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Location South Africa, Mpumalanga
Central coordinates 29o 50.00' East  26o 32.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3, A4i, A4ii
Area 120,000 ha
Altitude 1,650 - 1,832m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary The IBA consists mostly of highly fragmented grasslands of the area hold several streams and pans, as well as the Willem-Brummer Dam near Ermelo. This IBA holds a large proportion of the global population of Botha's Lark Spizocorys fringillaris.

Site description This area is bounded by the main roads between the following towns: Ermelo, Amersfoort, Bethal, Hendrina and Carolina. It consists mostly of flat to undulating farmland between 1,650 and 1,832 m. In a landscape dominated by maize, several remnant patches of moist clay highveld grassland are scattered throughout the district, growing on black vertic clays. The grasslands hold several streams and pans, as well as the Willem-Brummer Dam near Ermelo. Rocky slopes, gullies and ravines favour the development of thicket, dominated by Leucosidea, Buddleja and Rhamnus. In the deeper, fire-protected gullies, secondary forest occasionally develops, with trees of Euclea, Diospyros, Myrsine and Rhus.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. This site holds a large proportion of the global population of Spizocorys fringillaris. The grassland areas also hold Neotis denhami, Eupodotis senegalensis, Saxicola bifasciata, Monticola explorator and Geronticus calvus. Falco naumanni, Glareola nordmanni and (less frequently) Circus macrourus can be seen quartering the grasslands. Occasionally, all of South Africa’s crane species can be found in the grasslands or cropfields within the site.

Non-bird biodiversity: Two highly localized and threatened forbs, Gladiolus robertsoniae and Nerine gracilis, are found in the remaining grassland patches within this site.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus resident  1998  20 breeding pairs  unknown  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus winter  50-300 individuals  A4i  Vulnerable 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni winter  1,000-2,000 individuals  A1, A4ii  Least Concern 
Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus winter  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni winter  100-1,000 individuals  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
Botha's Lark Spizocorys fringillaris resident  1998  present  A1, A3  Endangered 
Buff-streaked Chat Oenanthe bifasciata resident  1998  present  A1, A3  Least Concern 
Forest Canary Serinus scotops resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration very high
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - scale unknown/unrecorded happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
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
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of surface water (agricultural use) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - herbicides and pesticides happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution air-borne pollutants - type unknown/unrecorded happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
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 majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Grassland   0 0 poor (40-69%) moderate (70-90%) very unfavourable
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams  0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Grassland - highveld  -
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams  -

Land use

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

References Allan et al. (1983, 1997), de Wet (1991), Hockey et al. (1988), Tarboton (1997a,b,c).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Amersfoort - Bethal - Carolina District. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/05/2015

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