Zambezi River Delta

Country/territory: Mozambique

IBA criteria met: A1, A3, A4i (1998)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 500,000 ha

Site description (2001 baseline)
The site consists of the delta and most of the flood-plain of the Zambezi river (including the Marromeu Reserve), as well as the adjoining hunting concessions (coutadas 10, 11 and 12). The habitats present include open water (fresh and estuarine), sandbanks, isolated pools, marshland, grassland and Acacia savanna in the delta and flood-plain, extensive lowland forest and deciduous woodland in the hunting concessions, and Brachystegia woodland on the western fringes of the site. The sparse human population is involved in fishing and agriculture on a small scale.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. The site supports a breeding population of Grus carunculatus. The latest available count is of c.70 breeding pairs, but breeding numbers are likely to fluctuate. More than 2,000 birds have been present on occasion. Many waterbirds occur, and concentrations of Anastomus lamelligerus have been observed to exceed the 1% threshold of 1,000 birds. Circaetus fasciolatus and Sheppardia gunningi are forest residents. This is the only IBA site in Mozambique where the latter species is known to occur. Two species typical of the Afrotropical Highlands biome occur, as do two of the Zambezian biome. Current knowledge of the wetland habitats is based on aerial surveys, and investigation on the ground is likely to discover other threatened or restricted-range species.

Non-bird biodiversity: Among larger mammals, Loxodonta africana (EN) occurs (30–40 animals). Significant populations of threatened amphibians, fish and other aquatic fauna are likely but as yet unknown.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Zambezi River Delta. Downloaded from on 07/12/2023.