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Location South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal
Central coordinates 31o 47.00' East  28o 58.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 1,318 ha
Altitude 0 - 30m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary Umlalazi lies directly adjacent to the town of Mtunzini, 120 km north of Durban. Dune forest occupies much of the reserve and includes pioneer and mature dune forest. Further inland tree species diversity rises. The belts of coastal forest are important wintering grounds for Spotted Ground Thrush Zoothera guttata, and they also provide habitat for Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon Columba delegorguei and Gorgeous Bush-Shrike Telophorus quadricolor.

Site description Umlalazi lies directly adjacent to the town of Mtunzini, 120 km north of Durban. It is bounded in the north by the Umlalazi river and its lagoon, in the west by a prawn farm and cane and timber lands, in the south by Amatikulu Nature Reserve, and in the east by the sea. It is bisected by the Siyayi river, which has its own lagoon. The terrain is flat. Dune forest occupies much of the reserve, with trees of Olea, Vepris, Ekebergia, Dovyalis and Scolopia. Wet areas beyond the influence of brackish water bear extensive stands of reed Phragmites. Fringing the Siyayi Lagoon is a swamp-forest with Barringtonia and Hibiscus. By contrast, around the Umlalazi Lagoon is a beautiful mangrove forest of Avicennia and Bruguiera, with saltmarsh in the upper tidal reaches.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 3 for key species. The belts of coastal forest are important wintering grounds for Zoothera guttata, Telophorus quadricolor, Cossypha dichroa, Cercotrichas signata, Lamprotornis corruscus and Nectarinia veroxii. The mangroves in the estuary hold a healthy wintering population of Halcyon senegaloides. The freshwater portion of the river has many backwaters, with overhanging vegetation suitable for Gorsachius leuconotus, Podica senegalensis and Scotopelia peli.

Non-bird biodiversity: The orchid Didymophlexis verrucosa is endemic to the reserve and its immediate surrounds. Two Red Data fish, Eliotris melanosoma and Taenioides jacksoni (LR/nt) are almost certainly present in the estuary.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Southern Banded Snake-eagle Circaetus fasciolatus resident  1998  present  A3  Near Threatened 
Corncrake Crex crex winter  present  A1  Least Concern 
Mangrove Kingfisher Halcyon senegaloides resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Four-coloured Bush-shrike Telophorus quadricolor resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-bellied Glossy-starling Lamprotornis corruscus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Spotted Ground-thrush Zoothera guttata winter  present  A1  Endangered 
Mouse-coloured Sunbird Nectarinia veroxii resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2014 medium unfavourable medium
Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - nomadic grazing likely in long term (beyond 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
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 likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now whole area/population (>90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
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 fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - type unknown/unrecorded happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - sewage happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Forest   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable
Grassland   0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable
Marine Coastal/Supratidal   0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable
Wetlands (inland) Mangroves  0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Umlalazi Provincial Nature Reserve 1,189 protected area contains site 1,318  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Coastal lagoons; Mangroves  -
Artificial - terrestrial   6%
Unknown   12%
Grassland   -
Forest   81%
Marine Coastal/Supratidal   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 100%

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Umlalazi Nature Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/09/2015

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