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Location South Africa, Mpumalanga
Central coordinates 30o 15.00' East  26o 19.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4ii, A4iii
Area 62,500 ha
Altitude 1,808 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa

Site description This site comprises a system of over 320 pans on private land c.30 km east of Breyten. The primary area of pans runs from Tevrede se Pan (26°13’S 30°11’E) in the north to Burgerspan (26°28’S 30°10’E) in the south, and from Goedeverwachtingpan (26°16’S 30°07’E) in the west to Lake Banagher (26°21’S 30°23’E) in the east. The Chrissie system comprises a remarkable variety of pans. Reed pans are mostly permanent, usually retaining water throughout the year. They have a diverse flora, characterized by Phragmites, which forms a dense extensive reedbed covering most of the pan basin. Sedge pans are semi-permanent, usually drying up during the winter and/or dry spells, when they are almost devoid of vegetation. Saline pans are characterized by their glaring white basins when dry and have extremely saline substrata and water. The basins of these pans usually lack vegetation.

There is considerable overlap in the common plants between the three pan-types. The pans, and their functioning, remain intact, despite existing in a matrix that consists almost exclusively of maize (80%), interspersed with small fragmented patches of natural grassland (20%).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus winter  1,991-3,522 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor winter  common  A1  Near Threatened 
Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus winter  80-100 individuals  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni winter  1,000-5,000 individuals  A1, A4ii  Least Concern 
Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus winter  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus winter  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni winter  5,000 individuals  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Grassland - edaphic, wet  -
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes and pools  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 80%
forestry -
nature conservation and research 1%
nature conservation and research 100%

Other biodiversity The plant Odontelytrum abyssinicum is a highly localized and threatened pan specialist.

References Allan (1985, 1987), Allan and Brown (1991), Allan et al. (1995), Breen et al. (1993), Sharp and Allan (1985), Tarboton (1997a,b,c), Wellington (1943).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Chrissie Pans. Downloaded from on 25/07/2014

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