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Location South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal
Central coordinates 30o 16.00' East  29o 24.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 1,748 ha
Altitude 1,200 - 1,720m
Year of IBA assessment 1998

BirdLife South Africa

Summary The site is located 19 km north of Howick. The western part of the reserve consists mainly of evergreen forest, with some Natal Mistbelt grassland in places it is supplemented with Protea forming sparse open woodland. The forest holds many important species, including small numbers of the threatened Cape Parrot Poicephalus robustus and Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon Columba delegorguei.

Site description The site is located 19 km north of Howick. It is not the same entity as the Karkloof Forest, which is part of the KwaZulu-Natal mistbelt forest (IBA ZA053). The western part of the reserve consists mainly of evergreen forest, with some Natal mistbelt grassland. Trees of Podocarpus, Celtis, Combretum, Cryptocarya and Xymalos are characteristic of the mature forest. In the lower forest strata Halleria, Maytenus and Carissa are typical. Forest-edges and forest patches in early successional stages have shrubs of Leucosidea, Buddleja and Rhamnus. In places in the grassland, Protea forms sparse open woodland. The eastern part of the reserve is mostly vlei and wet grassland (highland sourveld). There are two major vleis, Melmoth (104 ha) and Nyumbhakazi (35 ha). These are mainly sedge meadows with Cyperus, Carex, Mariscus, Pycreus and Kyllinga.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The forest holds many important species, including small numbers of Poicephalus robustus robustus and Columba delegorguei. Guttera pucherani symonsi, an isolated and endemic subspecies, is found only here and in a couple of small forests nearby. Bird parties are frequent and typical forest birds include Ceratogymna bucinator, Apaloderma narina, Zoothera gurneyi, Lioptilus nigricapillus, Tauraco corythaix, Coracina caesia, Cossypha dichroa, Pogonocichla stellata, Phylloscopus ruficapilla, Trochocercus cyanomelas, Telophorus olivaceus, Estrilda melanotis and Serinus scotops. The quiet forest river streams hold Motacilla clara. Promerops gurneyi occurs where Protea woodland dominates the grassland. The surrounding grasslands hold Sarothrura affinis, breeding Grus paradisea and Neotis denhami. Gyps coprotheres are regular visitors. Grus carunculatus and Tyto capensis are resident in the vleis. Monticola explorator and Saxicola bifasciata inhabit rocky outcrops.

Non-bird biodiversity: Several rare trees are found in the forest including Ocotea bullata, Curtisia dentata and Scolopia flanaganii, with Alberta magna (LR/nt) on the margin. Near-endemic plants in the grassland include Geranium natalense and Dierama luteo-albidum. Mammals include the South African endemic Pelea capreolus. An exceptionally rare and localized butterfly, Orachrysops ariadne (VU), occurs just outside the reserve and may well be found within it.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Buteo oreophilus resident  1998  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Striped Flufftail Sarothrura affinis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Knysna Turaco Tauraco corythaix resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Olive Bush-shrike Telophorus olivaceus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Orange Ground-thrush Zoothera gurneyi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chorister Robin-chat Cossypha dichroa resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Buff-streaked Chat Oenanthe bifasciata resident  1998  present  A1, A3  Least Concern 
Gurney's Sugarbird Promerops gurneyi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Forest Canary Serinus scotops resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2006 medium not assessed high
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Biological resource use gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Forest   0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable
Grassland   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Wetlands (inland)   0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable

Bugeranus carunculatus Wattled Crane 15 29 adults only 100 favourable
Anthropoides paradiseus Blue Crane 15 12 adults only 80 near favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  high 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Karkloof Provincial Nature Reserve 2,082 protected area contains site 1,748  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   -
Wetlands (inland)   13%
Shrubland   30%
Forest   56%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 100%
water management 80%

References Taylor (1961), Taylor (1997b).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Karkloof Nature Reserve. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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