Mafinga Mountains

Country/territory: Zambia

IBA criteria met: A2, A3 (2005)
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Area: 23,000 ha

BirdWatch Zambia
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2005 favourable medium negligible
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Site description (2005 baseline)
The most northerly block of mountains within Zambia eastern highlands. as within the Nyika Plateu (IBA 38), the Mafingas stradle the international boundary with Malawi. as well as Mafinga National Forest (no 296) in the south of the area, the site encompasses all the land above about the 1500m contour which is largely uninhabitate and rarely visited. miombo covers most of the lower slopes and in several places it reaches unusually high altitudes of over 2000m. In some areas this woodland is dominated by Musuku trees Uapaca spp. Broken rocky terrain and scree cover large parts of the higher ground and there are small strecthes of montane grassland and protea scrub. along the streams are patches of riparian forest, often in precipitous gulies, but there is only one large patch 940 ha) of montane forest known as Mulangale. Most forest is bordered by bracken briar. The Mafingas are important catchment area and they contain the source of Luangwa.

Key biodiversity
Several taxa are known only from the Mafingas within Zambia. Thse include Yellow-throated Warbler and the race of Cabanis's Greenbul which is sometimes treated as a full species.Although they may be non-breeding wanderers, Silvery-cheeked Hornbills occur more regulary here than at any other Zambian site. typical forest birds include Rameron Pigeon, Cinnamon Dove, Bar-tailed Trogon, Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Eastern Mountain Greenbul, Yellow-streaked Bulbul, Olive Thrush, White-chested alethe, Chestnut-headed Apalis-(see checklist).

Non-bird biodiversity: Not well known. Mammals include Chequared Elephant shrew, and Giant Mastiff Bat. Others with limited Zambian distributions include Smith's Red Rock Hare, Lesser Pouched Rat and Nyika Bush-rat. Butterflies include the possibly endemic lolaus stewartii, an isolated population of pPilodeudorix zelomima, and the very local Lolaus pamelae.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Mafinga Mountains. Downloaded from on 27/02/2024.