The site lies on the Cutato river, on the Huambo/Bié provincial boundary, south of Chinhama and Cachingues, and north of the town of Cutato. The vegetation consists of tracts of fairly homogeneous miombo woodland, dominated by Brachystegia spiciformis and Julbernardia paniculata, usually with a poorly developed understorey of grasses and shrubs, as well as areas of more mixed woodland, with Brachystegia boehmii, B. spiciformis, B. floribunda and Julbernardia paniculata as co-dominants, together with Piliostigma, Burkea, Monotes, Strychnos, Sterculia and Dombeya trees, with a fairly dense undergrowth of grasses and shrubs.There are drainage lines of open grassland, indicating seasonally waterlogged soils, with scattered trees (Uapaca, Annona and Erythrina) in the ecotone between the grassland and the woodland.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. The site is poorly known ornithologically and only 98 species have been recorded in the area. However, the avifauna is likely to be rich, particularly in miombo-specialist bird species and in wetland species. Pterocles burchelli is likely to occur in very open woodlands on sandy soils. The site supports at least 14 species of waterbird, some in numbers considered at least nationally significant. One species of global conservation concern is known from the area, Gallinago media, for which there are old records of specimens collected at Cuvango, about 25 km south-west of this site.
Non-bird biodiversity: No list of mammals is available for the area.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Huntley (1974b) notes that a suitable area for a Regional Nature Park has been found and examined. To date, there have been no further developments towards establishing this protected area. No threats to biodiversity in the area are currently known.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cutato. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 18/08/2022.