THE OVERBERG’S IBAS
The Overberg is home to six Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs): Dassen Island; the Overberg Wheatbelt; Cape Whale Coast; De Hoop Nature Reserve; Dyer Island Nature Reserve and the Agulhas Plain-Heuningnes Estuary.
WHY ARE IBA’S IMPORTANT?
According to BirdLife South Africa, IBAs are places where bird life and the surrounding biodiversity is of international significance. These sites also hold essential ecosystems – providing those services that people need to survive, like water and food.
That’s why it’s key to conserve the sites, and those habitats that provide a home for the Overberg’s threatened bird species. Organisations like BirdLife South Africa identify these areas, and then set out to monitor and conserve them – working with partners like the Overberg Crane Group.
THE OCG FOCUSES ITS ATTENTION SPECIFICALLY ON THREE IBAS IN THE OVERBERG:
THE OVERBERG WHEATBELT
A total of 304 bird species have been recorded in this IBA. It’s also home to about 30 percent of South Africa’s Blue Crane population. Aside from this, it also provides a haven for Cape Vulture, Martial Eagle, Black Harrier and much more. And aside from the bird species, this region has highly threatened fynbos and renosterveld vegetation.
THE AGULHAS PLAIN-HEUNINGNES ESTUARY
The region, at the southernmost tip of Africa, has wonderful wetlands and estuaries, and therefore provides a home for a wide range of birds. This area is a Blue Crane stronghold. The fynbos vegetation provides the ideal habitat for Black Harriers, while the wetlands are home to a number of African Marsh Harriers. The Southern Black Korhaan used to be seen regularly in this area, but has become increasingly scarce. However, the region is a renowned biodiversity hotspot, not least because of its fynbos vegetation.
THE DE HOOP NATURE RESERVE
This IBA provides a sanctuary to at least 260 bird species. Much of the activity takes place around the De Hoop Vlei. It’s also a great site to see Blue Crane, Denham’s Bustards, the Southern Black Korhaan and Black Harriers. Cape Vultures roost on the Potberg mountains, part of the Nature Reserve. You’ll also find biodiversity-rich vegetation here, including some of the world’s most important renosterveld sites.