The site is conveniently divided into two parts, bisected from north to south by the West Lunga river. Lukwakwa Game Management Area constitutes the western half and its western boundary is the Mwinilunga–Kabompo road. The most important habitat is mavunda forest, which covers a substantial proportion of the area, and there are also grasslands such as the Mayau plain and woodlands of various formations. West Lunga National Park, the eastern half, stretches to the Kabompo river and the habitat is similar, though there is less mavunda and more miombo.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Mayau, the type locality (and only one known) of Pogoniulus makawai, lies on the western boundary of the site. This locality therefore remains the most likely area of occurrence for the species, if it is a valid taxon. A wide range of Zambezian biome endemics occur at the site and, among the other species of global conservation concern (apart from Pogoniulus makawai), Grus carunculatus is regular and almost certainly breeds, and Gallinago media is a non-breeding visitor in moderate numbers, while Egretta vinaceigula is only a vagrant. Neotis denhami has been recorded in Lukwakwa Game Management Area. Other characteristic species of mavunda at the site include Guttera pucherani, Campephaga quiscalina, Batis margaritae and Telophorus viridis. Other notable species include Indicator exilis, Ploceus angolensis and two species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome, Columba iriditorques and Cercococcyx olivinus.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals include Cephalophus silvicultor (LR/nt) and the National Park has perhaps one of the largest protected populations of Tragelaphus spekii (LR/nt) in Zambia though poaching has reduced the numbersof most large mammals in recent years Small. Butterflies include Mylothris mavunda which is, on present evidence, endemic to the area, while the site is also the stronghold of Charaxes variata.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The area is very sparsely populated and perhaps the only potential threat to the forest is fire, which has already affected areas close to the Mwinilunga–Kabompo road. Much of the area was once rich in large mammals, but such populations have been decimated by poaching.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: West Lunga National Park and Lukwakwa Game Management Area. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 22/06/2021.