The site lies in the scenically spectacular Lago Carumbo–Luxico area along the Luele river valley, within the 1,400 mm isohyet. The vegetation is diverse, and ranges from Cryptosepalum pseudotaxus and Marquesia dry evergreen forests, swamp-forest with Raphia palms dominant, gallery forest and flood-plains covered in papyrus Cyperus papyrus (Huntley 1974b). The area is of considerable interest biogeographically because of the interpenetration of Guinea–Congo forest with Zambezian woodland elements (Huntley 1974b), which gives rise to a wide range of habitats.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. The area is poorly known ornithologically and, although only 67 species have been recorded, the avifauna is likely to be far richer than this, comparable to Cuango (IBA AO008) and Luachimo (AO014), which have similar plant species and structural diversity in the vegetation. A relatively high number of bird species of the Guinea–Congo Forests and Zambezian biomes have been recorded, and the gallery forests along the Luele river are particularly rich in forest bulbuls (Pycnonotidae), apalises (Sylviidae) and sunbirds (Nectarinidae), and are likely to have all the species in these families that have been recorded along the Luachimo river.The Near Threatened Macronyx grimwoodi is a frequently encountered resident. Other less well-known species recorded at Lago Carumbo include Neolestes torquatus in thickets in open woodlands and grasslands, Nicator chloris in gallery forest and forest fringing the lake, and Ploceus superciliosus in marshes and reedbeds along streams. Wetland habitat on the lake and along the Luele river may be important for aquatic species, but only eight waterbirds have been recorded in this area in numbers which may be significant at the national level or greater.
Non-bird biodiversity: Among mammals, Cephalophus sylvicultor (LR/nt) is present in dry Marquesia forest (Huntley 1974b), while Lutra maculicollis (VU) and Panthera leo (VU) have been recorded along the Luele river (Cabral 1987; Cabral and Simões 1988).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site was proposed as a conservation area in the 1970s. Surface diggings for diamonds are apparently increasing in the area (K. Loutchanski, pers. comm.), with concomitant disturbances of vegetation and fauna.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lago Carumbo. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 30/10/2020.