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Location South Africa, Northern Cape
Central coordinates 16o 28.00' East  28o 36.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 9,600 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa

Summary The Orange River mouth is located on the arid Atlantic coast at South Africa's border with Namibia. This IBA is a 13 km long section of the Orange River, including its floodplain and terrestrial matrix. Bird numbers and diversity can be as high as 26 000 individuals comprising 56 species.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
South African Shelduck Tadorna cana winter  350-854 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Cape Shoveler Spatula smithii winter  162-353 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis winter  344-1,022 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Cape Cormorant Phalacrocorax capensis resident  831-5,000 breeding pairs  A1, A4i  Endangered 
Cape Cormorant Phalacrocorax capensis winter  7,500-10,000 individuals  A1, A4i  Endangered 
Ludwig's Bustard Neotis ludwigii resident  1998  present  A3  Endangered 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta non-breeding  402-588 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus breeding  85-150 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus winter  1,036-1,676 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Hartlaub's Gull Larus hartlaubii winter  1,152-2,511 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo winter  10,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Damara Tern Sternula balaenarum breeding  common  A1  Near Threatened 
Cape Long-billed Lark Certhilauda curvirostris resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Barlow's Lark Certhilauda barlowi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pale-winged Starling Onychognathus nabouroup resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Tractrac Chat Cercomela tractrac resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

1998 high not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Climate change and severe weather storms and floods likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration medium
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Pollution garbage and solid waste happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Orange River Mouth Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 2,000 protected area contained by site 2,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Salt marshes  -
Grassland Grassland - edaphic, wet  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
water management 40%
nature conservation and research 100%
tourism/recreation -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Orange River Mouth Wetlands. Downloaded from on 28/11/2014

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