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Location South Africa, Eastern Cape,Western Cape
Central coordinates 23o 42.00' East  33o 37.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 172,000 ha
Altitude 376 - 1,757m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary The Kouga-Baviaanskloof Complex encompasses large areas of mountainous terrain in the western portion of the Eastern Cape. The KIBA and the surrounding plains hold a remarkable number of avian habitats, making it home to approximately 300 bird species. The mountain ranges hold all the Cape Fynbos restricted-range and biome-restricted assemblage birds.

Site description The Kouga–Baviaanskloof complex encompasses large areas of mountainous terrain in the western portion of the Eastern Cape. The Kouga and Baviaanskloof ranges are c.120 km long and run parallel to one another from Uniondale in the west to Patensie in the east. The Baviaanskloof valley, which separates the ranges, lies c.40 km due north of the coastline, and to the south the Langkloof and Tsitsikamma ranges separate these mountains from the coast. The larger and more extensive Kouga range contains many high peaks at its central and western extent, up to 1,757 m. The eastern edge of the range is less rugged, and consists of plateaus and rolling hills falling below 900 m. Relative to Kouga, the linear Baviaanskloof range is far narrower and much more uniform in shape, peaking at 1,625 m. The north-facing slopes drop steeply into the Great Karoo.

Three main rivers drain the area: the Baviaans and Kouga rivers flow eastwards into the Kouga Dam, and the Groot river flows through a spectacular gorge before joining the Gamtoos river, which runs to the coast. The mainly leached and acid soils support mesic mountain fynbos. Trees of Pappea, Schotia and Euclea are common. Patches of Afromontane forest occur in deep, secluded, mesic gorges and are dominated by trees of Cunonia, Halleria, Pterocelastrus, Rapanea and Podocarpus. Arid veld occurs on the xeric northern slopes, dominated by Aloe, Euphorbia and Crassula. Spekboomveld is found on the steepest slopes at lowest altitude and is dominated by Portulacaria and Putterlickia. On the plains of the Great Karoo, karroid scrub appears, dominated by Tetragonia, Pteronia, Euclea, Euphorbia, Crassula and Cotyledon.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The Kouga–Baviaanskloof complex and the surrounding plains hold a remarkable number of avian habitats, making it home to approximately 300 bird species. Within the low fynbos scrub, Sarothrura affinis is found and the western race (nana) of Turnix hottentotta is suspected. Nectarinia violacea is widespread in ericas, while Promerops cafer and Serinus leucopterus occur in the proteoid elements and tall scrub. Francolinus capensis, Pycnonotus capensis and Serinus totta are widespread within the fynbos, while Bradypterus victorini is found in moist seeps in the hilly areas. Geocolaptes olivaceus is common on most rocky slopes above 1,000 m, while Chaetops frenatus is inexplicably rare, with a few records from the western Baviaanskloof area. The isolated forest patches, particularly in the south, hold several forest endemics, including Campethera notata and Serinus scotops.

The Great Karoo plains and northern foothills of the complex hold Eupodotis vigorsii, Cercomela sinuata and Malcorus pectoralis. Serinus alario occurs occasionally, whenever there is seeding grass and water. The belts of riverine Acacia woodland hold Phragmacia substriata, Sylvia layardi and Parus afer. Onychognathus nabouroup occurs in rocky gorges and kloofs. Several small roosts of Falco naumanni occur; the birds disperse during the day to forage on the plains. Furthermore, the coastal grassland belt to the south holds Grus paradisea, Neotis denhami and Circus maurus.

Non-bird biodiversity: This area is thought to hold in excess of 2,000 plant species, and there are many endemic species of Ericaceae and Restionaceae in the southern Kouga–Baviaanskloof complex. Among herptiles, Goggia hewitti has most of its global range restricted to the Baviaanskloof mountains and the rare Lamprophis fuscus (LR/nt) has been recorded here, as has the highly localized Heleophryne regis and an as-yet-undescribed species of Bradypodion.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Cape Francolin Pternistis capensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black Harrier Circus maurus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Knysna Woodpecker Campethera notata resident  1998  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Ground Woodpecker Geocolaptes olivaceus resident  present  A1  Least Concern 
Cape Bulbul Pycnonotus capensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Victorin's Scrub-warbler Bradypterus victorini resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Cape Rock-jumper Chaetops frenatus resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Orange-breasted Sunbird Nectarinia violacea resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Cape Sugarbird Promerops cafer resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Protea Canary Serinus leucopterus resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Least Concern 
Cape Siskin Serinus totta resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2012 high unfavourable medium
Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - shifting agriculture happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - agro-industry grazing, ranching or farmin happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
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 - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - persecution/control happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
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
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale 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 habitat shifting and alteration likely in long term (beyond 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather storms and floods happening now 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%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Energy production and mining renewable energy likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Geological events avalanches/landslides happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases introduced genetic material likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases problematic native species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of surface water (agricultural use) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - nutrient loads happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution air-borne pollutants - type unknown/unrecorded likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - type unknown/unrecorded likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution garbage & solid waste happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now 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%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Forest   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable
Grassland   0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable
Shrubland   0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable

Most of site (50-90%) covered (including the most critical parts for important bird species)  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Baviaanskloof State Forest 66,611 protected area contained by site 66,611  
Baviaanskloof Conservation Area Provincial Nature Reserve 27,251 protected area contained by site 15,493  
Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage Site 553,000 protected area overlaps with site 144,568  

Habitats

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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -
water management 15%
nature conservation and research 100%

References Cowling (1992), Euston-Brown (1995), McGill (1992), Richardson et al. (1992), van Wilgen et al. (1992).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kouga - Baviaanskloof Complex. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/09/2015

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