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Location South Africa, Northern Cape
Central coordinates 19o 0.00' East  29o 50.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 45,540 ha
Altitude 882 - 1,021m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary Situated 65 km southwest of Pofadder, this site consists of flat gravel plains with a red dune system that runs from north to south in the central and western portion of the property. This is one of few sites protecting both the globally threatened Red Lark Certhilauda burra, which inhabits the red sand dunes, and the near-threatened Sclater's Lark Spizocorys sclateri.

Site description Situated 65 km south-west of Pofadder, this site consists of five farms; Bitterputs (107 and 110) (29,555 ha), Bitterputs 111 (3,224 ha), Bosluis (5,101 ha), Kanaip (6,175 ha) and Oorstoot (1,485 ha). Bitterputs (107 and 110) forms the central portion of the IBA and consist mainly of flat gravel-plains with a red dune system that runs from north to south in the central and western portion of the property. Coarse, pale red sandy soils and red dunes form the southern portion of the fossil Koa river valley. Towards the east, sandy plains comprising perennial desert grassland and granitic gravel-plains occur.

The koppies hold shrubs, e.g. Adenolobus and Rhus, especially on the mid-slopes and peaks, while the cobble-strewn bases are often covered with melkboom Euphorbia. The drainage lines support taller woody vegetation, such as Euclea, Ozoroa, Acacia and Tamarix shrubs. The gravel-plains are covered with a variety of sparse dwarf shrubs.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. This is one of few IBAs holding both the globally threatened Certhilauda burra (150–250 pairs), which inhabits the red sand-dunes, and the near-threatened Spizocorys sclateri (up to 100 individuals), which occurs erratically on the barren stony plains. The site also holds many of the Namib–Karoo biome-restricted species, as well as a host of other arid-zone birds. The plains support Circus maurus, Ardeotis kori, Neotis ludwigii, Eupodotis vigorsii, Cursorius rufus, Pterocles namaqua, Eremalauda starki, Cercomela tractrac, C. sinuata, C. schlegelii, Eremomela gregalis and Malcorus pectoralis. During good rains the nomadic Eremopterix australis, Serinus alario and Emberiza impetuani can be superabundant. Low scrubby vegetation holds Anthoscopus minutus and Nectarinia fusca. Rocky outcrops hold Euryptila subcinnamomea and the recently recognized Certhilauda subcoronata.

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
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 
Certhilauda subcoronata resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
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 
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 

IBA Monitoring

2014 high not assessed negligible
unset
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - agro-industry grazing, ranching or farmin happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - persecution/control happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - unintentional effects (species is not the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Climate change and severe weather drought likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather temperature extremes happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying likely in long term (beyond 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Energy production and mining renewable energy likely in long term (beyond 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Desert Desert dunes  0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable
Desert Gravel and sand plains  0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable
Wetlands (inland) Saltpans  0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable

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)
Shrubland Scrub - woodland  -
Grassland   99%
Desert Desert dunes; Gravel and sand plains  -
Wetlands (inland) Saltpans  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
nature conservation and research 100%
water management 30%

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 (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bitterputs Conservation Area. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 04/08/2015

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