Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Katberg - Readsdale forest complex
South Africa, Eastern Cape
26o 35.00' East 32o 36.00' South
A1, A2, A3
880 - 1,828m
Year of IBA assessment
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.