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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

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.

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 
Karoo Long-billed Lark Certhilauda subcoronata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
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 

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  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Shrubland - bushy Karroo  -
Grassland   99%

Land use

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

Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.

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 (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Platberg-Karoo Conservancy. Downloaded from on 26/07/2014

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