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Location South Africa, Eastern Cape
Central coordinates 26o 16.00' East  33o 42.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 15,460 ha
Altitude 0 - 408m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa

Site description This IBA is a stretch of coastal dunefield, 57.5 km in length and c.2.1 km wide, running from the Sundays river mouth to Cannon Rocks. The IBA includes Alexandria Forest and the coastal grasslands inland of the dunefield. The Woody Cape Nature Reserve holds the Alexandria Dunefield, which consists of open sand and several series of dune-slacks, interdune hollows and depressions between the dunes. This vast dune sea is considered by some to be the best example of a mobile dune system in the world. The dune-slacks support a distinctive coastal dune herbland. In stable dunes, thicket vegetation comprises many forest-precursor tree species. The dense, low-altitude (100–357 m) Alexandria State Forest, situated on the northern shores of Algoa Bay, lies inland of Cape Padrone. The forest backs the dunefield on the eastern extreme where rainfall is considerably higher. Although the vegetation is designated as Tongaland–Pondoland lowland forest, it has Afromontane affinities. Dominant trees include Ochna, Apodytes, Cassine and Sideroxylon, while frequently encountered sub-dominants include Euclea, Pittosporum, Rapanea, Strychnos, Pterocelastrus and Schotia.

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 
African Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini breeding  50-249 individuals  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Damara Tern Sternula balaenarum breeding  common  A1  Near Threatened 
Knysna Turaco Tauraco corythaix resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Knysna Woodpecker Campethera notata resident  1998  present  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Olive Bush-shrike Telophorus olivaceus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Knysna Warbler Bradypterus sylvaticus resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla 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 
Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Forest Canary Serinus scotops resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Agricultural Land Designation Not Known 4,362 protected area contained by site 4,362  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Sea Sand dunes and beaches - coastal  -
Grassland   -
Forest Montane forest - mixed  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 20%
tourism/recreation -
fisheries/aquaculture -
nature conservation and research 7%

Other biodiversity The cycad Encephalartos arenarius has a global range restricted to sandy habitats of the coastal dune-forest and bush in the Alexandria District, where it is found within the site. Among reptiles, the global ranges of Nucras taeniolata, Scelotes anguinus and Cordylus tropidosternum are virtually restricted to the Algoa Bay region of the Eastern Cape and a large proportion of their populations occur within the site. Habitat exists for Bitis albanica, an Algoa Bay endemic, but it is yet to be recorded in the site. The coastal thicket and dunes support Bradypodion ventrale, Chersina angulata, Leptotyphlops nigricans and Acontias meleagris.

References Briers (1993), Hockey (1983), Jeffery (1987), Johnson and Cawe (1987), Martin (1991a), McLachlan et al. (1980), Randall and McLachlan (1982), Underhill et al. (1980), van der Merwe (1988), van Teylingen et al. (1993), Ward (1990), Watson (1992, 1995), Watson and Kerley (1995), Watson et al. (1996, 1997), Young (1987).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Alexandria coastal belt. Downloaded from on 31/07/2014

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