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Location South Africa, Western Cape
Central coordinates 20o 44.00' East  33o 55.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 175,000 ha
Altitude 1,166 - 1,690m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary The southern Langeberg is defined as the Langeberg Range between Kogmanskloof and the Gourits River. The Langeberg is one of several east-west trending mountain ranges in the Western Cape. In the fynbos, the Orange-breasted Sunbird Anthobaphes violacea is widespread in ericas, while the Cape Sugarbird Promerops cafer and Protea Seedeater Crithagra leucoptera also occur here.

Site description The southern Langeberg is defined as the Langeberg Range between Kogmanskloof and the Gourits river. The Langeberg is one of several east–west trending mountain ranges in the Western Cape. The mountain range runs c.170 km from 35 km west of Swellendam in the west, to c.30 km north-east of Riversdale in the east. South of the range the Agulhas Plain and Overberg wheatbelt (IBA ZA094) stretch towards the coast. To the north lie the open plains of the Little Karoo. The area can be divided into three distinct sectors: Marloth Nature Reserve; Boosmansbos Wilderness Area; and the Bergfontein–Rooiwaterspruit–Phesantefontein area which holds Garcia State Forest. The mesic mountain fynbos is dominated by a multitude of plant communities. Afromontane forest patches, found in deep secluded mesic gorges, are dominated by trees such as Cunonia, Halleria, Pterocelastrus, Rapanea and Podocarpus. On the northern slopes and plains of the Little Karoo, karroid scrub appears. The Little Karoo is rocky and hilly, and concentrates run-off into pockets, resulting in a varied flora. On some hills and ridges, renosterbos is frequently present.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. In the fynbos, Nectarinia violacea is widespread in ericas, while Promerops cafer and Serinus leucopterus are almost restricted to the proteoid elements. Francolinus capensis, Pycnonotus capensis and Serinus totta are widespread, while Bradypterus victorini is localized, restricted to moist seeps in hilly areas, where it is common. Chaetops frenatus and Geocolaptes olivaceus are common on most rocky slopes above 1,000 m. Within the low fynbos scrub both Turnix hottentotta and Sarothrura affinis are found. The isolated forest patches in the range hold several forest endemics, including Campethera notata, Bradypterus sylvaticus and Serinus scotops. Other forest species, some of which are at the western limit of their distribution, include Telophorus olivaceus, Apaloderma narina and Stephanoaetus coronatus.

The Little Karoo plains and foothills of the north-facing Langeberg hold Eupodotis vigorsii, Certhilauda albescens, Cercomela sinuata, Cercomela schlegelii and Malcorus pectoralis. Serinus alario occurs whenever there is seeding grass and water. Belts of riverine Acacia woodland and hill scrub provide food, shelter and breeding habitat for many species, including Sylvia layardi and Parus afer. Anthus crenatus, Onychognathus nabouroup and the secretive and localized Euryptila subcinnamomea occur in rocky gorges and kloofs. Other arid-zone species occurring in the Little Karoo portion of the IBA include Melierax canorus, Batis pririt, Stenostira scita and Serinus albogularis.

The agricultural wheat-growing belt to the south, which nestles up against the Langeberg slopes, holds populations of Grus paradisea, Neotis denhami, Circus maurus, Sagittarius serpentarius and Ciconia ciconia, all of which forage regularly within the modified agricultural matrix of the Langeberg.

Non-bird biodiversity: Of the 1,228 plant species recorded in the southern Langeberg, 160 (13%) are restricted to the range. The monotypic family Geissolomataceae is endemic to the range as is the monotypic genus Langebergia (Compositae). There are 48 endemic ericas and 17 endemic restios in the southern Langeberg. This area is also home to several special vertebrate species; Breviceps acutirostris is virtually endemic to the Langeberg. Barbus tenuis (EN) is globally restricted to the tributaries of the Keurbooms and Gourits rivers; the latter forms the eastern border of this IBA and it may hold a small population of this threatened and highly localized fish species. The spectacular Heleophryne purcelli is restricted to perennial streams in forested, boulder-strewn gorges in montane areas; it is endemic to the Western Cape. Other localized amphibians found in the Langeberg include Breviceps fuscus and Strongylopus bonaspei, which are restricted to the Cape Floral Kingdom. Capensibufo tradouwi breeds in moist depressions, vleis and springs, and it is found in the Langeberg and the Cedarberg–Koue Bokkeveld complex (IBA ZA080).

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 
Black Harrier Circus maurus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
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

2013 medium not assessed medium
unset
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - shifting agriculture happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible 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
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species 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 some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Shrubland Shrubland - Cape (fynbos)  0 0 moderate (70-90%) poor (40-69%) very 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)  
Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage Site 553,000 protected area overlaps with site 14,543  
Grootvadersbosch State Forest 2,705 protected area contained by site 10,036  
Marloth Provincial Nature Reserve 11,238 protected area contained by site 11,269  

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 85%
nature conservation and research 40%

References Cowling (1992), McDonnald (1993a,b,c, 1995), Richardson et al. (1992), van Wilgen et al. (1992).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Langeberg Mountains. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/07/2015

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