|Most recent IBA monitoring assessment|
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The Wilderness–Sedgefield Lakes complex (WSLC) incorporates the Wilderness National Park and the Goukamma Nature Reserve along the coastal belt east of Wilderness. The entire lakes complex lies below the 5 m contour line on the flat Touw river flood-plain. Three discrete lake systems comprise the Wilderness–Sedgefield Lakes complex. The first, to the west, is the Wilderness lakes system, which consists of a natural channel, the Serpentine, which links the Touw river to its estuary and flood-plain. The channel also runs between Eilandvlei to two other lakes, Langvlei and Rondevlei. The central system is known as Swartvlei, and it consists of a large lake, Swartvlei, which is connected to the sea via the Swartvlei estuary. The last system, which lies to the east, is a single landlocked lake known as Groenvlei. Collectively, they are the only warm-temperate coastal lakes with a marine connection in South Africa.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The site supports an average of 10,868 non-passerine waterbirds every month, and the monthly total has ranged between 4,841 and 24,427 waterbirds between 1980 and 1984. The system is important for Palearctic migrant waders and southern African waterbirds, especially ducks (Anatidae), which moult and breed here. The lakes support 72 waterbird species, including good numbers of Thalassornis leuconotus and Anas undulata.The marsh and reedbeds surrounding the lakes hold Circus ranivorus, Rostratula benghalensis, Ixobrychus minutus, Porzana pusilla, Sarothrura rufa, Rallus caerulescens and small numbers of Tyto capensis. The coastline holds notable numbers of Haematopus moquini. Although not present in very significant numbers, up to 6,000 Palearctic waders, consisting primarily of Calidris ferruginea, C. minuta and Philomachus pugnax, can be found within the system during the austral summer. The well-wooded backwaters on Swartvlei and Groenvlei hold small numbers of Podica senegalensis and Alcedo semitorquata.
Non-bird biodiversity: The forests hold several endemic plant species including Gladiolus vaginatus and Satyrium princeps. The endemic and threatened fish Hippocampus capensis (EN) occurs in the Swartvlei estuary. The terrestrial vegetation surrounding the wetland system supports the endemic vertebrates Myosorex longicaudatus (VU), Myosorex varius and Breviceps fuscus.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Wilderness - Sedgefield Lakes Complex. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 07/08/2020.