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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 

IBA Monitoring

2013 very high not assessed low
unset
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - agro-industry grazing, ranching or farmin happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - nomadic grazing happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agricultural expansion and intensification wood and pulp plantations (includes afforestation) - agro-industry plantations happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Agricultural expansion and intensification wood and pulp plantations (includes afforestation) - small-holder plantations happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather drought likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather storms and floods likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather temperature extremes likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Energy production and mining oil and gas drilling likely in long term (beyond 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Invasive and other problematic species and genes invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - small dams likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration very high
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species 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
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - persecution/control likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - nutrient loads happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Pollution air-borne pollutants - type unknown/unrecorded likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution garbage & solid waste happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration high
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
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 majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Grassland   0 0 very poor (< 40%) poor (40-69%) very unfavourable

Sagittarius serpentarius Secretarybird 5 5 breeding pairs 100 not assessed
Geronticus calvus Southern Bald Ibis 40 75 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Falco biarmicus Lanner Falcon 20 20 breeding pairs 100 not assessed
Polemaetus bellicosus Martial Eagle 3 3 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Circus ranivorus African Marsh-harrier 5 5 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Neotis denhami Denham's Bustard 15 15 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Sarothrura affinis Striped Flufftail 15 15 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Crex crex Corncrake 50 50 individuals 100 favourable
Balearica regulorum Grey Crowned-crane 30 30 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Anthropoides paradiseus Blue Crane 40 3 breeding pairs 8 very unfavourable
Bugeranus carunculatus Wattled Crane 2 3 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Vanellus melanopterus Black-winged Lapwing 100 100 breeding pairs 100 not assessed
Tyto capensis African Grass-owl 30 30 breeding pairs 100 not assessed
Bucorvus leadbeateri Southern Ground-hornbill 15 15 individuals 100 favourable
Hirundo atrocaerulea Blue Swallow 55 33 breeding pairs 60 unfavourable
Anthus chloris Yellow-breasted Pipit 80 80 individuals 100 favourable

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  low 

Habitats

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 http://www.birdlife.org on 28/12/2014

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