Aural Mountain Birding Trip Report in December 2022 with Sam Veasna Conservation Tours (SVC).
Dates: 1st to 4th December 2022
Report Written By: Ladong Nan, SVC Bird Guide
SVC Client: Gerry Richards, Australia
Locations: Aural Mountain
Total No. of Bird Species: 70
This is a four-day birding trip report organized by Sam Veasna Conservation Tour led by SVC guide Ladong. The starts from Phnom Penh and it takes about 3 hours from Phnom Penh to Aural Mountain. Phnom Aural is located in the Cardamon Mountains and is the highest peak in Cambodia. It is 1813 meters above sea level. Its location in the southern plains is a bit off the beaten trek and offers a great opportunity to see some really interesting species that are not seen in other parts of Cambodia. The evergreen Aural forest is home to the Cambodian Laughingthrush (one of the two endemic bird species in Cambodia) and many other rare birds, that rank at this high elevation.
Highlights of the tour
- Cambodian Tailorbird
- Cambodian Laughingthrush
- Cambodian Blue Robin
- Cambodian Flowerpecker
- Blue-winged Minla
- Chestnut-headed Partridge
- Great Hornbill
- Wreathed Hornbill
- Mountain Scops-owl
- Eastern Crowned Warbler
Aural Mountain Birding Trip Report
Day 1: Morning arrival at Srekenbei and climbing up Aural Mountain
This morning we leave from Phnom Penh at 4:30 AM in the morning and head to Srekenbei village where we will meet our community and our porters, we arrive at Srekenbei at 7:00 AM in the morning from other sites (for instance Phnom Penh to Srekenbei Village).
The trip will start after an early breakfast by transferring by a local two-wheel drive to the base where we start the climb up the hill to the campsite and spend 3 nights and 4 days over there. As there is no camp or village, we have to set up our own campsite. Our porter will bring all the necessary gear: hammock, food, water, and other basic necessities (only). A porter can carry some of our personal gear as well.
Our journey will take about 7 or 8 hours. During our trekking, we saw a lot of good birds along the way such as Black-crested Bulbul, Hainan Blue Flycatcher, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Long-tailed Broadbill, Dusky Broadbill, Great Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, other bird’s species. we reach the top at a later time in the evening.
Day 2: Full day birding around Aural Mountain
This is the second day, today we will spend full a day birding around the area of Aural and we don’t need to trek up to the top of the hill, So, this morning we need to wake up very early, at 6:00 am and leave from the campsite, after having breakfast, tea and coffee and go for birding until afternoon and walk back to the campsite for lunch.
While trekking in the morning, that time we got a very good look at some bird species and we get many vocalizations of birds too, Anyway, many things were found while we trekking such as Great Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, Blyth’s Shrike-babbler, Orange-headed Thrush, Streaked Wren-Babbler, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Hume’s White-eye, Davison’s Leaf Warbler, Black-throated Sunbird, Yellow-bellied Warbler, Asian Fairy-bluebird, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, etc. after we saw many birds and included our target birds. we walked back to the campsite for lunch and a rest.
Then we went for afternoon bird watching, this time, we were trekking to find Cambodian Laughingthrush. Fortunately, we have good luck when we heard a song by Laughingthrush calling nearby our campsite, and then we went to find it, that time we got a very good look at flocks of Cambodian Laughingthrush on the tree branch with one Lesser-necklaced Laughingthrush too, we keep do birding until the dark and walk back to the camp spot for overnight.
Day 3: Full day birding around Aural Mountain
Today we will spend our full day birding around the area of Aural and we will trek to the top of the hill of the mountain, So, this morning we need to wake up very early, at 5:45 am and leave our camp and trek to the top of the mountain after having our breakfast, tea and coffee and pack lunch box for the afternoon.
