|Location||South Africa, Eastern Cape|
|Central coordinates||25o 35.00' East 33o 51.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, A4iii|
|Altitude||0 - 10m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description The Swartkops estuary is located on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, 15 km north of the harbour. 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, which flow parallel to each other, in relatively steep narrow valleys, and have their confluence shortly after entering the flood-plain. The estuary is tidal for c.16 km upstream, the upper reaches are narrow (c.90 m wide), channel-like, and twist their way through steep banks of muddy sand. In the upper estuary there is a small, sandy intertidal area. The estuary widens slightly and becomes less convoluted between Bar None saltpans and Brickfields in the middle reaches. Below Brickfields, the steep banks flatten and the estuary broadens considerably (c.350 m wide) into open mudflats.The permanently open mouth is covered with eelgrass Zostera beds, which disappeared in 1983 resulting in the formation of extensive intertidal mudflats. The Zostera has since returned and the mudflat area has receded. Redhouse saltpan is situated on the north bank of the Swartkops flood-plain, within the Swartkops Valley Nature Reserve. Chatty saltpans occur south of the Swartkops–Redhouse railway-line near Brickfields. Three islands occur at Redhouse saltpan. The primary plants in the saltpans are the macrophytes Ruppia and Enteromorpha. The terrestrial vegetation surrounding the estuary consists of coastal dune herbland, flood-plain scrubland, grassland and thicket.
|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 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)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
|nature conservation and research||100%|
Other biodiversity The reptiles Bradypodion ventrale and Scelotes anguineus, two Algoa Bay endemics, are resident.
References Baird et al. (1986), Crawford et al. (1982a), Martin (1991b), Martin and Baird (1987, 1988a,b), Martin and Randall (1987).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Swartkops Estuary - Redhouse and Chatty Saltpans. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/07/2014
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