Critical Cambodia Birding Tour Report covers a 5-day Cambodia birding tour in December 2023 with Sam Veasna Conservation Tours (SVC).

Slender-billed and White-rumped Vultures pictured above. 

Dates:
 9th to 13th December 2023

Report Written By: Sophear Somrich, SVC Bird Guide

Locations:  Tmat BoeyBengal Florican Grasslands, Boeng Toal Vulture Restaurant

Total No. of Bird Species: 121

Map of Locations (not exact locations of birding spots):

Introduction

Our 5-day tour started from the Siem Reap site to the Bengal Florican Grassland site (Kompong Thum Province). From Bengal Florican Grassland to Tmat Boey (Northern Plain of Cambodia, Preah Vihea Province). After Four days at Tmat Boey, we headed to Vulture Restaurant (Preah Vihea Province). It was a great day on the tour, we saw our target species such as the Bengal Florican, Giant Ibis, White-shouldered Ibis, Slender-billed Vulture, and White-rumped Vulture.

Highlights of the tour

  1. Bengal Florican
  2. Giant Ibis
  3. White-shouldered Ibis
  4. Slender-billed Vulture
  5. White-rumped Vulture
  6. Spotted Owlet
  7. Brown Fish-Owl
  8. Savanna Nightjar
  9. Greater Flameback
  10. Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
  11. Large Cuckooshrike
  12. White-rumped Falcon
  13. Burmese Shrike

Critical Cambodia 5-day Tour

Six Critically Endangered birds in five days!

Cambodia is the last stronghold of a set of magnificent birds that are now so globally rare they are considered Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. This tour is a superb opportunity, not just to see these incredible species, but by supporting SVCs work with community-based conservation to give them a chance of continued survival.

Most of the bird watching takes place in open dry forest, a beautiful habitat in which to watch birds. One night is spent in our large safari-style tents, with the other nights at a purpose-built community ecolodge.

Giant Ibis Birding Tour: 3 Days, 2 Nights

Join SVC to see Giant Ibis and White-shouldered Ibis at Tmat Boey Ecolodge. This private tour also offers packages to see Bengal Florican and visit Preah Vihear Temple on Day 2.

Giant Ibis Birding Tour: 2 Days, 1 Night

Giant Ibis Birding Tour in a hurry! 2 days, 1 night at Tmat Boey Ecolodge – home of Giant Ibis and White-shouldered Ibis. Option to see Bengal Florican on the way to Tmat Boey Ecolodge.

Trip Report


Day 1: Siem Reap to Tmat Boey Ecolodge via Bengal Florican Grasslands

We started the tour from Siem Reap to Bengal Florican Grassland at 05:30 AM. It was about an hour and a half. We started birding and breakfast at Bengal Florican grassland for about 2 hours until the Bengal Florican showed up. We saw Bengal Florican, Sarus Crane, Eurasian Wryneck, Spotted Owlet, Eastern Marsh Harrier and Oriental Skylark. After birding at Bengal Florican Grassland, and then we left for Tmat Boey Site.

Before we start birding again, we will stop at the restaurant for lunchtime to gain more energy for the next places. When lunch was finished. We started to travel again for birding. There was a good place for birding in the pagoda for White-rumped Falcon and other bird species. We spent about 30 minutes birding there and then went to Tmat Boey.

When we arrived at the Tmat Boey Lodge. We took a break for around 30 minutes before birding again. Time flew by, we started birding and waiting for the White-shouldered Ibis. The bird came around 05:18 PM. Many birds come to the roosting tree. It was 20 White-shouldered Ibis. We finished for the first day.

Indochinese Silver Langur

White-shouldered Ibis at Tmat Boey

Scaly-crowned Babbler

Spotted Wood Owl

Day 2 and 3: Tmat Boey 

In the early morning, we started at 05:30 AM. We spent about an hour driving to the Giant Ibis nest. The habitat where the Giant Ibis was a beautiful view of the dry deciduous forest. It was amazing to see the bird. Before we arrived close to the nest. We were interested in a special bird called the Great Slaty Woodpecker. It was a great time to see the birds and take photographs. After we saw the target species. We came back to the lodge and lunchtime. The day was hot, and we decided to go birding again at 03:00 PM.

We returned to the White-shouldered Ibis roosting tree to get better views adn see some owls. It was good luck to see Spotted Wood-Owl in the daytime. After Owling in the daytime, we went back to the White-shouldered Ibis roosting again. We got a better view from this time. We were happy and went back on the way to see another good bird called the Brown Fish-Owl in the dark and we went back to our sleeping place safe and sound.

