AO008
Cuango


Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
The site lies on the Cuango river north of the town of Cuango, within the 1,400 mm isohyet. The vegetation consists of narrow belts of well-developed gallery forest along the Cuango river and tall grasslands with scattered trees on the surrounding plains. Tree genera in the gallery forest include Piptadeniastrum, Chlorophora, Ceiba and Xylopia and canopy heights are generally 30–40 m (Huntley 1974a). Grass genera include Hyparrhenia, Andropogon, Trachypogon and Loudetia, and the open woodland on the plains includes such tree genera as Strychnos, Hymenocardia, Annona, Piliostigma and Combretum, and patches of miombo woodland, dominated by Brachystegia and Julbernardia, occur in the general area.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. The diverse habitats support a rich avifauna, with the species list likely to be considerably higher than the 156 species collected in the area. The site is important for several species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome that have not been recorded frequently elsewhere in Angola. A number of rare or poorly known species have been collected in the area, including Columba iriditorques, Psittacus erithacus, Tockus fasciatus, Tockus pallidirostris and Ceratogymna subcylindricus. This is one of the most eastern sites where the endemic Colius castanotus occurs. The wetland habitats along the Cuango river support at least 12 species of congregatory waterbird (8% of the Angolan list), some in numbers considered at least nationally important. There is a single record of Ardeola idae from this site (Pinto 1973a).

Non-bird biodiversity: No complete list of mammals is available. The diverse antelope fauna includes such species as Cephalophus nigrifrons (LR/nt), C. sylvicultor (LR/nt) and Tragelaphus spekei (LR/nt).



Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site is adjacent to the Milando National Park, for which there are no current data on the avifauna. It is extremely likely that the avifaunal species-richness of Milando NP is similar to that of the Cuango area, and if this is the case, the national park will serve to protect the avifaunal diversity in this area. Huntley (1974b) proposed a protected area for Cuango (06°16’S 16°43’E) in Uíge Province, also on the Cuango river and most probably with similar avifauna to the present site, although there may be more equatorial Guinea–Congo Forests biome elements in the avifauna. No current information is available on land-use or threats to biodiversity for any of these sites, except that surface-mining for diamonds is believed to be increasing in this general area, with concomitant threats to bird habitats.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cuango. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/09/2020.