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Location Zambia, Southern
Central coordinates 26o 4.00' East  17o 56.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i
Area 8,600 ha
Altitude 600 - 900m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Zambian Ornithological Society (Partner Designate)

Site description The site comprises the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and the adjacent Batoka Gorge which extends downstream as far as the confluence of the Zambezi with the Kalomo river. At 6,600 ha, the park is Zambia’s smallest, but it is the most popular as it flanks a stretch of the Zambezi river just south of Livingstone that includes the Victoria Falls. As well as riparian habitats such as sandbars and fringing forest, there is woodland (mainly mopane) and the immense basalt gorge below the falls (much of which is over 100 m deep).

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 3 for key species. The site is most important for the species occurring in and around the gorge. Falco fasciinucha has been recorded with some regularity and is known to nest here—Hartley (1993) estimated that 8–10 pairs occurred in the gorge along 60 km of its length—but it is perhaps not as common as some local tour operators might suggest, possibly due to confusion with other species such as Falco peregrinus. Other breeding species of interest include Ciconia nigra, Aquila verreauxii and Apus barbatus and, along the river above the falls, Gorsachius leuconotus, Podica senegalensis and Glareola nuchalis.

Non-bird biodiversity: A wide variety of mammals occur, including Loxodonta africana (EN).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black Stork Ciconia nigra resident  7 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Black Stork Ciconia nigra winter  20 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Taita Falcon Falco fasciinucha resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Rock Pratincole Glareola nuchalis winter  300 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Coppery-tailed Coucal Centropus cupreicaudus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Racquet-tailed Roller Coracias spatulatus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Kurrichane Thrush Turdus libonyanus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-headed Black-chat Myrmecocichla arnoti resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Miombo Rock-thrush Monticola angolensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-breasted Sunbird Nectarinia talatala resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Firefinch Lagonosticta nitidula resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Broad-tailed Paradise-whydah Vidua obtusa resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2010 high near favourable medium
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - unspecified species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Shrubland   0 0 good (> 90%) moderate (70-90%) near favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  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)  
Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park 6,600 protected area contained by site 6,600  
Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria Falls World Heritage Site 6,860 protected area contained by site 3,779  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   49%
Shrubland   43%
Forest   6%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

References Clarke and Loe (1974), Dowsett (1975), Hartley (1993).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park and Batoka Gorge. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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