Léfini Faunal Reserve

Country/territory: Congo

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

Area: 630,000 ha

Protection status:

Site description
This site represents a good sample of the Téké Plateau in the south-east of the country, a scenic undulating grassy plateau which stretches over c.58,000 km² in Congo. The relief is rather broken in places, with large cliffs of eroded limestone and rocky outcrops dotted about on ridges. Much of the forest is restricted to galleries along rivers (including swamp-forest, some with Raphia palms), but some patches of dry forest and thicket persist on high ground. The other main habitats are Loudetia simplex grassland (very extensive, probably largely fire-induced) and Hymenocardia acida wooded grassland. Some ponds and lakes are found locally in depressions. A number of small villages occur along the roads (one of which enters the reserve in the north; others border the eastern and northern edges).

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 2 for key species. The avifauna is still incompletely known (the main survey covered only a week), but numbers at least 239 species and is expected to hold at least 300. The forest component (nearly 100 species) is poorer than further north or west, but includes species such as Bostrychia rara and Scotopelia bouvieri. In addition to good populations of Francolinus finschi and Ploceus nigrimentum, another endemic of the Téké–Angola plateau, Myrmecocichla tholloni, occurs in large numbers in Loudetia grassland (population estimated at over 20,000 pairs). The Léfini is so far the only locality where the two closely-related Cisticola brunnescens and C. (b.) cinnamomeus are known to coexist, the former in dry grassland (where very common), the latter in grassy swamps (where very local). Other common grassland species include Eupodotis senegalensis, Vanellus lugubris, Mirafra africana, Anthus leucophrys and A. brachyurus. Merops breweri is locally common at the forest/grassland ecotone and Jynx ruficollis in wooded grassland. The little-known Phedina brazzae is recorded from neighbouring localities and could be expected to occur; there is one record of Nectarinia congensis from the eastern edge of the reserve, but it could be more widespread. More research is needed. In addition, two species of the Zambezian biome (A10), Lanius souzae and Sylvietta ruficapilla, occur in wooded grassland.

Non-bird biodiversity: Large mammals have been over-hunted in the past, but Syncerus caffer nanus (LR/cd), Tragelaphus spekii (LR/nt), various duikers and primates (including Cercopithecus neglectus) still occur.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Léfini Faunal Reserve. Downloaded from on 27/10/2020.