Dzalanyama Forest Reserve

Country/territory: Malawi

IBA criteria met: A1, A3 (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 98,934 ha

Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM)
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2013 very high near favourable medium
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (baseline)
Dzalanyama Forest Reserve, 60 km south-west of Lilongwe, is almost entirely covered with Brachystegia–Julbernardia woodland. It forms part of the Dzalanyama Range, a series of rocky hills running north-west–south-east along the border with Mozambique, which marks the watershed between Lake Malawi and the Zambezi river system. The eastern side of the reserve is relatively flat, at about 1,300 m. The hills to the west rise above 1,500 m with several peaks over 1,600 m. A few small patches (c.75 ha) of mid-altitude forest occur on the highest ridge near Kasito Rock. Dambos occur along many of the drainage lines, breaking the continuity of the woodland cover. A PinusEucalyptus plantation has been established in the reserve and covers about 5% of the land area. On the Mozambique side, the woodland extends uninterrupted over a much larger area with little sign of human settlement evident.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Over 290 species have been recorded. There are a few records of Falco naumanni. The Zambezian biome species include Dendropicos stierlingi and Ploceus olivaceiceps, both of which are widespread in the reserve. A dambo in Dzalanyama is the only site in Malawi where Sarothrura lugens has been recorded, and Pinarornis plumosus is known from few other localities in the country. In addition, one species of the Tanzania–Malawi mountains EBA, five of the Afrotropical Highlands biome and one of the East African Coast biome have been recorded at this site (see Tables 2 and 3).

Non-bird biodiversity: Butterflies: an isolated population of Cymothoe coranus occurs (the most westerly known).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Dzalanyama Forest Reserve. Downloaded from on 29/05/2023.