With nearly 47% of the country covered by forests, Cambodia is not only famous for its magnificent Khmer temples but also for its captivating birding tours. Venture on a trip throughout Siem Reap with our bird-watching guide from the Cambodia Bird Guide Association (CBGA) to spot and admire the beauty of more than 200 species of birds in the area, including some of the world’s most critically endangered.
Siem Reap - An Exceptional Destination for Bird-Watching Tours
Enjoy birding inside the Angkor Great Park, followed by a visit to the iconic temples within this UNESCO World Heritage Site complex for a truly exceptional experience. The tropical lowland semi-evergreen forest inside the temple compound supports a great environment for many types of bird species, especially migrant birds such as the Oriental Darter, Hainan Blue, Taiga and Asian Brown Flycatchers. Complete a day of “temple-birding” by visiting the atmospheric and overgrown Ta Phrom, where large fig trees have breached the temple walls in many places, making it a special and one-of-a-kind resting place for our small friends.
Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary
Bird watching in Prek Toal
Situated in the northwest corner of the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, the Tonle Sap, Prek Toal core bird reserve is home to the largest breeding colonies of water birds in the area. The reserve covers 22,000 hectares of seasonally flooded forest where only the tallest trees can withstand the annual floods, providing a habitat for cormorants, pelicans, storks, and many other birds to roost and nest. Twitchers will be transferred to a local community boat, which is part of an initiative to help spread income from eco-tourism to the local village economy, and head into the core reserve to a treetop observation platform next to many different kinds of bird colonies.
Ang Trapaeng Thmor
Originating as a reservoir, Ang Trapaeng Thmor (ATT) is now the Sarus Crane reserve administered by the Forestry Administration (FA), with over 300 of these magnificent birds congregating to feed here every dry season. Over 250 species have been recorded at the site, 18 of which are globally threatened. Bird-watchers can add a bit of culture to their itinerary by visiting the traditional silk weaving village of Phnom Srok located just next to the reserve.
Another not-to-be-missed site is Florican Grasslands, where Twitchers can spend a few hours scanning for the critically endangered Bengal Florican and other grassland species. The conservation areas mainly contain grassland dominant landscapes, which are now extremely rare in Southeast Asia and which have been disappearing rapidly in Cambodia in recent years. In addition to the Bengal Florican, birders can try to spot the rare wintering Manchuring Reed-Warbler, and many different kinds of Raptors including the Greater Spotted Eagle, Pied Harrier, Eastern Marsh-harrier, Siberian Ruby Throat, and Small Buttonquail.
Last but not least, Tmatboey is a remote Khmer village of about 230 families situated in the centre of the northern plains of Cambodia. It is the country’s largest protected area managed by the Ministry of Environment. Tmatboey is the only known site where both Giant and White-Shouldered Ibises,which are threatened by conversion and habitat disturbance, can breed and be reliably seen. The birds are found in the forests surrounding the village, which are a beautiful mosaic of different kinds of deciduous trees.
FYI: The best time to see many of these birds are from the cool, dry season, between December and February, although many bird species can be spotted year-round. During the cool season, the daytime temperatures are in the low thirties (Celsius) and the heat is dry. Night time temperatures are typically in the low twenties though occasionally a cold snap will drop to 13 or 14.
Please contact our experts for more updates to add onto your birding itinerary.