On Day 3, we started at 04:30 AM. We went to the White-shouldered Ibis roosting tree again to get a good view during sunrise. There were many good birds in the early morning such as White-shouldered Ibis, Common Flameback, Red-billed Blue-magpie, and so on.

After sunrise, we had to move to other places for birding. At other places, we got many good birds as well such as Brown Fish-owl, Greater Flameback, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Verditor Flycatcher, and other species. We headed back to the lodge and got ready for lunch and break.

Indochinese Silver Langur

Brown Fish Owl

Scaly-crowned Babbler

White-rumped Falcon

Day 4: Tmat Boey to Boeng Toal Vulture Restaurant

The last day at Tmat Boey. We started birding at 07:00 AM. As we saw our target species already. It was another new place for the White-rumped Falcon. The lucky hour to see the bird. We spent about 3 hours birding there. The time came and we went back to the lodge for an early lunch. After lunch, we were ready to travel to the Vulture Restaurant. Firstly, we will stop to buy some food at Preah Vihear Town.

We arrived at Vulture Restaurant at 2:45 PM. Birding will be started from the time we arrive. We took a break at the camping place for about 15 minutes and started to walk to the hiding place to wait for the vultures. The vultures do not come to feed the food. It took about 1 hour and 30 minutes to wait for them in the hide. It did not happen. We decided to go back to the camp. We did see them roosting on the high tree such as Slender-billed Vulture, White-rumped Vulture and other birds. 

Slender-billed and White-rumped Vultures

Common Kingfisher

Client digiscoping in Northern Cambodia

Day 5: Boeng Toal Vulture Restaurant to Seim Reap

On day five, we should come to the hide again but my client decided to leave the place early. We arrived in Siem Reap around noon. It was the last day to say goodbye to each other. He will go back to his country, and I will come back home. We did have each other contact. Great days and times with him in Northern Cambodia. I wish to see him again one day. 

 

Sophear Somrich

Sophear Somrich

SVC Bird Guide

Sophear has over 7 years of bird-guiding experience with SVC. His favourite birding locations in Cambodia are Tmat Boey and Bengal Florican Grasslands.

 

Complete Bird List

Total No. of Bird Species: 121

 

