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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



Summary The Outeniquas is a mountain range which dominates the landscape at the junction of the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces. The stark variation in altitude and conditions yields a wide diversity of habitats. The IBA is extremely rich in fynbos, forest and arid-zone birds, supporting a host of restricted-range and biome-restricted assemblage species such as Cape Bulbul Pycnonotus capensis, Orange-breasted Sunbird Anthobaphes violacea and Cape Siskin Crithagra totta.

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.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The IBA is extremely rich in birds of fynbos, forest and the arid zone. At high altitudes, the fynbos holds Nectarinia violacea and Serinus totta. Promerops cafer and Serinus leucopterus breed and forage in the larger Protea stands. Low, dense resteoid thicket holds Sarothrura affinis and may hold Turnix hottentotta nana. Bradypterus victorini is locally common in the seeps and neighbouring mesic fynbos, and Chaetops frenatus and Geocolaptes olivaceus occur on exposed rocky slopes, primarily above 1,000 m. The lowland karroid plains north of the range are particularly good for Eupodotis vigorsii, Cercomela schlegelii and Malcorus pectoralis. Circus maurus and Falco naumanni are occasionally seen quartering the plains. Serinus alario occurs whenever seeding grass and water abound. The isolated forest patches on the southern slopes of the Outeniquas hold several forest endemics including Tauraco corythaix, Campethera notata, Telophorus olivaceus, Cossypha dichroa, Bradypterus sylvaticus and Serinus scotops. Other forest species include Apaloderma narina and Stephanoaetus coronatus.

Non-bird 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.

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 

IBA Monitoring

2012 high not assessed medium
unset
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - agro-industry grazing, ranching or farmin happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture wood and pulp plantations (includes afforestation) - agro-industry plantations happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agriculture and aquaculture wood and pulp plantations (includes afforestation) - small-holder plantations happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
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 - unintentional effects (species is not the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
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 happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
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
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Energy production and mining renewable energy likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible 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
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases introduced genetic material happening now 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 some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - large dams 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 majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid 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 - smog happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - type unknown/unrecorded happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution excess energy - light pollution happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution industrial & military effluents - type unknown/unrecorded happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
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 likely in long term (beyond 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines likely in long term (beyond 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Forest Montane forest - mixed  0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable
Shrubland Shrubland - Cape (fynbos)  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)  
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
WESSA 0

Habitats

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%

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Outeniqua mountains. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/09/2015

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