Bicuari National Park is situated in the basin of the Mucope river (a tributary of the Cunene river), with its only natural boundary formed by the Osse river, another tributary of the Cunene river, all other boundaries being artificial. The town of Mulondo and the village of Tecaza are situated in the south-east corner of the park. Mean annual rainfall is over 800 mm, and the topography is generally flat. The vegetation is a mosaic of miombo (Brachystegia, Julbernardia) and teak (Baikiaea) on sands, dry thickets and riverine woodland, with extensive patches of dry grassland. Poorly drained grasslands edge the Mucope river.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. The avifauna of the park is poorly known and the species list is based on a one-day visit to the park by WRJD in September 1973 (i.e. before the rains) and on collecting records from Mulondo. The total of 143 species of birds that have been recorded is certainly unrealistically low.Only six biome-restricted species have been recorded from this site, but it is likely to support several more species of the Zambezian and Kalahari–Highveld biomes than are listed. This is one of the few reserves in Angola where miombo (Zambezian) bird species occur together with bird species more typical of the southern dry broadleaved woodlands (Kalahari–Highveld)—for example, the distributions of Lamprotornis mevesii and L. australis extend north to the park, and Neocichla gutturalis, which has a narrow, patchy distribution in Angola, is frequent in miombo woodland in the park. Lanioturdus torquatus, a Kalahari–Highveld species, is almost certain to occur in the woodland, as it has been recorded to the north, south and west of the park.Large raptors are common in the area, with Necrosyrtes monachus, Torgos tracheliotus, Trigonoceps occipitalis, Terathopius ecaudatus and Aquila rapax fairly commonly present at carcasses, and A. wahlbergi and Lophaetus occipitalis frequent in the woodland. No active nests of large raptors were recorded in September, but several old nests were seen, and only Merops hirundineus was recorded breeding. Bucorvus cafer are common in the open woodland and Neotis denhami is frequent in the dry grasslands.Wetland habitats within the park support at least 36 species of congregatory waterbird (25% of the Angolan list), some in numbers considered at least nationally important. In Angola, this is the only locality where Oxyura maccoa has been recorded (M. A. Huntley, pers. comm.) and the only locality where Sarkidiornis melanotos has been recorded breeding (Dean et al. 1988). Such waders as Himantopus himantopus occur on the margins of ponds in poorly drained grassland. Although Chlidonias hybridus has not been recorded from this site, it has been collected in the general area and it is likely to breed on ponds along the Mucope river and on other seasonally flooded ponds.
Non-bird biodiversity: Among mammals, Hyaena brunnea (LR/nt) and Panthera leo (VU) are known to occur (Cabral 1987; Cabral and Simões 1988 ("Cabral 1987; Cabral and Simões 1988). Large herbivores, including elephant Loxodonta africana (EN), were present in fair numbers in the park in the early 1970s (Huntley 1974a).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The park is not fenced and cattle (from adjacent agricultural settlements) were frequently present in the park during the early 1970s (Huntley 1974b). Poaching in the park (chiefly of elephants) escalated following independence in 1974 (Huntley 1975). The present situation and threats to biodiversity in the park are unknown.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bicuari National Park. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 29/03/2023.