The site lies along the Cubango river, from just south of Menongue to south of Caiundo (boundaries not specified by Huntley (1974b)) and includes the Cuchi and Cuebe rivers. It is within the 600 mm isohyet. The vegetation is mainly miombo (Brachystegia) woodland, and there are other broadleaved dry woodlands, dry thickets and riverine woodland (Huntley 1974b).
See Box and Table 3 for key species. The avifauna is virtually unstudied and only 65 species have been recorded from the area. The total species list, given the diversity of habitat, is likely to be much higher. The importance of the site is in the two globally threatened species, both of which are known to breed here, and the relative richness of species of the Zambezian biome. The general area is at the southern limit for Stactolaema anchietae, and is one of the few places in Angola where Myrmecocichla tholloni and M. nigra overlap in distribution. One of the isolated populations of Mirafra angolensis occurs in this area. Wetlands along the Cubango, Cuchi and Cuebe rivers offer a range of habitats for waterbirds, of which 30 species (21% of the Angolan list) have been recorded here, some in numbers considered at least nationally significant.
Non-bird biodiversity: The large carnivores Acinonyx jubatus (VU) and Panthera leo (VU) have been recorded (Cabral and Simões 1988).
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cuelei. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/09/2022.