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Location South Africa, Mpumalanga
Central coordinates 30o 45.00' East  25o 30.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 1,500 ha
Altitude 1,400 - 1,740m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary The IBA, which lies within the South African mistbelt, includes the village of Kaapse Hoop. This small site once held the largest Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea breeding population in Mpumalanga. The swallows were concentrated in the remaining 461 ha of grassland lying south of Kaapse Hoop village.

Site description Lying c.30 km south-west of Nelspruit, this site consists of gently undulating sour grassland. Narrow drainage lines dissect the grassland, which holds several ponds and small water-bodies. Patches of fynbos (Erica, Protea) also occur, and other scrubby forest-edge species form thickets along the rivers and in the valleys. Forest occurs in the more mesic valleys, dominated by trees of Rapanea, Xymalos, Podocarpus, Pterocelastrus and Syzygium. Other habitats include rocky outcrops and open rock cliffs. Exotic trees, primarily wattle Acacia, have invaded much of the remaining grassland.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. This small site holds the third-largest breeding population of Hirundo atrocaerulea in South Africa. The swallows are concentrated in the remaining 461 ha of grassland lying south of Kaapse Hoop village; all the nests are restricted to this primary grassland. Turnix hottentotta, Vanellus melanopterus and other grassland species, such as Saxicola bifasciata, also occur at Kaapse Hoop. The proteoid woodland holds Promerops gurneyi. The forest patches are home to Lioptilus nigricapillus, Tauraco corythaix and Buteo oreophilus.

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
Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus resident  1998  present  A3  Vulnerable 
Buteo oreophilus resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Striped Flufftail Sarothrura affinis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Knysna Turaco Tauraco corythaix resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Olive Bush-shrike Telophorus olivaceus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea breeding  1998  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
African Scrub-warbler Bradypterus barratti resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Orange Ground-thrush Zoothera gurneyi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chorister Robin-chat Cossypha dichroa resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Brown Scrub-robin Erythropygia signata resident  1998  present  A2  Least Concern 
Buff-streaked Chat Oenanthe bifasciata resident  1998  present  A1, A3  Least Concern 
Gurney's Sugarbird Promerops gurneyi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Forest Canary Serinus scotops resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2014 high near favourable high
Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - motivation unknown/unrecorded happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
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 majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases problematic native species/diseases - named species happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - trend unknown/unrecorded happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution air-borne pollutants - acid rain happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
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 roads and railroads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Forest Montane forest - mixed  0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable
Grassland Grassland - highveld  0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Wetlands (inland) Montane bogs, swamps and mires  0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  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  high 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Blue Swallow Natural Heritage Site Sanctuary 0 is identical to site 1,500  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Grassland - highveld  25%
Wetlands (inland) Montane bogs, swamps and mires  -
Shrubland   2%
Forest Montane forest - mixed  96%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
other -
tourism/recreation -
forestry 25%
nature conservation and research 3%
water management 20%

References Allan (1988), Allan et al. (1987), Evans (1996, 1997, 1998), Huggett (1995, 1996), Maclean (1993), Morgan (1995), Snell (1963, 1969, 1970, 1979), Tarboton (1988, 1994, 1997b,c).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kaapsehoop. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/07/2015

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