Headwaters of the Cahora Bassa Dam

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
The site lies between the confluence of the Luangwa and Zambezi rivers and the Mussangezi and Zambezi rivers, at the head of Lake Cahora Bassa. The main habitats include seasonally flooded grassland, palm-savanna, a fringe of riverine woodland, semi-arid woodland with baobabs Adansonia digitata, and wooded hillsides. The area is sparsely inhabited and is a hunting concession.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Three species of the Zambezian biome are not represented in any other IBA in Mozambique. Falco dickinsoni occurs in semi-arid woodland, Agapornis lilianae utilizes semi-arid woodland and flooded grasslands, and Lamprotornis mevesii occurs in fringing riverine woodland. Several waterbirds occur on the lake shores and flooded grasslands, and distinct communities of woodland birds occur in the riverine and semi-arid woodlands.

Non-bird biodiversity: Significant populations of larger mammals, including Loxodonta africana (EN) occur.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site is the pilot-program area for a community-based resource management program called ‘Tchuma Tchato’, managed by the provincial forestry and wildlife service and supported by the Ford Foundation. It lies close to the Chewori Safari Area in Zimbabwe and the Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia, and a combined transfrontier conservation area is a possibility. Agricultural settlement is concentrated in the riverine areas, resulting in depletion of habitat for Lamprotornis mevesii.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Headwaters of the Cahora Bassa Dam. Downloaded from on 21/04/2021.