email a friend
printable version
Location Zambia, Western
Central coordinates 23o 2.00' East  15o 17.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 730,000 ha
Altitude 1,000 - 1,060m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Zambian Ornithological Society (Partner Designate)

Site description The West Zambezi Game Management Area is situated to the west of the main river channel of the immense Zambezi flood-plain. Following good rains, much of the area becomes inundated between about February and June. At this time the area near Mongu hosts the traditional Kuomboka ceremony of the Losi people, when the king (Litunga) is transported, in an ornate boat, to his palace on higher ground. During the dry season, people move into temporary villages and cultivate large areas of the flood-plain. Much of the area is poorly known and more work is required to define the exact limits of an IBA.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Spur-winged Goose Plectropterus gambensis winter  3,750 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
African Openbill Anastomus lamelligerus winter  1,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
African Spoonbill Platalea alba winter  150 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis winter  10,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Slaty Egret Egretta vinaceigula winter  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Long-tailed Cormorant Microcarbo africanus winter  5,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni winter  present  A1  Least Concern 
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus winter  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus winter  145 individuals  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Kittlitz's Plover Charadrius pecuarius winter  1,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Caspian Plover Charadrius asiaticus winter  200 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Snipe Gallinago media winter  300 individuals  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
African Snipe Gallinago nigripennis winter  500 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Ruff Calidris pugnax winter  20,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Grey-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus winter  1,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida winter  150 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus winter  2,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris winter  100 individuals  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
West Zambezi Game Management Area 3,807,000 protected area overlaps with site 240,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   46%
Grassland   40%
Forest   12%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
hunting -

Other biodiversity An endemic species of Hemisus frog is known from the site. The flora and fauna of the area are poorly known, but very few large mammals remain.

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Barotse Floodplains. Downloaded from on 23/09/2014

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