  1. Chinese Francolin – Francolinus pintadeanus
  2. Indian Spot-billed Duck – Anas poecilorhyncha
  3. Painted Stork – Mycteria leucocephala
  4. Woolly-necked Stork – Ciconia episcopus
  5. White-shouldered Ibis – Pseudibis davisoni
  6. Giant Ibis – Pseudibis gigantea
  7. Chinese Pond-heron – Ardeola bacchus
  8. Eastern Cattle Egret – Bubulcus coromandus
  9. Grey Heron – Ardea cinerea
  10. Purple Heron – Ardea purpurea
  11. Great Egret – Ardea alba
  12. Intermediate Egret – Mesophoyx intermedia
  13. Little Egret – Egretta garzetta
  14. Little Cormorant – Phalacrocorax niger
  15. White-rumped Falcon – Neohierax insignis
  16. Rufous-winged Buzzard – Butastur liventer
  17. Shikra – Accipiter badius
  18. Crested Serpent-Eagle – Spilornis cheela
  19. Eastern Marsh-Harrier – Circus spilonotus
  20. White-rumped Vulture – Gyps bengalensis
  21. Slender-billed Vulture – Gyps tenuirostris
  22. Pied Harrier – Circus melanoleucos
  23. Bengal Florican – Houbaropsis bengalensis
  24. Rock Pigeon – Caprimulgus affinis
  25. Red Collared-Dove – Streptopelia tranquebarica
  26. Spotted Dove – Streptopelia chinensis
  27. Zebra Dove – Geopelia striata
  28. Blossom-headed Parakeet – Psittacula roseata
  29. Red-breasted Parakeet – Psittacula alexandri
  30. Banded Bay Cuckoo – Cacomantis sonneratii
  31. Plaintive Cuckoo – Cacomantis merulinus
  32. Asian Koel – Eudynamys scolopaceus
  33. Green-billed Malkoha – Rhopodytes tristis
  34. Greater Coucal – Centropus sinensis
  35. Lesser Coucal – Centropus bengalensis
  36. Oriental Scops-Owl – Otus sunia
  37. Brown Fish Owl – Ketupa zeylonensis
  38. Spotted Wood-Owl – Strix seloputo
  39. Asian Barred Owlet – Glaucidium cuculoides
  40. Spotted Owlet – Athene brama
  41. Savanna Nightjar – Caprimulgus affinis
  42. Germain’s Swiftlet – Aerodramus [germani]
  43. Asian Palm-Swift – Cypsiurus balasiensis
  44. Crested Treeswift – Hemiprocne coronata
  45. Indochinese Roller – Coracias benghalensis
  46. White-throated Kingfisher – Halcyon smyrnensis
  47. Common Kingfisher – Alcedo atthis
  48. Little Green Bee-eater – Merops orientalis
  49. Blue-tailed Bee-eater – Merops philippinus
  50. Chestnut-headed Bee-eater – Merops leschenaulti
  51. Common Hoopoe – Upupa epops
  52. Oriental Pied Hornbill – Anthracoceros albirostris
  53. Lineated Barbet – Megalaima lineata
  54. Coppersmith Barbet – Megalaima haemacephala
  55. Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker – Dendrocopos canicapillus
  56. Eurasian Wryneck – Jynx torquilla
  57. Rufous Woodpecker – Micropternus brachyurus
  58. Black-headed Woodpecker – Picus erythropygius
  59. Common Flameback – Dinopium javanense
  60. Greater Flameback – Chrysocolaptes lucidus
  61. Great Slaty Woodpecker – Mulleripicus pulverulentus
  62. Large Cuckooshrike – Coracina macei
  63. Indochinese Cuckooshrike – Coracina polioptera
  64. Ashy Minivet – Pericrocotus divaricatus
  65. Small Minivet – Pericrocotus cinnamomeus
  66. Scarlet Minivet – Pericrocotus speciosus
  67. Black-naped Oriole – Oriolus chinensis
  68. Black-hooded Oriole – Oriolus xanthornus
  69. Large Woodshrike – Tephrodornis gularis
  70. Common Woodshrike – Tephrodornis pondicerianus
  71. Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike – Hemipus picatus
  72. Common Iora – Aegithina tiphia
  73. White-browed Fantail – Rhipidura aureola
  74. Black Drongo – Dicrurus macrocercus
  75. Ashy Drongo – Dicrurus leucophaeus
  76. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo – Dicrurus paradiseus
  77. Black-naped Monarch – Hypothymis azurea
  78. Southern Jungle Crow – Corvus macrorhynchos
  79. Racket-tailed Treepie – Crypsirina temia
  80. Brown Shrike – Lanius cristatus
  81. Burmese Shrike – Lanius collurioides
  82. Purple Sunbird – Cinnyris asiaticus
  83. Olive-backed Sunbird – Cinnyris jugularis
  84. Golden-fronted Leafbird – Chloropsis aurifrons
  85. Red Avadavat – Amandava amandava
  86. Scaly-breasted Munia – Lonchura punctulata
  87. House Sparrow – Passer domesticus
  88. Plain-backed Sparrow – Passer flaveolus
  89. Eurasian Tree Sparrow – Passer montanus
  90. Paddyfield Pipit – Anthus rufulus
  91. Common Myna – Acridotheres tristis
  92. Black-collared Starling – Gracupica nigricollis
  93. Bluethroat – Luscinia svecica
  94. Amur Stonechat – Saxicola maurus
  95. Pied Bushchat – Saxicola caprata
  96. Verditer Flycatcher – Eumyias thalassinus
  97. Taiga Flycatcher – Ficedula albicilla
  98. Asian Brown Flycatcher – Muscicapa dauurica
  99. Oriental MagpiecRobin – Copsychus saularis
  100. White-rumped Shama – Copsychus malabaricus
  101. Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher – Culicicapa ceylonensis
  102. Indochinese Bushlark – Mirafra erythrocephala
  103. Oriental Skylark – Alauda gulgula
  104. Black-headed Bulbul – Pycnonotus atriceps
  105. Black-crested Bulbul – Pycnonotus flaviventris
  106. Stripe-throated Bulbul – Pycnonotus finlaysoni
  107. Yellow-vented Bulbul – Pycnonotus goiavier
  108. Streak-eared Bulbul – Pycnonotus blanfordi
  109. Sooty-headed Bulbul – Pycnonotus aurigaster
  110. Barn Swallow – Hirundo rustica
  111. Yellow-browed Warbler – Phylloscopus inornatus
  112. Pin-striped Tit-Babbler – Macronous gularis
  113. White-crested Laughingthrush – Garrulax leucolophus
  114. Oriental Reed Warbler – Acrocephalus orientalis
  115. Striated Grassbird – Megalurus palustris
  116. Zitting Cisticola – Cisticola juncidis
  117. Dark-necked Tailorbird – Orthotomus atrogularis
  118. Common Tailorbird – Orthotomus sutorius
  119. Rufescent Prinia – Prinia rufescens
  120. Plain Prinia – Prinia inornata
  121. Brown Prinia – Prinia polychroa