IBA Criteria met: A3 (2001)
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Area: 1,460,000 ha
|Most recent IBA monitoring assessment|
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Hwange National Park covers 14,600 km² and is one of the largest protected areas in Africa. It lies in the west of Zimbabwe, bordering Botswana, and extends from 25°45’E to 27°30’E and from 18°30’S to 19°45’S. Hwange is bounded by the Matetsi and Deka Safari Areas in the north, by Forestry Areas and private farms in the east, and by Tsholotsho Communal Land in the south. The park falls within Hwange District of Matabeleland North Province. It is the oldest national park in Zimbabwe, having been proclaimed in 1928. The park is readily accessed off the main Bulawayo–Victoria Falls road. There is an extensive network of tourist roads in the north and eastern parts, while the flatter, less appealing centre and west are a wilderness area with few roads.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. The dams and the pans form a vital network of aquatic ecosystems for migrant and resident birds. A total of 410 species have been recorded, of which 41 are vagrants. Nationally, Hwange is considered to be of conservation importance for 24 species, including Ciconia episcopus, Oxyura maccoa, Gallinula angulata and Chlidonias hybridus. Hwange contains possibly the largest protected populations of Tockus bradfieldi and Buphagus africanus in the southern African subregion. Other nationally uncommon or threatened species that breed in the park are Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis, Ardeotis kori and Bucorvus cafer. Gyps coprotheres, Gallinago media, Circus macrourus and Glareola nordmanni are occasional visitors. The park is also an important refuge for seven raptor species: Trigonoceps occipitalis, Necrosyrtes monachus, Torgos tracheliotus, Terathopius ecaudatus, Aquila rapax, Polemaetus bellicosus and Hieraaetus spilogaster. Grus carunculatus is a very rare vagrant; a number live fairly close to, but outside, the park.
Non-bird biodiversity: Hwange National Park is well known for its wide variety of mammals (105 species), including Diceros bicornis (CR; numbers are slowly increasing in the Intensive Protection Zone within the park) and the only substantial population in Zimbabwe of Lycaon pictus (EN).
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Hwange National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/04/2023.