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Location South Africa, Mpumalanga,Northern Province
Central coordinates 31o 35.00' East  24o 10.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i
Area 2,142,528 ha
Altitude 300 - 450m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary The Kruger National Park is situated on the southern portion of the Mozambique coastal plain in the lowveld of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The IBA covers an area of over 2.1 million hectares. The Park is known to support more than 490 bird species, about 55% of the species found in the entire southern African Sub-region. This includes several important populations of widespread birds, which have suffered outside large protected areas.

Site description Kruger National Park (KNP) is situated on the southern portion of the Mozambique coastal plain in the lowveld of the Northern Province and Mpumalanga. The park is roughly rectangular in shape, stretching c.320 km from north to south and 65 km from east to west. The site includes the important Banyani flood-plain, just outside the park’s border, as well as several provincial and privately owned reserves that lie adjacent to the western border, and the large Onderberg area to the south of the park (managed by the Mpumalanga Parks Board). The area consists of flat, gently undulating plains that are occasionally broken by scattered inselbergs. The Lebombo mountains, a series of low hills, dominate the eastern border of the park. KNP is drained from west to east by two major river systems, the nKomati and the Limpopo, which form the southern and northern borders of the park respectively, and also by six other large rivers. Under natural conditions all of these rivers would be perennial, but owing to heavy water abstraction within their catchments (west of the IBA), all but one now dry out seasonally.The varied soils give rise to a plethora of different types of deciduous savanna and woodland, ranging from dense forest to open shrubby grassland. Savanna predominates overall, but there is dense broadleaved woodland in the south-west, dominated by Dichrostachys, Combretum and Terminalia, as well as mopane woodland in the central portion of the park, and more open woodland of Burkea, Pseudolachnostylis, Kirkia and baobab Adansonia in the drier, rugged northern region. Riverine forest and thicket occurs along all the major drainage lines.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 3 for key species. The park is known to support more than 490 bird species, about 55% of the species found in the southern African subregion. The diversity of birds can be attributed to the variety of habitats present and the ecotonal nature of the area. The park supports the healthiest populations of scavenging bird species in South Africa.The Luvuvhu, Olifants and Sabie rivers, with their associated riverine forest, support several nationally threatened bird species that are secretive and river-dependent, such as Scotopelia peli, Gorsachius leuconotus and Podica senegalensis. The rivers, flood-plains, pans, dams and vleis are important for many wetland-dependent and associated birds, such as Ciconia nigra, which breed in the gorges of the nearby Lebombo mountains, C. episcopus, Anastomus lamelligerus, Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis and Vanellus albiceps. The Banyini flood-plain, which falls just outside the park’s boundary near Pafuri, is of particular interest as in wet seasons it supports excellent pans and surrounding flooded grassy areas. The land is partially private and partially owned by the South African National Defence Force. The seasonally flooded grasslands lying to the north of Shingwedzi are also vital for wetland birds during years of heavy rain, particularly for Crex crex.Several wide-ranging species, which are now rare outside South Africa’s large national parks, are locally common in KNP, including the country’s largest populations of Leptoptilos crumeniferus, Necrosyrtes monachus, Gyps africanus, Torgos tracheliotus, Trigonoceps occipitalis, Polemaetus bellicosus, Terathopius ecaudatus, Aquila rapax, Ardeotis kori and Bucorvus cafer. Gyps coprotheres regularly forage within the park. Neotis denhami, Circus macrourus and Tyto capensis occur in small numbers. The thicket and forest areas support the following species restricted to the East African Coast biome: Poicephalus cryptoxanthus, Telophorus quadricolor, Lamprotornis corruscus, Hypargos margaritatus and Serinus citrinipectus (the latter two in the north-east only).

Non-bird biodiversity: KNP is one of the most important conservation areas in South Africa. Many threatened species occur throughout the park. Among mammals, there are important populations of Ceratotherium simum (LR/cd; more than 700 individuals), Diceros bicornis (CR), Lycaon pictus (EN), Loxodonta africana (EN; more than 7,000 individuals) and Acinonyx jubatus (VU). The highly localized Chrysospalax villosus and Amblysomus julianae (CR) have been recorded in the park. The park also holds populations of the more localized Chirindia langi, Zygaspis vandami and Afroedura langi; the latter is restricted to the Olifants river valley. Among the frogs, southern African endemics include Hemisus marmoratus, Hyperolius tuberilinguis, Afrixalus aureus, A. delicatus, Phrynobatrachus mababiensis, Hilderbrandtia ornata, Ptychadena mossambica, P. oxyrhynchus, Strongylopus grayii, Tomopterna krugerensis, T. marmorata and T. natalensis. Arthrolepis stenodactylus is a rare resident.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black Stork Ciconia nigra winter  40-60 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Black Stork Ciconia nigra breeding  10-20 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni winter  present  A1  Least Concern 
Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres winter  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Corncrake Crex crex winter  present  A1  Least Concern 
Brown-headed Parrot Poicephalus cryptoxanthus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Four-coloured Bush-shrike Telophorus quadricolor resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-bellied Glossy-starling Lamprotornis corruscus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pink-throated Twinspot Hypargos margaritatus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Lemon-breasted Seedeater Serinus citrinipectus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2014 very high very unfavourable high
Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - shifting agriculture happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Agriculture and aquaculture wood and pulp plantations (includes afforestation) - agro-industry plantations happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - intentional use: subsistence/sml scale happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration very high
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather storms and floods happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases problematic species/diseases of unknown origin - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - sewage happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation 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%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Forest Lowland forest - riparian  0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams  0 0 moderate (70-90%) poor (40-69%) very unfavourable

Most of site (50-90%) covered (including the most critical parts for important bird species)  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  The conservation measures needed for the site are being comprehensively and effectively implemented  high 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kruger National Park 915,052 protected area contained by site 1,898,859  
Kruger to Canyons UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 2,474,700 protected area contains site 2,142,528  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Lowland forest - riparian; Woodland - mixed  -
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -
nature conservation and research 100%
water management 10%

References Benn et al. (1995), Braack (1983), Chittenden (1992), Fraser et al. (1987), Gertenbach (1983), Joubert (1984), Kemp (1974, 1980), Kemp et al. (1989), Newman (1987), Sinclair and Whyte (1991), Tarboton et al. (1987), Venter and Bristow (1984), Venter and Gertenbach (1984), Watson (1990a,b).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kruger National Park and adjacent areas. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/08/2015

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