Lufira valley

Country/territory: Congo, The Democratic Republic of the

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2001)
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Area: 14,700 ha

Protection status:

Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2001 not assessed not assessed low
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Site description
An area of swamp, grassland and wooded savanna and an artificial lake in the Lufira valley in south-eastern DR Congo, east of the town of Likasi. The Lufira river is a major tributary of the Congo which rises in southern Katanga. In its upper reaches the river meanders through a large swampy depression situated in the centre of vast alluvial plains. Since the building of a dam in 1926, this depression has been partly flooded and a shallow lake, Lake Lufira (or Lake Tshangalele), has formed. The area comprising the central and peripheral plains and the lake is about 95,000 ha in extent; the flooded parts cover a maximum of c.44,000 ha. The altitude is of the lake is 1,100 m, while the surrounding chain of low mountains rises above 1,300 m. Vegetation-types include permanent swamps with Typha and Cyperus and various savannas (from open and wet to drier, wooded types) characterized by Isoberlinia, Uapaca, Syzygium, Loudetia simplex, Digitaria scalarum, Hyparrhenia rufa, Themeda triandra, Pterocarpus and Acacia. Water-levels in the Lufira are highest during February–March and lowest at the end of the dry season (September–October). Average annual rainfall is c.1,200 mm, with February and March the wettest months. Human population densities vary; they used to be highest on the western side of the lake. The creation of the lake has resulted in the settlement of many fishermen.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Ploceus ruweti is restricted to the swamps bordering Lake Lufira; there is no recent information on its status. Balaeniceps rex has been recorded. There are also records of Falco naumanni and Crex crex. The site may constitute a stop-over site for waterbirds migrating between the lakes and wetlands of the Upper Congo and those of the Upper Zambezi.

Non-bird biodiversity: No information is available, other than that the mammal Loxodonta africana (EN) occurs.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lufira valley. Downloaded from on 21/10/2020.