Umvoti Vlei

Country/territory: South Africa

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

Area: 2,800 ha

Protection status:

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

Site description
Umvoti vlei lies 11 km due south of Greytown. It forms the headwaters of the Umvoti river. The terrain is almost flat. The wetland owes its existence to a sill of tough sandstone that has retarded downcutting of the Umvoti river. There is some open water at the lower end of the vlei, where clay soils impede drainage. However, the major part of the site, where the soils are alluvial, is a dense, tall, permanently flooded reedbed Phragmites. Sedge meadows with Cyperus, Carex, Leersia and Juncus form narrow fringes in places.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. The wetland areas are good for Grus carunculatus and Balearica regulorum, which winter here in large numbers. The surrounding grassland supports several species of conservation concern, including Geronticus calvus, Grus paradisea, Neotis denhami and Circus maurus. The site is suspected to hold several pairs of Botaurus stellaris. The Carex beds have good potential for Sarothrura ayresi.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Umvoti Vlei. Downloaded from on 10/08/2020.