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Location South Africa, Western Cape
Central coordinates 22o 37.00' East  33o 53.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 180,000 ha
Altitude 300 - 1,521m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa

Site description The Outeniquas rise from the coastal plain north of Mossel Bay and run c.100 km to the east before dropping into the Keurbooms river valley, which enters the ocean at Plettenberg Bay. They run parallel to the Swartberg (IBA ZA085). The southern slopes are gentle, and rise to form a series of peaks; the steep northern slopes drop sharply into the Little Karoo, which forms a broad low-lying valley north of the Outeniquas. The stark variation in altitude and conditions yields a wide diversity of habitats, resulting in a distinct contrast between the moist high-altitude montane fynbos, the karroid and renosterveld shrubland on the northern slopes, where low rainfall promotes non-fynbos scrub, and Afromontane forest on the mesic south-facing slopes.

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 
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  A1, 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 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Outeniqua Mountain Catchment Area State Forest 0 protected area contained by site 158,515  

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

Name Year formed


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -
water management 88%
forestry 10%
nature conservation and research 38%

Other biodiversity This area is thought to hold over 2,000 plant species, many of which are endemic and threatened. Barbus tenuis (EN) is restricted to the tributaries of the Keurbooms and Gourits rivers; the former forms the northern boundary of this IBA and may hold small populations of this threatened and highly localized fish species.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Outeniqua mountains. Downloaded from on 30/07/2014

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