The present study compared Sand Forest bird assemblages found in a communal land area with that of the Tembe Elephant Park, and determined the habitat preference and status of selected herbivore species within the Tembe Elephant Park in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The main purpose of the study was to compare Sand Forest bird assemblages found in the Tshanini Community Conservation Area, which is characterised by low levels of human utilisation, with that of the Tembe Elephant Park, which is characterised by wildlife utilisation. This approach was used to determine the biological importance of this communal land area in contributing towards the conservation of the rare Sand Forest habitat. The second purpose of the study was to identify possible competition between selected herbivore species within the Tembe Elephant Park and/or a decrease in numbers of rare species. It is important to protect a viable portion of the preferred habitat of every target species within a reserve, and to keep competition with rare species to a minimum for the long-term survival of the regional biodiversity.