema olivaceum rungweensis was described from forest near Isoka. Ploceus bertrandi occurs along some of the smaller streams at higher altitudes. Psalidoprocne pristoptera is resident, while Hirundo dimidiata, a rare cold-season visitor from southern Africa, reaches its northern limits in the Umalilas.

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
Lybius minor resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Moustached Green Tinkerbird Pogoniulus leucomystax resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dickinson's Kestrel Falco dickinsoni resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Buteo oreophilus resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Dusky Turtle-dove Streptopelia lugens resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Caprimulgus poliocephalus resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Bar-tailed Trogon Apaloderma vittatum resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Fuelleborn's Boubou Laniarius fuelleborni resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Souza's Shrike Lanius souzae resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Uhehe Fiscal Lanius marwitzi resident  2000  unknown  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea breeding  2000  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Black-lored Cisticola Cisticola nigriloris resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Churring Cisticola Cisticola njombe resident  2000  present  A1, A2, A3  Least Concern 
Chapin's Apalis Apalis chapini resident  2000  unknown  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Eastern Mountain Greenbul Andropadus nigriceps resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Shelley's Greenbul Andropadus masukuensis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
African Hill Babbler Pseudoalcippe abyssinica resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Slender-billed Starling Onychognathus tenuirostris resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Kurrichane Thrush Turdus libonyanus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-chested Alethe Alethe fuelleborni resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Spot-throat Modulatrix stictigula resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sharpe's Akalat Sheppardia sharpei resident  2000  unknown  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Miombo Rock-thrush Monticola angolensis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher Dioptrornis fischeri resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Oustalet's Sunbird Nectarinia oustaleti resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Miombo Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia manoensis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Olive-bellied Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia fuelleborni resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bronze Sunbird Nectarinia kilimensis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bertrand's Weaver Ploceus bertrandi resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Olive-headed Weaver Ploceus olivaceiceps resident  2000  unknown  A3  Near Threatened 
Buff-shouldered Widowbird Euplectes psammocromius resident  2000  unknown  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Red-faced Crimson-wing Cryptospiza reichenovii resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Firefinch Lagonosticta nitidula resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Broad-tailed Paradise-whydah Vidua obtusa resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Fuelleborn's Longclaw Macronyx fuellebornii resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-faced Citril Serinus hypostictus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Serinus whytii resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Not Recognised 
Kipengere Seedeater Serinus melanochrous resident  2000  unknown  A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Oriole Finch Linurgus olivaceus resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2011 very high very unfavourable low
Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Climate change and severe weather temperature extremes likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Energy production and mining oil and gas drilling happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Energy production and mining renewable energy happening now whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Geological events volcanic eruptions happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - type unknown/unrecorded likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - type unknown/unrecorded likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Pollution industrial & military effluents - type unknown/unrecorded likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors flight paths happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Forest   0 0 poor (40-69%) poor (40-69%) very unfavourable

Most of site (50-90%) covered (including the most critical parts for important bird species)  No management planning has taken place  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Iyondo Forest Reserve 0 protected area contained by site 973  
Kabulo Forest Reserve 0 protected area contained by site 3,500  
Kyosa Forest Reserve 180,443 protected area contained by site 1,804  
Mamboto Forest Reserve 4,303,756 protected area overlaps with site 1,800  
Mpara Forest Reserve 0 protected area contained by site 1,048  
Mwalugulu Forest Reserve 6,949,970 protected area overlaps with site 250  
Sisu Forest Reserve 189,179 protected area contained by site 1,892  
Umalila Forest Reserve 415,864 protected area contained by site 4,159  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   100%

Land use

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

References Benson (1948), Benson and Benson (1949), Kaminyoge (1992), McKone and Walzem (1994).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Umalila Mountains. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/12/2014

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