Nyanga lowlands/Honde valley

Country/territory: Zimbabwe

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

Area: 11,000 ha

BirdLife Zimbabwe

Site description (2001 baseline)
This site extends from the montane forests on the slopes of Nyangani mountain down to the lowland rainforests (below 1,000 m) in the Honde valley. It is contiguous with the eastern boundary of the Nyanga mountains (IBA ZW001) and has been split from that site on the basis of its warmer and more tropical environment, with consequently different vegetation and avifauna. The site is bounded in the east and south by the Holdenby Communal Land, part of Mutasa District and two large tea-estates. It is important to note that these two Nyanga IBAs (ZW001 and ZW002) encompass an extensive chain of rainforest spanning 1,000 m of elevation. Forest birds are thus protected in both their high-altitude summer habitat and their lower-altitude winter grounds.

The rainforests on the south and eastern slopes of Nyangani form the largest block of rainforest in Zimbabwe. The area immediately below Mutarazi Falls is one of the few examples of relatively pristine mid-altitude forest, dominated by Aningeria adolfi-friedericii—the only area where this tree species is found in Zimbabwe. The mid-altitude forests, characterized by Chrysophyllum and Croton, and low-altitude forest, dominated by Newtonia, Maranthes and Xylopia, extend along river courses into the two large commercial tea-estates: Aberfoyle and Eastern Highlands. The forests merge into Brachystegia woodland on the lower slopes. The past range of the forests has been severely reduced through clearing of land for tea plantations. The Communal Land is heavily settled and all of the forest cleared except for two very small patches: Pungwe Bridge Forest and Rumbise Hill Forest. The latter is dominated by Newtonia and Aidia.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. There are small patches of grassland at 1,600 m, interspersed among the forests, which contain Hirundo atrocaerulea. This species occurs regularly in the upper Kairezi river valley within the national park. Other species of interest in these forests are Smithornis capensis, Cercococcyx montanus, Cuculus poliocephalus, Bias musicus, Indicator meliphilus, Pitta angolensis, Apaloderma narina and Gypohierax angolensis. There is an unsubstantiated report of Telophorus zeylonus.

Non-bird biodiversity: There are two Specially Protected Plants that occur in this IBA: a cycad Encephalartos manikensis (Rare) and a staghorn fern Platycerium alcicorne. Rare species of orchid are known in the forests and are threatened by felling of the trees and by plant collectors.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Nyanga lowlands/Honde valley. Downloaded from on 07/12/2023.