The Ukaguru mountains are a raised plateau that lie in the rain-shadow of the taller Uluguru mountains (TZ068), 40 km to the south-east. The climax vegetation is moist forest, but generally with a lower canopy and less diversity than forest closer to the coast. Elfin forest exists in small patches near the summits and there are large areas of degraded grassland, especially to the west of the main forest block. Important tree species in Mamiwa-Kisara North Forest Reserve include Balthasaria schliebenii, Ocotea usambarensis, Podocarpus latifolius and Polyscias stuhlmannii. Five of seven Forest Reserves listed for these mountains are included in the IBA: Ikwamba (889 ha), Mamboto (149 ha), Mamiwa-Kisara North (7,897 ha), Mamiwa-Kisara South (6,266 ha) and Uponera (293 ha), The remaining two small reserves are now down to exotic pines and are excluded. Immediately to the north-west of these mountains, including the northern and western slopes, is dry Acacia–Commiphora woodland of the Somali–Masai biome. To the west are the Kiboriani mountains, with lower-altitude moist forest that has not been explored recently. To the south-west, separated by the Gombo Mkondoa river valley, are the Rubeho mountains (TZ064) while to the north-east lie the Nguru mountains (TZ059). Between these mountains are important stands of miombo woodland. The eastern slopes of the Ukaguru mountains slope rather rapidly into coastal lowland flood-plain.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Ploceus bertrandi and Onychognathus tenuirostris both occur and Falco fasciinucha may do so. The highland grassland is the northern limit of Cisticola nigriloris and holds a population of Saxicola torquata, often considered an endemic race Saxicola torquata promiscua. All recent fieldwork has been concentrated in only two areas of Mamiwa-Kisara North Forest Reserve. The edges of these montane forests are important wintering habitats for migrant Sylvia atricapilla, Sylvia borin and Phylloscopus trochilus. Five species of the Zambezian biome have been recorded (see Table 3).
Non-bird biodiversity: The plants Peddiea thulinii and Lobelia sancta are endemic to the Ukagurus.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Recently 3,600 ha of low-altitude forest were excised from the reserve to grow exotic pines. The northern boundary of Mamiwa–Kisara North Forest Reserve is now a well-marked straight line with intensive agriculture right up to the forest-edge. There are few trees left outside the Forest Reserve. The deforested plateau to the south-west of Mamiwa-Kisara North Forest Reserve is badly degraded, rather open grassland which would once have been forest.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ukaguru Mountains. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 27/01/2023.