Chimanimani Mountains (Mozambique)

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
The Chimanimani mountains lie on the border between Mozambique and Zimbabwe, with most of the range lying within Mozambique. The site includes the plateau and eastern slopes of the mountains and the adjoining lowlands. Several rivers flow eastward from the plateau. The lowland forests of the coastal plain intrude along the river valleys, where they occur in close juxtaposition to montane forests. The site also includes a significant area of montane grassland and scrub. There is a large rural population engaged in agriculture which is concentrated around the main villages.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Each of the main habitats supports species of global conservation concern. Circaetus fasciolatus and Anthreptes reichenowi are residents of lowland forest, Hirundo atrocaerulea is a breeding migrant in montane grassland, and Swynnertonia swynnertoni is a resident of montane forest. Falco fasciinucha has been recorded once, but is likely to occur regularly. The site is situated at the intersection of three biomes—Afrotropical Highlands, East African Coast and Zambezian—and as a result is probably the area of greatest avian diversity within Mozambique.

Non-bird biodiversity: Several larger mammals, including Loxodonta africana (EN), still occur in significant numbers. At least 45 endemic plants and two endemic amphibians occur.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site is at present unprotected. It adjoins the Chimanimani National Park in Zimbabwe, and comprises an even greater area of protection-worthy habitat than that park. A transfrontier conservation area has been proposed for this site as part of a GEF (Global Environment Facility) initiative, supported by the World Bank. The provincial Forestry and Wildlife Service and the Ford Foundation have proposed the development of infrastructure for tourism, based on birdwatching in the area. Further investigation on the ground is needed to determine boundaries of the proposed conservation area in such a way as to minimize conflict of interest with the land requirements of local inhabitants.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Chimanimani Mountains (Mozambique). Downloaded from on 13/04/2021.