Umalila Mountains

Country/territory: Tanzania

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 12,000 ha

Nature Tanzania
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2011 very unfavourable very high low
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2001 baseline)
The forests and integrated grassland habitat that comprise this IBA are scattered among steep hills north-east of the Songwe river, which forms the international border with Malawi. To the north-east the site is separated from the extinct volcanos of Mount Rungwe and Mpopoto (TZ065) by the Kiwira river valley. This site is somewhat drier than Mount Rungwe, with woodland replacing forest as high as 2,000 m. The area is extensively cultivated with little remaining natural forest cover. The Forest Reserves (FRs) which form the IBA are highly fragmented forest islands: Umalila Catchment Forest Reserve (CFR) (3,796 ha), Mpara CFR (1,048 ha), Kyosa LA-FR (957 ha), Msimwa LA-FR (727 ha), Iyondo LA-FR (973 ha), Ileje Range proposed FR (6,500 ha, only c.50 ha closed-canopy forest) and Kabulo proposed FR (3,500 ha). The IBA also includes several proposed CFRs in Ileje District: Bwenda/Shiringa (1,500 ha), Chabu (3,570 ha), Halembo (264 ha), Membe (5,500 ha), Nalupembe (126 ha), Pimbi (785 ha), Shinji (3,700 ha) and Zuba (1,116 ha).

Key biodiversity
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The birdlife of this site is poorly known. Among the more interesting species collected have been Cossypha anomala, Pseudoalcippe abyssinica, Modulatrix stictigula, Andropadus tephrolaemus, A. milanjensis, A. masukuensis, Turdus olivaceus, Zoothera gurneyi and Linurgus olivaceus. Nationally rare birds such as Lagonosticta nitidula and Ploceus xanthopterus approach their northern limits along the Songwe river. Stactolaema olivaceum rungweensis was described from forest near Isoka. Ploceus bertrandi occurs along some of the smaller streams at higher altitudes. Psalidoprocne pristoptera is resident, while Hirundo dimidiata, a rare cold-season visitor from southern Africa, reaches its northern limits in the Umalilas.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Umalila Mountains. Downloaded from on 02/03/2024.