Hillwood is one of the few large-scale farms in northern Mwinilunga District and around it has grown a thriving community. As well as cattle and maize, a private game reserve has been established (2,000 ha) with camping facilities and the farm sees a steady trickle of the more adventurous tourists. The farm is bisected by the Sakeji river. Over much of the area, the vegetation remains largely undisturbed. The three dominant habitats are grassy plains (wet and dry), miombo and mushitu (the local name for the last is ‘lito’).
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Although Hillwood is home to a wide variety of miombo and dambo birds, it is the forest species that comprise the most important element. Most belong to the Guinea–Congo Forests biome and, within Zambia, many are restricted to this small area, including Baeopogon indicator, Neocossyphus fraseri, Apalis rufogularis and Nectarinia batesi. Other notable forest species include Halcyon malimbica, Indicator exilis, I. meliphilus, Cossypha polioptera and Nectarinia bannermani. In the grassland Mirafra angolensis, Hirundo nigrorufa and Cisticola dambo are common, Neotis denhami and Turnix hottentotta are regular and Anthus brachyurus scarce. Neolestes torquatus and Cisticola lateralis are both common in scrub. Among species of global conservation concern, Crex crex is a (probably regular) wintering visitor and passage migrant, Gallinago media a regular wintering visitor, Falco naumanni an irregular passage migrant, and Grus carunculatus a vagrant. There are recent records of Sarothrura pulchra and Campethera caroli. One species of the Afrotropical Highlands biome also occurs: Bradypterus alfredi.
Non-bird biodiversity: The butterfly Eicochrysops pinheyi, a Zambian endemic, is quite common. Several amphibians, reptiles and dragonflies with limited distributions in Zambia are known to occur and it is likely that the area holds much flora and fauna that is similarly restricted.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Hillwood itself is well protected, but much forest in the surrounding areas is being cleared—see ‘Overview of the inventory’ for details.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Hillwood. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 19/06/2021.