We will trek up to the top mountain and we spend a few hours finding White-tailed Robin (now called Cambodian Blue Robin) and Blue-winged Minla. While we trek down and up to the top of the mountain, we heard many vocals of birds from the tall tree nearby us and we spot walking and find a good spot for looking birds. At that time birds saw many good birds and included our target birds such as Cambodian Blue Robin, Blue-winged Minla, and other birds such as Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Blyth’s Shrike-babbler, Wreathed Hornbill, Orange-headed Thrush, Eyebrowed Thrush, Indochinese Green-Magpie, Streaked Wren-Babbler, Warbler, and other bird species. We keep birding until late afternoon we walk downhill back to the campsite overnight.
Day 4: Early Morning birding Aural; then downhill back to Srekenbei and transfer on to next destination.
We will spend our morning as the last birding for Aural. Then after breakfast, we will walk downhill back to Srekenbei.
The journey back will be faster with just 4-5 hours, so around 1:00 pm we will arrive at the village and continue with our car toward the next destination Phnom Penh for looking at Cambodian Tailorbird and finish the tour in Phnom Penh at Hotel late evening.
Ladong has over 10 years of bird guiding experience with SVC and has often represented SVC at international birdfairs including in Thailand in 2015 and Malaysia in 2016. Giant Ibis and White-shouldered Ibis are his favourite species to show clients in Cambodia.
Aural Mountain Birding Trip Report Complete Bird List
Total No. of Bird Species: 70
- Chestnut-headed Partridge Arborophila cambodiana
- Scaly-breasted Partridge Arborophila chloropus
- Silver Pheasant Lophura nycthemera
- Oriental Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus
- Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
- Shikra Accipiter badius
- Mountain Hawk Eagle Nisaetus nipalensis
- Rock Dove Columba livia
- Red Collared-dove Streptopelia tranquebarica
- Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis
- Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
- Zebra Dove Geopelia striata
- Thick-billed Green-pigeon Treron curvirostra
- Mountain Imperial-pigeon Ducula badia
- Vernal Hanging Parrot Loriculus vernalis
- Mountain Scops Owl Otus spilocephalus
- Collared Owlet Glaucidium brodiei
- Germain’s Swiflet Aerodramus [germani]
- Asian Palm-swift Cypsiurus balasiensis
- Orange-breasted Trogon Harpactes oreskios
- Red-headed Trogon Harpactes erythrocephalus
- Indochinese Roller Coracias benghalensis
- Blue-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis athertoni
- Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris
- Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis
- Wreathed Hornbill Aceros undulatus
- Green-eared Barbet Megalaima faiostricta
- Moustached Barbet Megalaima incognita
- Blue-eared Barbet Megalaima australis
- Greater Yellownape Chrysophlegma flavinucha
- Long-tailed Broadbill Psarisomus dalhousiae
- Dusky Broadbill Corydon sumatranus
- Blue Pitta Pitta cyanea
- Blyth’s shrike-babbler Pteruthius aeralatus
- White-bellied Erpornis Erpornis zantholeuca
- Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus speciosus
- Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus
- Great Iora Aegithina lafresnayei
- White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis
- Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus
- Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer
- Hair-crested Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus
- Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea
- Indochinese Green Magpie Cissa hypoleuca
- Burmese Shrike Lanius collurioides
- Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis
- Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata
- Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra
- Thick-billed Flowerpecker Dicaeum agile
- Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectus
- Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis
- Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella
- Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis
- Orange-headed Thrush Zoothera citrina
- Green Cochoa Cochoa viridis
- White-tailed Robin Myiomela leucura
- Hainan Blue Flycatcher Cyornis hainanus
- Snowy-browed flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra
- Grey-eyed Bulbul Iole propinqua
- Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus
- Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
- Yellow-bellied Warbler Abroscopus superciliaris
- Chestnut-crowned Warbler Seicercus castaniceps
- Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus
- Hume’s white-eye Zosterops auriventer
- Streaked Wren-Babbler Napothera brevicaudata
- Cambodian Laughingthrush Garrulax ferrarius
- Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush Garrulax monileger
- Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica
- Cambodian Tailorbird Orthotomus chaktomuk
- Variable Squirrel Callosciurus finlaysonii
- Cambodian Striped Squirrel Tamiops rodolphii