North Swaka

Site description (2001 baseline):

Site location and context
A poorly known area on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, north of Mkushi town. The rocky terrain lies mainly between 1,250–1,400 m, but climbs as high as 1,893 m. The various headwaters of the Lunsemfwa system have carved gorges in the hills where strips of submontane forest occur. Several dramatic waterfalls include those on the Changwena river which are popular amongst the more adventurous tourists. The area is dominated by miombo and there are dambos at lower altitudes, but the higher levels are semi-montane, the vegetation including Podocarpus latifolius.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. The area is rich in Zambezian biome endemics such as Stactolaema anchietae, Lanius souzae, Eremomela atricollis, Anthreptes anchietae, Plocepasser rufoscapulatus and Ploceus angolensis. Other notable species include Aquila verreauxii, Sheppardia bocagei, Myrmecocichla cinnamomeiventris and Elminia albicauda.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Much of the area is inhospitable and very sparsely populated, in common with neighbouring areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Fort Elwes is a National Monument. There is some subsistence hunting, cattle-grazing and tree-cutting. However, this and other potential threats require investigation.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: North Swaka. Downloaded from on 25/09/2023.