Giant Ibis Birding Tour Report covers a 3-day Cambodia birding tour in November 2023 with Sam Veasna Conservation Tours (SVC). 

Giant Ibis pictured above.

Dates:
 23rd to 25th November 2023

Report Written By: Hang Oeang, SVC Bird Guide

Locations:  Tmat BoeyBengal Florican Grasslands, Preah Vihear Temple and Koh Ker Temple

Total No. of Bird Species: 127

Clients and reviews: Mr. Adam Dare and Mr. Lawrence Dare

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

Introduction

This is a 3 day trip that includes several birding sites around Cambodia such as Bengal Florican Grassland, Tmatboey Ecolodge, Preah Vihear temple and Koh Ker complex or Linga Pura city.

We started our tour from Siem Reap province very early in the morning to Bengal Florican Grassland, which is a seasonally inundated outer-floodplain grassland with some small areas of scrub with our target birds such as Bengal Florican, Pied Harrier, Pin-tailed Snipe, Striated Grassbird, Manchurian Reed Warbler, Oriental Skylark, Painted Stork and other species around that area. We did start a bit early in the season for Bengal Florican but we did try our best to observe the Bengal Florican, however, we had a small chance to see it.

Tmat Boey Ecolodge is the home of two critically endangered species located in the Northern Plain of Cambodia, Giant Ibis and White-shouldered Ibis. Other species include Savanna Nightjar, White-rumped Falcon, Yellow-crowned Woodpeckers, Streak-throated Woodpeckers, Black-headed Woodpeckers, Brown Boobook, and Brown Fish-owl.

After seeing our key birds, we spent a half day visiting the main temple near the Thai border called “Preah Vihear Temple”. Then, we returned to the lodge for lunch and prepared our stuff before checking out. We were leaving from Tmat Boey Ecolodge to Siem Reap town at 1:30 pm. Along the way, we also had a stop at Koh Keh complex, exploring around 2 hours for birds and temples.

Highlights of the tour

1. Giant Ibis
2. White-shouldered Ibis
3. Brown Fish-owl
4. Pied Harrier
5. Striated Grassbird
6. Pin-tailed Snipe
7. Rufous Woodpecker
8. Burmese Shrike
9. Scarlet Minivet
10. Rufous-bellied Woodpecker
11. Streak-throated Woodpecker
12. Black-headed Woodpecker
13. Savana Nightjar
14. Manchurian Reed Warbler
15. White-rumped Shama
16. Indochinese Bushlark

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.

Tonle Sap Waterbirds and Floating Village Adventure

This 1-day, private tour to Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary is essential for all birders!

Prek Toal is globally important for eight species of bird; Spot-billed Pelican, Greater Adjutant, Lesser Adjutant, Milky Stork, Painted Stork, Black-headed Ibis, Oriental Darter and Grey-headed Fish-Eagle. Thousands of commoner waterbirds also breed here, and over 150 species have been recorded.

Trip Report


Day 1: Bengal Florican Grassland and Tmat Boey Ecolodge

We left early from our hotel in Siem Reap to Bengal Florican grassland on national #6 to the east of Siem Reap, Cambodia. We spent an hour and a half to reach our destination, then met our local guide at Preah Hout Community along the way to the birding spotted area. Even though, the birding tour starts a bit early in the season for the Bengal Florican and also some bird species that have not migrated yet.

We had good weather to observe all the bird around us. We have seen many birds such as Painted Stork, Pin-tailed Snipe, Oriental Skylark, Chestnut Munia, Asain green Bee-eater, Manchurian Reed Warbler and some more species of Starling.

We did bird watching at Preah Hout area for around 3 hours and then we moved to Tmat Boey Ecolodge in Preah Vihear province. We drove for around 5 hours to our next destination, and we had a small break for lunch near Beng Mealea temple for about 30 min.

We reached Tmat Boey Community Ecolodge at 2:30 p.m. Check-in at the lodge and do some rest after a long drive. We met our local guide Mr Chherm and had some discussion about our itinerary. We decided to leave our lodge at 3:00 pm to look for our target bird with our local guide. We walked about 30 mn to the White-shouldered Ibis’s rooting tree because the bridge across the river was broken during the rainy season, and our car could not access the spotted area.

We saw around 18 White-shouldered Ibis at its rooting tree. After seeing the birds, then, we walked back to the car at 6:30 pm and drove back to the lodge to get some rest and dinner at 7 pm.

Indochinese Silver Langur

Birding at Bengal Florican site

Scaly-crowned Babbler

White-shouldered Ibis 

Day 2: Tmat Boey 

We planned to a bit early to see the Giant Ibis at its nesting tree, so, we left the lodge at 5:30 am. We drove about 20 min to the site but we had issues reaching the spotted area in our 4×4 car due to roads damaged in the wet season. So, we had to walk about 20 min to see the Giant Ibis.

