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Location South Africa, Northern Cape
Central coordinates 24o 10.00' East  30o 37.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4ii
Area 1,200,000 ha
Altitude 1,100 - 1,691m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary The conservancy covers the entire districts of De Aar, Philipstown and Hanover in the southeastern portion of the Northern Cape Province. Although the land in the IBA is primarily used for grazing and agriculture, it includes the suburban towns of De Aar, Philipstown, Petrusville and Hanover. This area holds vitally important populations of Secretarybird Sagittarius serpentarius, Ludwig's Bustard Neotis ludwigii, Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori and large numbers of Karoo Korhaan Eupodotis vigorsii.

Site description The conservancy covers the entire districts of De Aar, Philipstown and Hanover in the south-eastern portion of the Northern Cape Province. Although the land in the IBA is primarily used for grazing and agriculture, it includes the suburban towns of De Aar, Philipstown, Petrusville and Hanover. This huge area lies in the plains of the central Great Karoo, forming part of the South African plateau. The conservancy consists primarily of open-plain country, locally interrupted by dolerite hills and small mountain ranges which rise 200–300 m above the surrounding plateau, which varies from 1,100–1,400 m in altitude.

Just north of De Aar, the ephemeral Brak river flows in an arc from south-east to north-west, eventually feeding into the Orange river basin. Several other ephemeral rivers occur in the IBA, including the Hondeblaf, Seekoei and Elandsfontein, which all have rocky beds with intermittent wide flood-plains that contribute to the Orange river catchment. Kriegerspoort Dam in the south and the Vanderkloof (formerly P. K. le Roux) Dam in the north-east form permanent water features in the area.

The vegetation that covers much of the plains and lower escarpment is dominated by shrubs, which seldom exceed 70 cm in height. The numerous kloofs are sparsely wooded and the hills and mountains are more grassy than the plains. During rainy periods, however, many patches of grass sprout on the rocky mountain slopes. The characteristic shrubs of the hills are species of Rhus. There are extensive sectors of dense thornveld dominated by Acacia, which forms belts of riverine woodland lining the mostly dry riverbeds.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 3 for key species. This area holds vitally important populations of two globally threatened species, several biome-restricted species and important populations of other arid-zone birds. The lowland karroid plains are particularly good for Neotis ludwigii, Ardeotis kori, large numbers of Eupodotis vigorsii, Certhilauda albescens, Cercomela schlegelii, C. tractrac, C. sinuata, Emberiza impetuani and the recently recognized Certhilauda subcoronata. In the grassier areas, Eupodotis caerulescens are common. Circus maurus are occasionally seen quartering the plains, where huge numbers of Grus paradisea regularly congregate. Aquila rapax and Polemaetus bellicosus breed on the power lines in the area. The belts of riverine Acacia woodland support Phragmacia substriata, Sylvia layardi and Parus afer. Onychognathus nabouroup and Anthus crenatus occur in rocky gorges and kloofs. Other arid-zone species occurring within the conservancy are Melierax canorus, Batis pririt, Stenostira scita and Serinus albogularis. Falco naumanni have roosts throughout the area, including large roosts in the towns of De Aar, Hanover and Philipstown; they are frequently seen foraging in the conservancy in summer. Some of the dams are important roosts—during summer 1996/97, more than 850 Grus paradisea were counted on a dam in the area.

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 Stork Ciconia nigra winter  10-20 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni winter  5,000-10,000 individuals  A1, A4ii  Least Concern 
Ludwig's Bustard Neotis ludwigii resident  1998  present  A3  Endangered 
Karoo Bustard Heterotetrax vigorsii resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue Bustard Eupodotis caerulescens resident  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus resident  200-400 breeding pairs  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus winter  1,000-2,500 individuals  A4i  Vulnerable 
Certhilauda subcoronata resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Karoo Lark Certhilauda albescens resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Namaqua Warbler Phragmacia substriata 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 

IBA Monitoring

2014 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 small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
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%) slow but significant deterioration high
Biological resource use gathering terrestrial plants - persecution/control happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - persecution/control happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid 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
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - intentional use: subsistence/small scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
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%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather storms and floods likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Energy production and mining oil and gas drilling likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Energy production and mining renewable energy happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases problematic native 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 species/diseases of unknown origin - named species happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
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 - small dams happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - sewage happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - type unknown/unrecorded likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution garbage & solid waste happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Forest Woodland - mixed  0 0 poor (40-69%) poor (40-69%) very unfavourable
Shrubland Shrubland - bushy Karroo  0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  negligible 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Rolfontein Nature Reserve 31,425 protected area contained by site 6,200  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Shrubland - bushy Karroo; Shrubland - dwarf Karroo  -
Grassland Grassland - highveld  99%
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams; Saltpans  -
Forest Woodland - mixed  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
nature conservation and research 1%
tourism/recreation -
water management 90%

References Allan (1989, 1994b, 1995b), Dean (1995, 1997), Dean and Hockey (1989), Dean and Lombard (1994), Dean and Siegfried (1997), Kieser and Kieser (1978), Pepler (1994a,b).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Platberg-Karoo Conservancy. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/08/2015

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