Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Mweru Wantipa National Park
29o 34.20' East 8o 42.06' South
A1, A3, A4i
900 - 1,425m
Year of IBA assessment
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).