email a friend
printable version
Location South Africa, Eastern Cape
Central coordinates 27o 8.00' East  32o 39.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 42,000 ha
Altitude 496 - 2,016m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Site description The centre of this site lies c.20 km north-west of King William’s Town and 24 km south-west of Stutterheim. The IBA consists of a series of montane forest blocks surrounding fragmented urban and rural areas. The forest complex runs from Hogsback State Forest in the east to Fort Cunningham State Forest in the west, and includes large State-owned forest blocks as well as smaller patches which provide continuity between the larger blocks, especially in the Keiskammahoek area. The boundaries are not distinct and the forests merge with the rural and urban areas on the borders of the IBA.

The area is generally rugged and comprises cliffs, steep slopes and thickly forested gorges, with several high peaks such as Elandsberg (2,016 m) and Gaika’s Kop (1,963 m). There are numerous perennial and non-perennial streams. The largest of these, the Buffalo river, feeds the Maden and Rooikrantz dams, which supply water to the greater King William’s Town/Bisho District. The Amatole mountains support a diverse array of plant communities, with 442 plant species described from the area. The forest complex holds both wet and dry forests, with scrub-forest at lower altitudes. Dominant trees of the canopy include Podocarpus, Xymalos, Rapanea, Ptaeroxylon, Canthium, Celtis, Trichocladus, Curtisia and Vepris. Pinus plantations, which abut the indigenous forests directly, occur as small, isolated, scattered pockets throughout the area. The highest areas, particularly in the rain-shadow, are characterized by a mixture of montane grassland and fynbos heath.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black Harrier Circus maurus resident  present [units unknown]  A1  Vulnerable 
Mountain Buzzard Buteo oreophilus resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Knysna Turaco Tauraco corythaix resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Knysna Woodpecker Campethera notata resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Ground Woodpecker Geocolaptes olivaceus resident  present [units unknown]  A1  Least Concern 
Olive Bush-shrike Telophorus olivaceus resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
African Scrub-warbler Bradypterus barratti resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Black-bellied Glossy-starling Lamprotornis corruscus resident  1998    Least Concern 
Drakensberg Rockjumper Chaetops aurantius resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A1, A3  Least Concern 
Orange Ground-thrush Zoothera gurneyi resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Chorister Robin-chat Cossypha dichroa resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Brown Scrub-robin Erythropygia signata resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2  Least Concern 
Buff-streaked Chat Oenanthe bifasciata resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A1, A3  Least Concern 
Mouse-coloured Sunbird Nectarinia veroxii resident  1998    Least Concern 
Gurney's Sugarbird Promerops gurneyi resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Cape Sugarbird Promerops cafer resident  1998    Least Concern 
Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Forest Canary Serinus scotops resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Hogsback State Forest DWAF (Dept. Water & Forestry) Forest Area 4,086 protected area contained by site 9,738  

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

Name Year formed
Cata, Eastern Cape Site Support Group 2007

Habitats

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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 40%
nature conservation and research 1%

Other biodiversity The tributaries of the Kieskamma and Buffalo river systems, which occur within the IBA, hold two endemic threatened and highly localized fish species, Sandelia bainsii (EN) and Barbus trevelyani (CR). Among herptiles, the Amatoles are the only home to the extremely range-restricted Bufo amatolicus (VU) and, along with the Katberg-Readsdale forests (IBA ZA070), they also support Anhydrophyrne rattrayi, which is endemic to both of these mountain blocks. The Amatoles also support the South African endemic Afroedura amatolica, Bradypodion ventrale and an isolated population of Macrelaps microlepidotus.

References Castley and Kerley (in press), Castley (1996), 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).

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 (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Amatole Forest Complex. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/04/2014

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