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Location South Africa, Free State
Central coordinates 29o 23.00' East  28o 18.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 58 ha
Altitude 1,640 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary The farm Murphy's Rust 209 is located c. 20 km east of Harrismith. It lies in the Grassland Biome and consists primarily of flat grassland plains, most of which are used for growing maize, wheat, soya beans and pasture grass, while the remaining natural grassland on the slopes is grazed by sheep and cattle. The site holds White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi.

Site description The farm Murphy’s Rust 209 is located c.20 km east of Harrismith. It consists primarily of flat grassveld plains, most of which are used for growing maize, wheat, soya beans and pasture grass, while the remaining natural grassland on the slopes is grazed by sheep and cattle. An important wetland is situated on the property. Located in rolling high-altitude grassland, the wetland is dominated at both its upper and lower ends by beds of Phragmites; at the lower end, it has dense well-grown beds of Eleocharis, much trampled by cattle, and some good stands of Typha and Leersia in shallow water. The middle section of the wetland comprises excellent habitat, hardly damaged or penetrated by cattle: it has extensive areas of Cyperus, with Typha growing through it in patches or as single stems, Schoenoplectus at the edges and occasionally wet grass and forbs.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. The site holds Sarothrura ayresi, principally in areas of mixed Cyperus, Schoenoplectus and Typha. There is good habitat for Ixobrychus minutus, and it is conceivable that Botaurus stellaris might occur if the site was not extensively disturbed or the reedbeds penetrated by cattle.

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
White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi winter  1998  10-15 individuals  unknown  A1, A4i  Critically Endangered 

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 some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Energy production and mining oil and gas drilling likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration medium
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
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of surface water (agricultural use) likely in long term (beyond 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration high
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - sewage likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Grassland Grassland - highveld  0 0 very poor (< 40%) moderate (70-90%) very unfavourable
Wetlands (inland) Permanent herbaceous swamps and bogs  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)
Grassland Grassland - highveld  -
Wetlands (inland) Permanent herbaceous swamps and bogs  -
Artificial - terrestrial   90%
Shrubland   10%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
nature conservation and research -
other -

References Taylor (1997a,b).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Murphy's Rust. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 05/07/2015

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