South-east African coast

Country/Territory Eswatini; Malawi; Mozambique; South Africa; Zimbabwe
Area 87,000 km2
Altitude 0 - 200 m
Priority high
Habitat loss unquantified
Knowledge incomplete

General characteristics

This EBA includes the broad coastal plain of southern Mozambique, northern Natal and the south-eastern extreme of Transvaal in South Africa, and eastern Swaziland. It corresponds to the southern part of the Zanzibar–Inhambane East African coastal mosaic (White 1983). On this sandy plain there is dune forest along the coast, together with a mixture of palm savanna, bush-clump savanna, secondary scrub, riparian forest, wetland vegetation types and sand forest, and Acacia thornveld as another component further inland (Acocks 1988). Some of the restricted-range species occur inland along the valleys of some of the larger rivers, including the Shire river in extreme southern Malawi and several tributaries of the upper Save river in south-east Zimbabwe. This EBA overlaps with the northern coastal section of the South African forests (EBA 089), but the restricted-range species of that EBA are confined to evergreen forest.

Restricted-range species

The restricted-range birds occur in a variety of wooded and open habitats, but not in evergreen forest. Their distribution and status remain poorly known in Mozambique (Clancey 1971)-which is one of the least-known countries ornithologically in south-central and southern Africa (Dowsett 1985)-but are relatively well documented in the South African part of the EBA (Cyrus and Robson 1980, Tarboton et al. 1987). Apalis ruddi and Serinus citrinipectus are recorded from southern Malawi, and S. citrinipectus from south-east Zimbabwe.

Species IUCN Red List category
Rudd's Apalis (Apalis ruddi) LC
Neergaard's Sunbird (Cinnyris neergaardi) NT
Pink-throated Twinspot (Hypargos margaritatus) LC
Lemon-breasted Canary (Crithagra citrinipectus) LC

Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
Country IBA Name IBA Book Code
Eswatini Hlane and Mlawula Game Reserves SZ002
Malawi Lengwe National Park MW021
Mozambique Changelane river gorge MZ002
Mozambique Maputo Special Reserve MZ001
Mozambique Panda Brachystegia woodlands MZ003
Mozambique Pomene MZ005
South Africa Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park ZA046
South Africa iSimangaliso Wetland Park ZA109
South Africa Kosi Bay system ZA039
South Africa Lake St Lucia and Mkuze Swamps ZA044
South Africa Mkuzi Game Reserve ZA043
South Africa Ndumo Game Reserve ZA038
South Africa Phongolo Nature Reserve ZA041
Zimbabwe Limpopo - Mwenezi flood-plain and pans ZW018
Zimbabwe Save - Runde junction ZW020

Threat and conservation

Coastal forest is probably the most immediately threatened forest type in Mozambique (Dowsett 1985). The whole of Maputo province is under pressure from requests for logging concessions, and a 300-km2 proposed eucalyptus plantation adjacent to the South African frontier could have significant hydrological and other impacts (J. Oglethorpe in litt. to J. Fanshawe 1995). In South Africa, the main pressures are a result of the increasing human population, including the loss of natural habitats resulting from commercial forestry and slash-and-burn agriculture. However, plans for strip mining of coastal dunes for mineral sands at Lake St Lucia have been abandoned in the face of public protest (Barnes 1996). Despite these pressures, extensive areas of suitable habitats remain, and none of the restricted-range birds is classified as threatened.

There are approximately 15 protected areas in the EBA which contain habitats suitable for the restricted-range birds; all of these are in the southern part of the EBA and there is only one in Mozambique (IUCN 1992b, D. G. Allan in litt. 1993, A. Berruti and R. Taylor in litt. 1993). In this part of South Africa there has recently been a considerable increase in the amount of land managed for conservation and/or sustainable utilization, as practised in the reserves protected by the Natal Parks Board, the KwaZulu Bureau of Natural Resources and some private concerns (A. Berruti in litt. 1993).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: South-east African coast. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/eba/factsheet/103 on 28/11/2023.