Overberg Wheatbelt

Country/territory: South Africa

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2, A3, A4i (1998)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 300,000 ha

Protection status:

BirdLife South Africa
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2013 very high very unfavourable low
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
Located at the southern tip of the African continent, this large agricultural district stretches from Caledon to Riversdale and encompasses the area south of these two towns, running between the coastal towns of Hermanus and Stilbaai. De Hoop Nature Reserve, which abuts this area, is considered a separate IBA (IBA ZA098). The topography consists of low-lying rolling coastal plains. The landscape consists primarily of cereal croplands and cultivated wheat pastures and crop fields, although a fair amount of natural vegetation still remains along the coast, especially on the Soetanysberg and Agulhas Plain, which hold at least 1,700 plant species. The coast holds thicket, which is dominated by forest patches of milkwood Sideroxylon. Localized, fragmented patches of renosterveld are found throughout the area.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The Overberg holds the largest population of Grus paradisea in the world. Numbers increase during the winter months when many pairs, which have completed breeding activities, join large loose flocks that congregate in this area. At times this IBA can hold nearly 20% of this species’s global population, as well as holding large numbers of Neotis denhami. Gyps coprotheres, which breed at Potberg in the De Hoop Nature Reserve (IBA ZA098), occasionally forage over the agricultural matrix, where Circus maurus is also found frequently. The site also covers a large proportion of the global range of the recently described Certhilauda brevirostris. Within this area, it is almost confined to stony wheatfields and pastureland. Despite its limited range, the species appears to be secure, provided that current land-use patterns persist. Some typically karroid birds are also found within the wheat matrix and the occasional renosterveld patches, including Eupodotis vigorsii, Parus afer and Cercomela sinuata.

Non-bird biodiversity: The area is extremely rich in highly threatened endemic flora, including the spectacular Leucadendron elimense, L. modestum and L. laxum. The discovery of a new species of Proteaceae, Serruria nova, in 1998, suggests that complete surveys of the area will yield many new endemic species. Among frogs, the spectacular Hyperolius horstockii occurs and Heleophryne purcelli may occur in montane rivers in the wheatbelt matrix.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2018) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Overberg Wheatbelt. Downloaded from on 10/12/2018.