|Location||South Africa, Free State|
|Central coordinates||28o 15.00' East 28o 32.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i|
|Altitude||1,469 - 1,756m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See Box for key species. This site supports several breeding colonies of Geronticus calvus. The larger and better-known colonies occur on the farms Avondzon (13+ pairs), Belleuvue 399 (10+ pairs), Bramley’s Hoek 52 (13+ pairs), Welgelegen 102 (20+ pairs) and on the South African National Defence Force (ZANDF) owned Vaalbank Training Area (22–30 pairs). Many other smaller colonies and individual pairs breed elsewhere in the district, but birds do not remain faithful to these sites. Geronticus calvus are regularly seen foraging alongside Grus paradisea, Balearica regulorum and Eupodotis caerulescens in the grasslands. Gyps coprotheres, Gypaetus barbatus and Polemaetus bellicosus are occasional visitors to the area, but no longer breed in the IBA. The grassy slopes are home to Saxicola bifasciata, Monticola explorator and (on Protea-covered slopes) Promerops gurneyi. Falco naumanni is a regular summer visitor and Circus maurus a regular winter visitor.
Site description This IBA consists primarily of private farmland in the Fouriesburg, Bethlehem and Clarens districts. The major part of the area is cultivated land, but some large patches of natural grassland and areas of rocky outcrops remain in this matrix. Several areas of sandstone are deeply incised by rivers, creating impressive cliffs. Highland sourveld dominates the vegetation. In the deeper valleys and krantzes, woody communities encroach; dominants in the thickets include Cliffortia, Leucosidea, Buddleja, Cussonia, Rhus, Diospyros and Protasparagus. On the flatter, deeper soils of the mountain slopes and plateau, Protea woodland dominates.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus||resident||-||80-100 breeding pairs||-||A1, A4i||Vulnerable|
|Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus||winter||-||200-300 individuals||-||A4i||Vulnerable|
|Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus||resident||1998||-||-||Vulnerable|
|Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni||winter||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Least Concern|
|Black Harrier Circus maurus||resident||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Blue Bustard Eupodotis caerulescens||resident||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus||resident||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Buff-streaked Chat Oenanthe bifasciata||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Least Concern|
|Gurney's Sugarbird Promerops gurneyi||resident||1998||-||-||Least Concern|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Shrubland||Shrubland - Montane||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||3%|
|nature conservation and research||1%|
Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.
Management considerations Several conservancies are located within the IBA, including the well-known Bloemhoek (28°36’S, 28°02’E) and Gilboa (28°42’S, 28°03’E) conservancies. Geronticus calvus are occasionally poisoned inadvertently when they eat grain that has been laced with organophosphates or pesticides. Some birds are taken for traditional medicinal or ceremonial purposes, and humans disturb some breeding birds.
References Bates (1991), Earlé and Lawson (1988), Hutsebaut et al. (1992), Kopij (1995), Pocock and Uys (1967), Roberts (1969), Stoltz and Geyser (1973).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Fouriesburg - Bethlehem - Clarens. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/05/2013
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