email a friend
printable version
Location South Africa, Eastern Cape
Central coordinates 28o 37.00' East  32o 0.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A4ii
Area 2,000 ha
Altitude 280 - 625m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

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.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres resident  60-90 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Vulnerable 
Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres winter  150-250 individuals  A4ii  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2011 high not assessed negligible
unset
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - persecution/control likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather storms and floods likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development likely in short term (within 4 years) 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) 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%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Rocky areas Inselbergs, kopjes & inland cliffs  0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Gyps coprotheres Cape Vulture 90 135 breeding pairs 100 favourable

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Unknown   -
Forest   100%
Rocky areas Inselbergs, kopjes & inland cliffs  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
unknown -
nature conservation and research 100%
tourism/recreation -

References Jarvis et al. (1974), Vernon and Piper (1988), Vernon et al. (1980, 1982, 1983, 1984).

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Collywobbles Vulture Colony. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/08/2015

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife