Katberg - Readsdale forest complex

Country/territory: South Africa

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (1998)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 20,000 ha

Protection status:

BirdLife South Africa
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2014 very high very unfavourable low
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The centre of this IBA lies in the Mpofu District c.80 km west of King William’s Town; it consists of several interconnected montane forest blocks, the rolling grasslands of the Mpofu Game Reserve, and the surrounding fragmented urban and rural areas. Much of the area comprises steep cliff-faces with numerous small perennial and non-perennial streams. The area has several high peaks, including Katberg (1,828 m) and Devil Bellow’s Neck (1,726 m). The region supports an array of diverse plant communities, including both wet and dry forests, with scrub-forest and rolling grasslands at lower altitudes. Dominant plants of the forest canopy include Podocarpus, Xymalos, Rapanea, Ptaeroxylon and Vepris. Pinus plantations, which abut the indigenous forests directly, occur as small, isolated, scattered pockets throughout the area.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The forests in this IBA hold a considerable number of the escarpment form of Poicephalus robustus robustus. Populations of Zoothera gurneyi and Lioptilus nigricapillus are also found here. Other forest specials include Buteo oreophilus, Tauraco corythaix, Campethera notata, Cossypha dichroa, Cercotrichas signata and Serinus scotops. At higher altitudes, where the barren rocky slopes become prominent, Geocolaptes olivaceus, Chaetops aurantius, Saxicola bifasciata and Monticola explorator become common. In the low-altitude rolling grasslands Circus maurus, Vanellus melanopterus, Neotis denhami, Grus paradisea and Balearica regulorum occur.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Katberg-Readsdale forest complex, along with the Amatole forests (IBA ZA071), supports the highly localized Anhydrophyrne rattrayi and Afroedura amatolica.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Katberg - Readsdale forest complex. Downloaded from on 16/01/2021.