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Location South Africa, Northern Cape
Central coordinates 19o 35.00' East  29o 5.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 52,000 ha
Altitude 815 - 1,150m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa

Site description Situated due east of Pofadder, this site consists of four farms: Mattheus-Gat (18,000 ha), Gemsbokvlakte (10,000 ha), Pofadder East (14,000 ha) and Konkoonsies (10,000 ha). Mattheus-Gat forms the central portion of the site and, in the south of the property, holds the granitic Mattheus-Gat mountains which rise some 300 m above the surrounding plains and which provide habitat for both mountainous and mountain-slope bird species. Away from the mountains, there are sandy plains to the north, comprising perennial desert grasslands that change into a red-dune system that runs from north-west to south-east (the fossil Koa river valley).

The vegetation consists of grasses and shrubs scattered between bare sand patches. The koppies hold shrubs of Adenolobus and Rhus, especially on the mid-slopes and peaks, while the cobble-strewn bases are covered by melkboom Euphorbia in places. The gravel-plains are covered with a sparse dwarf shrubland, including species of Rhigozum, Pteronia, Tetragonia, Tarchonanthus, Ceraria, Lycium and Boscia on sandy patches. There are a few sparsely vegetated drainage lines that run from south to north. The drainage lines support taller woody vegetation and occasionally hold large Acacia trees, which provide good nesting habitat for larger bird species.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black Harrier Circus maurus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Ludwig's Bustard Neotis ludwigii resident  1998  present  A3  Endangered 
Karoo Bustard Heterotetrax vigorsii resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Ground Woodpecker Geocolaptes olivaceus resident  present  A1  Least Concern 
Karoo Long-billed Lark Certhilauda subcoronata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red Lark Certhilauda burra resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Sclater's Lark Spizocorys sclateri resident  1998  present  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Stark's Lark Eremalauda starki resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-eared Sparrow-lark Eremopterix australis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Kopje Warbler Euryptila subcinnamomea resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-rumped Eremomela Eremomela gregalis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Layard's Warbler Sylvia layardi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pale-winged Starling Onychognathus nabouroup resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sicklewing Chat Cercomela sinuata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Karoo Chat Cercomela schlegelii resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Tractrac Chat Cercomela tractrac resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-headed Canary Serinus alario resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Scrub - woodland  -
Grassland Grassland - secondary  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
other -
nature conservation and research 6%
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -

Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.

References Allan (1989, 1994b), Dean (1989, 1995, 1997), Dean and Hockey (1989), Dean and Lombard (1994), Dean and Siegfried (1997), Dean et al. (1991), du Plessis (1992), Edwards (1974), Ryan and Bloomer (in press), Steyn and Myburgh (1989), Vernon (1986), Watkeys (1986, 1987).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mattheus-Gat Conservation Area. Downloaded from on 26/07/2014

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