Nkanga comprises three private farms on the Southern Province Plateau, just north-east of Choma. Much of the area is fenced game farm, and the remainder includes various crops (maize, coffee, tobacco) and livestock (beef and dairy cattle, sheep). Tourists are welcome and there is a campsite as well as catered accommodation. The habitat is a mosaic of miombo, munga and thicket, interspersed with dambos and several open grassy plains. There are a number of dams, some permanent hot springs and scattered kopjes. The rocky Nkanga river and its tributaries are flanked by dense riparian thicket.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Species of global conservation concern include the Zambian endemic Lybius chaplini, which is common in suitable habitat. The area holds a good number of Zambezian biome endemics, six Francolinus species occur and some of the more localized species include Anas sparsa, Stephanoaetus coronatus and Pachycoccyx audeberti. Colossal roosts of Hirundo rustica are regular in the reedbeds below the hot springs during the early rains. Recently, Buphagus erythrorhynchus has been recorded regularly and there are hopes that it will recolonize the area naturally, having been wiped out by poisonous cattle-dips in the past. Among other species of global conservation concern, Crex crex and Gallinago media are wintering visitors, while Circus macrourus (winters in some years) and Falco naumanni are both regular on passage, and Egretta vinaceigula, Phoenicopterus minor, Grus carunculatus and Glareola nordmanni have all been recorded as vagrants.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Despite continual poaching, the area has been actively protected for several decades and is rich in indigenous fauna, both within and outside the game farm. There are probably no serious threats to the birdlife. Gamebirds are shot, sometimes in considerable numbers (mainly Numida meleagris and Francolinus species), but there is careful management to ensure sustainable take-off.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Nkanga River Conservation Area. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 29/11/2021.