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Location South Africa, Free State
Central coordinates 28o 15.00' East  28o 32.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 40,000 ha
Altitude 1,469 - 1,756m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary This IBA consists primarily of private farmland in the Fouriesburg, Bethlehem and Clarens districts. Most of the area is cultivated land, but some large patches of natural grassland and areas of rocky outcrops remain in this matrix. This site supports several Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus breeding colonies as well as Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus and Grey Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum.

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.

Key Biodiversity 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.

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  80-100 breeding pairs  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus winter  200-300 individuals  A4i  Vulnerable 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni winter  present  A1  Least Concern 
Black Harrier Circus maurus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Blue Bustard Eupodotis caerulescens resident  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Buff-streaked Chat Oenanthe bifasciata resident  1998  present  A1  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 past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying 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%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities 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 majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - herbicides and pesticides happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Pollution air-borne pollutants - type unknown/unrecorded happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - run-off happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution excess energy - noise pollution happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution garbage & solid waste happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
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 some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Grassland Grassland - highveld  0 0 very poor (< 40%) moderate (70-90%) very unfavourable
Savanna Wooded grassland  0 0 moderate (70-90%) good (> 90%) near favourable
Wetlands (inland) Ephemeral pools and wetlands  0 0 poor (40-69%) poor (40-69%) very unfavourable

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Shrubland - Montane  -
Savanna Wooded grassland  -
Grassland Grassland - highveld  -
Wetlands (inland) Ephemeral pools and wetlands; Rivers & streams  -
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
nature conservation and research 1%

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 (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Rooiberge-Riemland. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/07/2015

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