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Location South Africa, Eastern Cape
Central coordinates 25o 35.00' East  33o 51.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 926 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa

Summary The Swartkops Estuary is located on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth. The catchment of this river lies in the Groot Winterhoek Mountains west of Uitenhage. The lower river receives water primarily from the Swartkops and Elands rivers. This complex holds, on average, 14 500 birds each year; occasionally 20 000. Redhouse Saltpan and the Swartkops Estuary each regularly hold more than 4 000 birds a year.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
African Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini winter  frequent  A1  Near Threatened 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta non-breeding  490 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres winter  363 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus breeding  430 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus winter  1,112 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Swartkops Valley Local Authority Nature Reserve Nature Reserve 1,030 protected area overlaps with site 150  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   -
Shrubland   -
Wetlands (inland) Saltpans  -
Forest   100%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
water management 30%
nature conservation and research 100%
water management 60%

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Swartkops Estuary - Redhouse and Chatty Saltpans. Downloaded from on 16/09/2014

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