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Location South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal
Central coordinates 30o 37.00' East  29o 12.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 5,000 ha
Altitude 920 - 1,340m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa

Summary This IBA consists of a disconnected series of grassland patches on farms located in the KZN midlands. The quoted area of 5 000 ha refers to the sum of these patches. The region is bounded roughly as follows: in the west by the Umtamvuna River; in the south and east by the 900 m a.s.l. contour line – below this the climate is too warm and dry for mistbelt grassland; and in the north by high ground above about 1 300 m a.s.l. where the climate becomes too cold for mistbelt grassland. The terrain consists of rolling hills, dissected by rivers and streams. Soils are often deep, allowing small streams to run underground, and sinkholes are a typical feature. Altitude (of the IBAs – intervening ground may have lower-lying valleys) ranges from 920 to 1 340 m a.s.l. The principal vegetation is, or was before most of it was transformed, Midlands Mistbelt Grassland. The farms listed support viable units of mistbelt grassland and pairs of Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea or Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus, but all are important for the conservation of grassland birds in the district. The climate is temperate. Mist is frequent in summer, as is frost in winter.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus resident  30-40 breeding pairs  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus winter  60-120 individuals  A4i  Vulnerable 
Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres winter  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Corncrake Crex crex winter  present  A1  Least Concern 
Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea breeding  present  A1  Vulnerable 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   -
Artificial - terrestrial   21%
Unknown   2%
Shrubland   1%
Savanna   3%
Forest   70%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 60%
urban/industrial/transport -
nature conservation and research 10%
water management 85%

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: KwaZulu-Natal Mistbelt Grasslands. Downloaded from on 21/10/2014

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