|Location||South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal|
|Central coordinates||29o 57.00' East 27o 57.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i|
|Altitude||1,240 - 1,290m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See Box for key species. A breeding colony of Geronticus calvus is located a few metres outside the reserve. The birds nearly always forage somewhere within the reserve. The wetlands and surrounding grasslands are frequented by Grus carunculatus, G. paradisea and Balearica regulorum. Other wetland and grassland species of concern include Circus ranivorus, C. maurus, Crex crex, Tyto capensis, Sagittarius serpentarius, Neotis denhami, Eupodotis caerulescens and E. senegalensis. The rocky outcrops hold Geocolaptes olivaceus.
Site description Located 26 km south of Newcastle, Chelmsford Nature Reserve features a gently undulating landscape with lightly wooded hills and flat-bottomed valleys. The Chelmsford Dam, a large, man-made impoundment, and the Ngagane river are the dominant features in the area. The surrounding grassland is a good example of Natal sour sandveld. Soils are shallow, badly drained and sandy. Woodland is sparse and restricted in extent. Some grassland areas hold a few scattered Acacia trees, and fire refuges have clumps of Acacia and Diospyros trees.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus||resident||-||40-60 breeding pairs||-||A1, A4i||Vulnerable|
|Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus||winter||-||80-150 individuals||-||A4i||Vulnerable|
|Black Harrier Circus maurus||resident||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Blue Bustard Eupodotis caerulescens||resident||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|Corncrake Crex crex||winter||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Least Concern|
|Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus||resident||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Ground Woodpecker Geocolaptes olivaceus||resident||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Chelmsford Dam||Provincial Nature Reserve||5,983||protected area contains site||5,984|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Grassland||Grassland - edaphic, dry||-|
|Forest||Woodland - transition||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||100%|
|nature conservation and research||-|
Other biodiversity Two near-endemic plants, Rhus gerrardii and Kniphofia breviflora, are present. Among mammals, Ceratotherium simum (LR/cd) has been reintroduced.
Management considerations This state-owned reserve was proclaimed in 1980, and is administered by the KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service. The grassland is of a type poorly represented elsewhere, and formally conserved only at this site. Although the colony of Geronticus calvus falls outside the reserve boundaries, it is included within the limits of the IBA.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Chelmsford Nature Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/05/2013
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