Mount Moreland - Important Bird Area (IBA) - Barn Swallows
What is an IBA ?
Important Bird Areas form part of an international conservation
programme implemented and run by BirdLife International and its worldwide partners to protect and conserve bird
In South Africa their partner is BirdLife South Africa.
IBAs protect and conserve not just birds, but the habitats that
support them and in so doing, also protect other plant, insect, reptile and mammal life that live there. It's what
is known as Biodiversity.
There are over 120 IBAs in South Africa and more than 10 000 IBAs
In 2007 The Lake Victoria wetland, Mount Moreland, managed by the Mount Moreland
Conservancy was declared an
IBA, an Important Bird Area, by Birdlife International and BirdlifeSA as
it hosts a roost of over 1% of the world's migratory barn
The Mount Moreland roost is also South Africa's largest barn swallow
Estimates of the number of Barn Swallows using the roost at any given
time vary from 1.5 million to the more popular 3 million.
In fact numbers of Barn Swallows could well exceed these estimates,
even 10 million has been estimated, as it is now realised that
the Lake Victoria roost at Mount Moreland is a important transitionary roost, acting as a
stop-over for barn swallows on their way to more southerly
Since 1996 the Lake Victoria Conservancy, made up of environmentally
aware and concerned Mt Moreland residents, have acted as the local
custodians for the Barn Swallows and their wetland roost, particularly
championing their cause during the development of the nearby King
Shaka International Airport.
As a result of work done Birdlife and the Conservancy, the Airports
Company South Africa installed a special bird Detect radar which was
further adapted to monitor the tiny barn swallows and their movements in
relation to the relatively low approach flight path of the
aeroplanes. This 'early warning' system which feeds straight into
the Airport's Air Traffic Control tower and is relayed to
pilots will safe guard both the planes and the barn swallows.
It is a worldwide first and its success could
provide not only kudos for South Africa and ACSA but some
very interesting and unique data on the barn swallows.
For more details visit
The Mt. Moreland Roost is an IBA - (Important Bird Area).
Birdlife International has declared it such as it contains over 1% of the world’s barn swallows. IBA’s are
recognised throughout the world as important bird sites. The possible destruction of the Mt. Moreland
roost would not wipe out all the barn swallows in the world but would be a very good way to start and it
would be a shocking indictment of South Africa’s attitude to this international environmental phenomenon.
Hence an IBA was needed and achieved.
The Swallow Roost, the Mt. Moreland wetlands and their catchments,
the Umdloti river, the flood plain, and the nearby estuary leading to the
sea at Umdloti are a gem waiting to be polished. It would serve our City well if it took cognisance of this
and provided a green corridor to compensate for the excessive carbon footprint created by the