This is an extensive area between the Cuanza and Luando rivers and within the 1,200 mm isohyet. The topography is gently undulating, and the both the major rivers on the edge of the park have extensive seasonally inundated flood-plains. The vegetation is typical miombo woodland dominated by Brachystegia and Julbernardia, usually with a poorly developed understorey of grasses and shrubs, and structurally diverse mixed woodlands, with Brachystegia boehmii, B. spiciformis, B. floribunda and Julbernardia paniculata as co-dominants. Poorly developed to well-developed gallery forest occurs along some of the perennial streams and rivers. There are thickets on termitaria, and drainage lines of open grassland, indicating seasonally waterlogged soils, break up the woodland. Scattered trees (of Uapaca, Piliostigma, Annona, Entadopsis and Erythrina) occur in the ecotone between the grassland and woodland. Fairly extensive swamps of Cyperus papyrus are present in permanently flooded patches.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. The site has a rich avifauna, particularly in specialists of Brachystegia woodland that are characteristic of the Zambezian biome (see Benson and Irwin 1966), and 264 species in total have been collected in the park or in similar woodlands adjacent to the park. Four species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome have also been recorded at the site. This is one of the few sites in Angola where Hieraaetus ayresii has been recorded (Dean et al. 1988). Ciconia episcopus and Accipiter tachiro are known to have nested on the reserve (Dean et al. 1988), but generally there are few breeding records for the reserve. Wetland habitats along the Luando and Cuanza rivers support at least 37 aquatic species, some of which occur in numbers that are at least nationally important. Grus carunculatus is frequent and probably breeds, while Glareola nordmanni is a common Palearctic migrant on passage through the area in spring and late summer.
Non-bird biodiversity: The reserve was initially set up to protect about 90% of the population of the endemic ungulate subspecies Hippotragus niger variani (CR). Other antelope of importance in the area include Tragelaphus spekei (LR/nt) (Huntley 1974a). Other mammals that occur include Lycaon pictus (EN) and Panthera leo (VU) (Cabral 1987; Cabral and Simões 1988).
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Luando Strict Nature Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/09/2020.