South-east Botswana

Country/territory: Botswana

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

Area: 750,000 ha

BirdLife Botswana
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2012 low favourable low
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
This extensive site includes the Pitsane grasslands as well as mixed savanna, low rolling hills and farmland stretching north from Ramatlabama on the South African border to Gaborone, north to Bokaa and then west to the Moshawong Valley and then south through Thamaga and Kanye down through Mokgomane and into the Pitsane grasslands. The Pitsane grasslands themselves are in the extreme south-east of Botswana, lying south of 25°30’S and east of 25°E, stretching from Ramatlabama west along the Ramatlabama river and Molopo river valleys to Phitshane Molopo, north from Ramatlabama to Pitsane, from Pitsane west to Good Hope, and from there south-west down to Phitshane Molopo. Apart from open grasslands, there is also Acacia parkland and low, scrubby Acacia savanna. Much of the pasture and savanna is used for grazing by livestock, but there are extensive, if small, individual areas under cultivation too. Those parts of the site to the north of the Pitsane grasslands include cultivation, mixed savanna, rolling tree or bush-clad hills and several pans, notably Kgoro Pan and Kgajane Pan near Good Hope and Thamaga, which retain water in winters following good rains.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 2 for key species. South-east Botswana holds an important population of the restricted-range species Certhilauda chuana, which is widespread and locally abundant in the area. The site holds c.70% of its Botswanan population, comprising 8,000–10,000 birds. In addition, Grus paradisea (sometimes pairs with immature birds) are regularly seen at or near Kgoro Pan and may breed nearby, whilst Falco naumanni regularly hunt over the grasslands in the austral summer, and Circus pygargus also occurs. Gyps coprotheres from the breeding colony at Mannyelanong Hill use the area for most of their foraging. The site also supports a number of species which occur in Botswana only, or mainly, in this south-east corner; these include Francolinus levaillantoides, Eupodotis senegalensis (two records only), Macronyx capensis and Euplectes progne. There are a few records of Cursorius rufus, now rare in Botswana. A wide range of species restricted to the Kalahari–Highveld biome occur, including Philetairus socius which breeds, other than in the Kalahari in south-west Botswana, only in an isolated population in the Pitsane grasslands. The Palearctic migrant Hippolais olivetorum is not uncommon throughout much of the site.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: South-east Botswana. Downloaded from on 20/03/2023.