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Location South Africa, Northern Province
Central coordinates 28o 58.00' East  23o 7.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A4ii
Area 30,000 ha
Altitude 1,100 - 2,051m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary Blouberg is an isolated inselberg that lies to the west of the Soutpansberg range, some 80 km west of Louis Trichardt. The cliffs at Blouberg regularly hold between 600 and 920 pairs of Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres.

Site description Blouberg is an isolated inselberg that lies to the west of the Soutpansberg range, some 80 km west of Louis Trichardt. This small rugged pinnacle rises sharply from the surrounding plateau that lies, on average, at 1,000 m. Peaks such as Sesuane (1,552 m), Lenare (1,385 m) and the summit Gamonnaasenamoriri (2,051 m) dominate the massif. The site is defined as the portion of the inselberg lying above the 1,100 m contour line.The mountain slopes are covered by north-eastern mountain sourveld. The scrubby thornveld of the mountain slopes includes woody species of Phymaspermum, Lippia and Stoebe. On the lower and mid-slopes, sourish mixed bushveld dominates, generally as an open savanna dominated by Acacia and Dichrostachys trees, with Combretum, Rhus, Grewia and Dombeya less common. The mountain’s higher slopes and plateau are covered in some areas by scattered Protea bushes. Small patches of Afromontane forest are found in valleys and moist basins throughout Blouberg, with forest trees of Rapanea, Xymalos, Podocarpus and Trichocladus.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. The cliffs at Blouberg regularly hold between 600 and 800 pairs of Gyps coprotheres, making it the world’s second-largest colony. While most birds breed at the main colony, a few pairs breed elsewhere on the Blouberg, at satellite colonies such as Leipsig, Glenferness and Millbank. The satellite colonies are only occasionally active. The surrounding woodland holds Bucorvus cafer, Eupodotis ruficrista, Mirafra passerina, Bradornis mariquensis, Turdoides bicolor, Cossypha humeralis, Cercotrichas paena, Calamonastes fasciolatus, Eremomela usticollis, Telophorus quadricolor, Eurocephalus anguitimens, Sporopipes squamifrons, Uraeginthus granatina and Estrilda erythronotos.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Blouberg is the only home to the reptile Platysaurus monotropis, which is endemic to this set of inselbergs. Platysaurus guttatus and Lygodactylus nigropuncatus (endemic subspecies L. n. montiscaeruli is restricted to the Blouberg) have global ranges restricted to the Blouberg, Soutpansberg (IBA ZA002) and nearby Waterberg (IBA ZA006), although the latter species also occurs patchily elsewhere in the central Northern Province. The Blouberg foothills also hold Platysaurus minor.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres resident  820-870 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Vulnerable 
Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres winter  1,700-1,900 individuals  A4ii  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2013 very high not assessed medium
  unset
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - shifting agriculture happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - persecution/control happening now 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
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high

Grassland   0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable
Savanna   0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable

Gyps coprotheres Cape Vulture 870 941 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Buphagus erythrorhynchus Red-billed Oxpecker 30 30 individuals 100 favourable

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  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Blouberg Nature Reserve 12,833 protected area contained by site 4,450  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Woodland - mixed  -
Grassland   -
Savanna   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -
forestry 14%
nature conservation and research 8%

References Benson (1986), Benson and Dobbs (1984), Benson et al. (1990), Coetzee et al. (1981).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Blouberg. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 06/07/2015

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