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Location South Africa, Free State
Central coordinates 29o 34.00' East  28o 13.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 9,300 ha
Altitude 1,700 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary This site consists of a wetland on the private farms Wilge Rivier, Chatsworth and Bedford c. 20 km east of Harrismith. The farms lie in the Grassland Biome at an altitude of 1 700 m a.s.l. and consist primarily of flat grassland plains. White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi has been recorded at the site.

Site description This site consists of a wetland on the private farms Wilge Rivier, Chatsworth and Bedford c.20 km east of Harrismith. The farms consist primarily of flat grassveld plains, most of which are used for growing maize, wheat, soya beans and pasture grass, while most of the remaining natural grassland on the slopes is grazed by sheep and cattle. A very large, impressive wetland is situated on the properties. This wetland is minimally disturbed or modified, and is possibly only grazed lightly for part of the year. The vlei has three major arms, which unite in a main channel running below a steep ridge on the wetland’s northern border. On sections of the vlei adjacent to the steeper slopes, there are extensive, broad beds of Phragmites, up to 2.5 m tall, which often contain a rich mixture of other plant species such as Carex, Cyperus, Typha, Schoenoplectus and Leersia. On the side of the wetland adjacent to the shallow slopes, the vegetation comprises extensive patches of Typha and mixed sedges, with some grass. Around the edges there are numerous small depressions and inlets with combinations of sedges and grasses, which further increase the diversity of the vegetation.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. Sarothrura ayresi has been recorded at the site. There is enough habitat to support between 30 and 50 birds, a higher estimated total than for any other single site in South Africa. Potential habitat for Porzana pusilla occurs regularly around the edges of the wetland, and it may also breed here. Balearica regulorum occurs at the site regularly.

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
Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi winter  1998  30-50 individuals  unknown  A1, A4i  Critically Endangered 

IBA Monitoring

2014 very high near favourable high
Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Energy production and mining oil and gas drilling likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Energy production and mining renewable energy likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases problematic native species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of ground water (commercial use) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Forest   0 0 moderate (70-90%) good (> 90%) near favourable
Grassland Grassland - edaphic, wet  0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable
Wetlands (inland) Permanent herbaceous swamps and bogs  0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  high 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Grassland - edaphic, wet  -
Wetlands (inland) Permanent herbaceous swamps and bogs  -
Artificial - terrestrial   9%
Shrubland   83%
Forest   7%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
water management 80%
nature conservation and research 100%

References Taylor (1997a,b).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ingula Nature Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 04/09/2015

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