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Location South Africa, North-West Province,Northern Cape
Central coordinates 24o 33.00' East  28o 4.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 2,495 ha
Altitude 1,050 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary Spitskop Dam lies 33 km southwest of Jan Kempdorp. This is one of the largest wetlands in the semi-arid Northern Cape region. It holds water permanently, and is a vital water source when all the other ephemeral and temporary wetlands in the region have dried up. The Dam lies on the Harts River. This wetland regularly supports over 10 000 birds, and has occasionally supported up to 18 000.

Site description Spitskop Dam lies 33 km south-west of Jan Kempdorp. This is one of the largest wetlands in the semi-arid Northern Cape region. It holds water permanently, and is a vital water-source when all the other ephemeral and temporary wetlands in the region have dried up. The dam lies on the Harts river, and is surrounded by open Kimberley thorn-bushveld savanna, dominated by trees of Acacia and Boscia. The shrub layer is moderately developed in places and includes species of Tarchonanthus, Grewia and Lycium.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. This wetland regularly supports over 10,000 birds, and has occasionally supported up to 18,000. Occurring in a region where rainfall is unpredictable, any permanent water-body is of major importance during drier periods when other wetlands dry up. The dam supports notable numbers of Pelecanus rufescens, Sterna caspia, Phoenicopterus ruber and Phoenicopterus minor. Other species that also occur in significant numbers include Podiceps cristatus, Phalacrocorax carbo, Anhinga rufa, Platalea alba, Tadorna cana, Anas undulata, Fulica cristata and Recurvirostra avosetta. The Kalahari thornveld holds Cercotrichas paena, Pterocles burchelli and Pterocles namaqua, among other species.

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
South African Shelduck Tadorna cana winter  1,000-2,451 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus winter  50-100 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor winter  frequent  A1  Near Threatened 
African Spoonbill Platalea alba winter  120-257 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
African Darter Anhinga rufa winter  300-600 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata winter  2,000-5,425 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta non-breeding  417 individuals  A4i  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 some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - scale unknown/unrecorded 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 majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather drought likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather storms and floods likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather temperature extremes likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Energy production and mining renewable energy happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant 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%) slow but significant deterioration high
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases problematic native 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 ground water (agricultural use) 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 majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - nutrient loads happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - soil erosion, sedimentation happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - run-off happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - sewage happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution garbage & solid waste happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Shrubland Shrubland - bushy Karroo  0 0 very poor (< 40%) very poor (< 40%) very unfavourable
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams  0 0 moderate (70-90%) poor (40-69%) very unfavourable

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Grassland - Semi-desert  -
Shrubland Shrubland - bushy Karroo  -
Wetlands (inland) Artificial wetlands; Rivers & streams  -
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -
nature conservation and research 12%
water management 80%

References Anderson (1994b), Bezuidenhout (1994), Leistner (1967).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Spitskop Dam. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 05/08/2015

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