|Location||Zimbabwe, Mashonaland West Province|
|Central coordinates||30o 46.00' East 17o 52.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A3, A4i, A4iii|
|Altitude||1,370 - 1,515m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description Situated 30 km west of Harare, in the middle of the Mashonaland plateau, nearly half of this park comprises Lake Chivero (26.3 km² when full; formerly Lake McIlwaine), a water reservoir for the capital which was created by damming the Manyame river. The lake is 9.5 m deep on average and has a triangular shape, with the river entering at the south-east end and leaving at the north-west.The park has a very attractive appearance, being a mixture of lake, natural woodland, grassland, and some granite kopje outcrops. These culminate in Bushman’s Point at the eastern end. There are many islands in the lake. Several of the kopjes have San (Bushman) paintings on their sheltered surfaces. The topography, however, is basically flat or slightly undulating, except at the north-western side where the Hunyani Hills rise.The vegetation is almost entirely miombo woodland. The original woodland, particularly on the north bank, was cleared for tobacco farming in the past, but has been regenerating for the past 50 years. Interspersed among the woodlands are many large wooded anthills and areas of grassland. The lake-margins have many patches of reed Phragmites. The waters of the lake have been invaded by several weeds, including the non-native Eichhornia, and also Pistia, Myriophyllum, Lagarosiphon, Azolla and blue-green algae. At times the water seems to be a ‘soup’.The park is given over mainly to water-sports and activities, in particular motorboats, yachts, skiing, canoeing and fishing. Many sites on the banks are clubs that service these activities. There is a research centre and bird sanctuary on the north bank, and a game park with many introduced game species on the opposite south bank. Both north and south banks have tourist chalets and lodges. Many day-trippers are subsistence fishers, who buy a cheap daily permit. There are 26 species of fish in the lake, including five exotics. Much of the water is drawn off from the lake for the city, and there are tributaries (Marimba, Mukuvisi and Nyatsime) flowing into the Manyame river or the dam itself which have major sewage works on them. Also, the Mukuvisi flows right through the industrial sites of Harare.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Whyte's Barbet Stactolaema whytii||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Southern Pochard Netta erythrophthalma||winter||-||830 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Kittlitz's Plover Charadrius pecuarius||winter||-||1,085 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Racquet-tailed Roller Coracias spatulatus||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Miombo Tit Parus griseiventris||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Miombo Wren-warbler Camaroptera undosa||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Kurrichane Thrush Turdus libonyanus||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|White-throated Robin-chat Cossypha humeralis||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Boulder Chat Pinarornis plumosus||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Miombo Rock-thrush Monticola angolensis||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Miombo Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia manoensis||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Broad-tailed Paradise-whydah Vidua obtusa||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Black-eared Seedeater Serinus mennelli||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||unknown||-||20,000 individuals||unknown||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Robert McIlwaine||Recreation Park||6,180||is identical to site||6,180|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Wetlands (inland)||Freshwater lakes and pools||major|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
Other biodiversity Among mammals, several Ceratotherium simum (LR/cd) occur in the park, and confiscated Manis temminckii (LR/nt), a Specially Protected Species, are usually released into the game park. There is also a wildlife conservancy on the south side which, among other species, supports Alcelaphus lichtensteinii (LR/cd).
References Couto and Couto (1999), Marshall (1994), Mhlanga and Madziva (1990), Thornton (1982), Tree (1988).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Robert McIlwaine Recreational Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/09/2014
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