Bitterputs Conservation Area

Country/territory: South Africa

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

Area: 45,540 ha

Protection status:

BirdLife South Africa
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2014 high not assessed negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
Situated 65 km south-west of Pofadder, this site consists of five farms; Bitterputs (107 and 110) (29,555 ha), Bitterputs 111 (3,224 ha), Bosluis (5,101 ha), Kanaip (6,175 ha) and Oorstoot (1,485 ha). Bitterputs (107 and 110) forms the central portion of the IBA and consist mainly of flat gravel-plains with a red dune system that runs from north to south in the central and western portion of the property. Coarse, pale red sandy soils and red dunes form the southern portion of the fossil Koa river valley. Towards the east, sandy plains comprising perennial desert grassland and granitic gravel-plains occur.

The koppies hold shrubs, e.g. Adenolobus and Rhus, especially on the mid-slopes and peaks, while the cobble-strewn bases are often covered with melkboom Euphorbia. The drainage lines support taller woody vegetation, such as Euclea, Ozoroa, Acacia and Tamarix shrubs. The gravel-plains are covered with a variety of sparse dwarf shrubs.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. This is one of few IBAs holding both the globally threatened Certhilauda burra (150–250 pairs), which inhabits the red sand-dunes, and the near-threatened Spizocorys sclateri (up to 100 individuals), which occurs erratically on the barren stony plains. The site also holds many of the Namib–Karoo biome-restricted species, as well as a host of other arid-zone birds. The plains support Circus maurus, Ardeotis kori, Neotis ludwigii, Eupodotis vigorsii, Cursorius rufus, Pterocles namaqua, Eremalauda starki, Cercomela tractrac, C. sinuata, C. schlegelii, Eremomela gregalis and Malcorus pectoralis. During good rains the nomadic Eremopterix australis, Serinus alario and Emberiza impetuani can be superabundant. Low scrubby vegetation holds Anthoscopus minutus and Nectarinia fusca. Rocky outcrops hold Euryptila subcinnamomea and the recently recognized Certhilauda subcoronata.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bitterputs Conservation Area. Downloaded from on 16/01/2021.