Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Collywobbles Vulture Colony
South Africa, Eastern Cape
28o 37.00' East 32o 0.00' South
280 - 625m
Year of IBA assessment
BirdLife South Africa
Summary Collywobbles is an ancestral vulture colony occurring along the cliffs of the convoluted gorge formed by the meandering Nbashe River in the Idutywa District. The number of Cape Vultures Gyps coprotheres at Collywobbles has fluctuated dramatically over the last 35 years but a total of 130 - 140 pairs were recorded during the 2011 breeding season.
Site description Collywobbles is an ancestral vulture colony occurring along the cliffs of the convoluted gorge formed by the meandering mBashe river in the Idutywa District (former Transkei). The colony is situated c.5 km from the Collywobbles store. This colony has been in existence since at least the 1890s. The river, which has cut a deep broad gorge, lies 300 m below the surrounding plains.
Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. The number of Gyps coprotheres at Collywobbles has fluctuated dramatically over the last 20 years. Approximately 200 pairs inhabited the cliffs in the late 1970s. Breeding numbers increased sharply in the early 1980s, rising to over 300 pairs, and then stabilized. The elevated total persisted until the end of the decade (at which time it was one of the largest colonies in the world). Numbers then decreased rapidly between 1989 and 1993 before fixing on lowered, more stable totals of 60–90 pairs per year. The vultures have nested on 13 separate cliffs—Main, mSikiti and Ledger cliffs support the largest numbers of breeding pairs and, together, they regularly represent up to 60% of all the breeding vultures at Collywobbles. Annual fluctuations in numbers of breeding birds may be more extreme at the other 10 cliffs.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.