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Location South Africa, Eastern Cape
Central coordinates 26o 35.00' East  32o 36.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 20,000 ha
Altitude 880 - 1,828m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary The centre of this IBA lies in the Mpofu District approximately 80 km west of King William's Town. The forests hold a considerable number of Cape Parrot Poicephalus robustus robustus, Orange Ground-Thrush Zoothera gurneyi and Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus.

Site description The centre of this IBA lies in the Mpofu District c.80 km west of King William’s Town; it consists of several interconnected montane forest blocks, the rolling grasslands of the Mpofu Game Reserve, and the surrounding fragmented urban and rural areas. Much of the area comprises steep cliff-faces with numerous small perennial and non-perennial streams. The area has several high peaks, including Katberg (1,828 m) and Devil Bellow’s Neck (1,726 m). The region supports an array of diverse plant communities, including both wet and dry forests, with scrub-forest and rolling grasslands at lower altitudes. Dominant plants of the forest canopy include Podocarpus, Xymalos, Rapanea, Ptaeroxylon and Vepris. Pinus plantations, which abut the indigenous forests directly, occur as small, isolated, scattered pockets throughout the area.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The forests in this IBA hold a considerable number of the escarpment form of Poicephalus robustus robustus. Populations of Zoothera gurneyi and Lioptilus nigricapillus are also found here. Other forest specials include Buteo oreophilus, Tauraco corythaix, Campethera notata, Cossypha dichroa, Cercotrichas signata and Serinus scotops. At higher altitudes, where the barren rocky slopes become prominent, Geocolaptes olivaceus, Chaetops aurantius, Saxicola bifasciata and Monticola explorator become common. In the low-altitude rolling grasslands Circus maurus, Vanellus melanopterus, Neotis denhami, Grus paradisea and Balearica regulorum occur.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Katberg-Readsdale forest complex, along with the Amatole forests (IBA ZA071), supports the highly localized Anhydrophyrne rattrayi and Afroedura amatolica.

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 
Black Harrier Circus maurus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Knysna Turaco Tauraco corythaix resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Knysna Woodpecker Campethera notata resident  1998  present  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Ground Woodpecker Geocolaptes olivaceus resident  present  A1  Least Concern 
Olive Bush-shrike Telophorus olivaceus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
African Scrub-warbler Bradypterus barratti 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 
Drakensberg Rockjumper Chaetops aurantius resident  present  A1  Least Concern 
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 
Brown Scrub-robin Erythropygia signata resident  1998  present  A2  Least Concern 
Buff-streaked Chat Oenanthe bifasciata resident  1998  present  A1, 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

2014 very high very unfavourable low
Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - nomadic grazing happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agriculture and aquaculture wood and pulp plantations (includes afforestation) - agro-industry plantations happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Biological resource use gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - unintentional effects (species is not the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather drought likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather storms and floods likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather temperature extremes likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - small dams happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - soil erosion, sedimentation happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Forest Montane forest - mixed  0 0 poor (40-69%) moderate (70-90%) very unfavourable
Grassland Grassland - montane  0 0 poor (40-69%) poor (40-69%) very unfavourable
Shrubland   0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable

Some of site covered (10-49%)  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Mpofu Nature Reserve 7,500 protected area contained by site 7,500  

Local conservation groups The local conservation group below is working to support conservation at this IBA.

Name Year formed
Cape Parrot working group 1997

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Grassland - montane  -
Forest Montane forest - mixed  -
Shrubland Shrubland - Cape (fynbos)  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
forestry 10%
nature conservation and research 100%

References Castley (1996), Castley and Kerley (in press), Cawe and McKenzie (1989a,b), Commins (1962), Everard and Hardy (1992, 1993a,b,c), Feely (1954), Gaylard and Castley (1996), Hardy and Everard (1993), Johnson and Cawe (1987), Maddock (1986), Poduschka (1980), Skead (1964a,b, 1971), Story (1952), Thompson (1991), Wells (1973).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Katberg - Readsdale forest complex. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/07/2015

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