Country/territory: Angola

IBA criteria met: A3 (2001)
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Area: 20,000 ha

Site description (2001 baseline)
The site comprises tall miombo woodland, interspersed with poorly drained grassy patches and grassy drainage lines, on the central plateau around the town of Caconda. No detailed climatic data for the area are available, but the site is situated in the 1,200 mm isohyet. The woodlands are dominated by Brachystegia spiciformis and Julbernardia paniculata, with B. floribunda, B. boehmii, B. wangermeeana and B. gossweileri locally dominant. Grasses of the genera Andropogon, Trachypogon and Tristachya occur in the narrow drainage lines, with Loudetia simplex dominant. The canopy is more or less continuous and the height varies from 4 m to 12 m. There is a sparse to moderate cover of shrubs and grass below the canopy, with wide breaks in the woodland along the drainage lines. These latter areas are generally fringed with scattered Uapaca, Piliostigma and Erythrina trees. Patches of nutrient-rich soil (old village sites) occur within the miombo woodland, usually with pioneer Acacia species and Dichrostachys cinerea trees. Burkea africana and Monotes species occur on sandy patches (probably previously cleared areas), further increasing the structural diversity of the woodland. There are no current data available on the condition of the woodland, or of the area generally.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. The importance of the site lies in the high species-richness of Zambezian-biome species, but the avifauna of the area is virtually unstudied, and most of the current knowledge is derived from collected specimens. Many records from the site date back to the late 1800s, although there has been relatively recent fieldwork (collecting) done in the Caconda area (Pinto 1970) and to the south of the area (Dean 1974); Dean et al. 1988). Nevertheless, the avifauna is rich, and includes all of the Brachystegia endemics listed by Benson and Irwin (1966) and at least 35 biome-restricted species, out of the total of 235 bird species that have been collected in the area (the full species list is likely to be substantially larger).Dioptrornis brunneus, a restricted-range species, is a frequently encountered resident, and two species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome and two of the Afrotropical Highlands biome have also been recorded from the site.

Open woodland fringing wide drainage lines provides breeding habitat for such species as Rhinoptilus chalcopterus, Pinarocorys nigricans, Lanius souzae and Lagonosticta rufopicta. The site is one of the few localities where Coturnix chinensis and Anthus caffer have been collected, and is the southernmost locality where Tricholaema frontata occurs (a species generally uncommon in Angola). There is a record of Ficedula hypoleuca from the site (Bocage 1878), but the specimen no longer exists and could have been a misidentification of the more likely Ficedula albicollis. Caconda is the northernmost limit of the distribution of Phoeniculus cynamelas and Neocichla gutturalis in Angola.

Wetland habitats along the Catani river support 23 or more species of waterbird (16% of the Angolan list), some in numbers considered at least nationally important. The globally threatened Grus carunculatus is resident and probably breeds.

Non-bird biodiversity: There are no current data on the status of the large carnivores, but Lycaon pictus (EN) and Panthera leo (VU) have been recorded in the past (Cabral 1987; Cabral and Simões 1988). Bats that have been collected at this site include Epomophorus angolensis (LR/nt) (Cabral 1989).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Caconda. Downloaded from on 04/10/2023.