Chelmsford Nature Reserve

Country/territory: South Africa

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i (1998)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 5,984 ha

Protection status:

BirdLife South Africa
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2013 high not assessed high
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
Located 26 km south of Newcastle, Chelmsford Nature Reserve features a gently undulating landscape with lightly wooded hills and flat-bottomed valleys. The Chelmsford Dam, a large, man-made impoundment, and the Ngagane river are the dominant features in the area. The surrounding grassland is a good example of Natal sour sandveld. Soils are shallow, badly drained and sandy. Woodland is sparse and restricted in extent. Some grassland areas hold a few scattered Acacia trees, and fire refuges have clumps of Acacia and Diospyros trees.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. A breeding colony of Geronticus calvus is located a few metres outside the reserve. The birds nearly always forage somewhere within the reserve. The wetlands and surrounding grasslands are frequented by Grus carunculatus, G. paradisea and Balearica regulorum. Other wetland and grassland species of concern include Circus ranivorus, C. maurus, Crex crex, Tyto capensis, Sagittarius serpentarius, Neotis denhami, Eupodotis caerulescens and E. senegalensis. The rocky outcrops hold Geocolaptes olivaceus.

Non-bird biodiversity: Two near-endemic plants, Rhus gerrardii and Kniphofia breviflora, are present. Among mammals, Ceratotherium simum (LR/cd) has been reintroduced.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Chelmsford Nature Reserve. Downloaded from on 28/01/2021.