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Location Zambia, Luapula,Northern
Central coordinates 29o 34.20' East  8o 42.06' South
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i
Area 310,000 ha
Altitude 900 - 1,425m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Zambian Ornithological Society (Partner Designate)

Site description Lying in the far north of the country, between Lakes Mweru and Tanganyika, the park encompasses a third lake, from which it takes its name. Until recently the water-level fluctuated both seasonally and over longer cycles and much of the wetland was swamp. However, a dam has been built and a large proportion of this habitat has been flooded. The lake and surrounding areas lie at comparatively low altitude, between 900–1,000 m, and itigi thicket is the dominant vegetation-type. Further west, the land gradually rises and reaches over 1,400 m where the terrain is rugged, hilly and clad in miombo. A 0>single road bisects the park running roughly north–south along the western shore of the lake, and there are no tourist facilities.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 3 for key species. Waterbirds can be numerous at times and the lake shore has in the past supported large numbers of migrant waders. Balaeniceps rex was once a regularly seen resident, but its recent status is uncertain—it is likely to have suffered from the increase in water-level. In 1955, over 600 pairs of Phoenicopterus minor nested, probably unsuccessfully, although the site lies on the periphery of this species’s normal breeding range. More than 3,000 Pelecanus onocrotalus were present in 1954. Species characteristic of the thicket include Ceuthmochares aereus, Pitta angolensis, Nicator gularis, Telophorus multicolor and Ploceus bicolor. Birds of more open habitats include Corythaixoides personatus and Uraeginthus bengalus and the miombo remains largely unexplored.

Non-bird biodiversity: A wide variety of mammals occur, including Tragelaphus spekii (LR/nt) and Cephalophus silvicultor (LR/nt).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor breeding  1955  600 breeding pairs  A1  Near Threatened 
African Openbill Anastomus lamelligerus non-breeding  1998  1,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis non-breeding  1998  10,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Shoebill Balaeniceps rex resident  1998  unknown  A1  Vulnerable 
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus non-breeding  1998  1,800 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Coppery-tailed Coucal Centropus cupreicaudus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Böhm's Bee-eater Merops boehmi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chirping Cisticola Cisticola pipiens resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Katanga Masked-weaver Ploceus katangae resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Firefinch Lagonosticta nitidula resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2005 medium favourable low
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Shrubland   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  Unknown  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Mweru-Wantipa National Park 313,400 is identical to site 313,400  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   1%
Wetlands (inland)   47%
Shrubland   4%
Forest   46%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
water management -

References Brown (1957), Clarke and Loe (1974).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Mweru Wantipa National Park. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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