Umlalazi Nature Reserve

Country/territory: South Africa

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

Area: 1,318 ha

Protection status:

BirdLife South Africa
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2014 medium unfavourable medium
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
Umlalazi lies directly adjacent to the town of Mtunzini, 120 km north of Durban. It is bounded in the north by the Umlalazi river and its lagoon, in the west by a prawn farm and cane and timber lands, in the south by Amatikulu Nature Reserve, and in the east by the sea. It is bisected by the Siyayi river, which has its own lagoon. The terrain is flat. Dune forest occupies much of the reserve, with trees of Olea, Vepris, Ekebergia, Dovyalis and Scolopia. Wet areas beyond the influence of brackish water bear extensive stands of reed Phragmites. Fringing the Siyayi Lagoon is a swamp-forest with Barringtonia and Hibiscus. By contrast, around the Umlalazi Lagoon is a beautiful mangrove forest of Avicennia and Bruguiera, with saltmarsh in the upper tidal reaches.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. The belts of coastal forest are important wintering grounds for Zoothera guttata, Telophorus quadricolor, Cossypha dichroa, Cercotrichas signata, Lamprotornis corruscus and Nectarinia veroxii. The mangroves in the estuary hold a healthy wintering population of Halcyon senegaloides. The freshwater portion of the river has many backwaters, with overhanging vegetation suitable for Gorsachius leuconotus, Podica senegalensis and Scotopelia peli.

Non-bird biodiversity: The orchid Didymophlexis verrucosa is endemic to the reserve and its immediate surrounds. Two Red Data fish, Eliotris melanosoma and Taenioides jacksoni (LR/nt) are almost certainly present in the estuary.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Umlalazi Nature Reserve. Downloaded from on 28/10/2020.