We had a beautiful time observing Giant Ibis with their small chick in the nest for about 20 min, then, we looked around the area to find a good place to set up our breakfast. Along the way to the Giant Ibis’s nest, we see many birds such as Rufous-winged Buzzard, Common Flameback, Green Imperial Pigeon, Shikra, Small Minivet, White-rumped Munia, and Nuthatch species. After seeing our key bird species, we moved to other places and looked for the White-rumped Falcon. Luckily, we did see 3 of the White-rumped Falcon.

In the afternoon time, we left at 3:00 pm to go to the site called Phnom Raeng for other key birds such as Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Streak-throated Woodpecker, and Savana Nightjar.

When we arrived in the area, we felt so quiet from the nature. We keep walking along the trail to find our key species. We found Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Black-hooded Oriole, White-browed Fantail, Large Cuckooshrike, Burmese Shrike, Rufous Woodpecker, and Savanna Nightjar. After exploring around about 3 hours, we walked back to the car and returned to the lodge. Refreshing with shower and dinner at 7:00 pm.

Indochinese Silver Langur

Giant Ibis nesting

Scaly-crowned Babbler

Spotting the Giant Ibis

Day 3: Tmat Boey, Preah Vihear Temple, Koh Ker Temple and Siem Reap

At 5:30 am, we left the lodge and drove about an hour and half to the foothill of Preah Vihear temple. We did arrive there at 7:30 am, and we had breakfast because the ticket booth was not open yet. So, we had breakfast there and did some bird watching around that area.

The ticket booth was opened at 8:00 am, then we went up the clip of Dong Raek mountain for our temple tour. Along the way, we did birdwatching and saw a target bird of our client, Black-hooded Bulbul, and other warblers, sunbirds, and flowerpecker species.

After visiting the temple, we returned to the lodge and arrived back at 10:30 am, had a break, refreshed with shower, and had lunch at noon. At 1:30 pm, we left the lodge to visit our last temple called “Koh Ker” a new world heritage site that had just registered with UNESCO.

We spent an hour and a half exploring this ancient city and found another key bird for our client. Black-headed Woodpecker was a lifer for our client at that time because we tried many places near Tmat Boey Lodge and looked for it but we did not see it, so, our last spotted area and was our last chance to find it. Finally, we saw them and some other species such as minivets, bulbuls, nuthatches, woodshrikes etc.

After bird watching around Koh Ker Complex, we visited the main temple called Koh Ker temple for about an hour.

After the temple, we went back to Siem Reap town directly, nonstop because the traffic was a bit busy during the water festival. Drop off the clients at Yi’s family homestay outside the Siem Reap town.

Tmat Boey Lodge

Common Kingfisher

Preah Vihear Temple

Hang Oeung

Hang Oeung

SVC Bird Guide

Hang has over 7 years of bird-guiding experience with SVC but has also worked for over 15 years prior as one of Cambodia’s best temple guides. 

 

Complete Bird List

Total No. of Bird Species: 127
E-bird Trip Report: https://ebird.org/tripreport/175072

 

 1. Indian Spot-billed Duck – Anas poecilorhyncha
2. Chinese Francolin – Francolinus pintadeanus
3. Red Collared-Dove – Streptopelia tranquebarica
4. Spotted Dove – Spilopelia chinensis
5. Zebra Dove – Geopelia striata
6. Yellow-footed Green-Pigeon – Treron phoenicopterus
7. Green Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula aenea
8. Greater Coucal – Centropus sinensis
9. Savanna Nightjar – Caprimulgus affinis
10. Germain’s Swiftlet – Aerodramus germani
11. Asian Palm Swift – Cypsiurus balasiensis
12. Crested Treeswift – Hemiprocne coronata
13. Little Ringed Plover – Charadrius dubius
14. Red-wattled Lapwing – Vanellus indicus
15. Pin-tailed Snipe – Gallinago stenura
16. Common Snipe – Gallinago gallinago
17. Wood Sandpiper – Tringa glareola
18. Barred Buttonquail – Turnix suscitator
19. Asian Openbill – Anastomus oscitans
20. Painted Stork – Mycteria leucocephala
21. Spot-billed Pelican – Pelecanus philippensis
22. Little Egret – Egretta garzetta
23. Chinese Pond-Heron – Ardeola bacchus
24. Eastern Cattle Egret – Bubulcus coromandus
25. Great Egret – Ardea alba
26. Medium Egret – Ardea intermedia
27. Gray Heron – Ardea cinerea
28. Purple Heron – Ardea purpurea
29. White-shouldered Ibis – Pseudibis davisoni
30. Giant Ibis – Pseudibis gigantea
31. Rufous-winged Buzzard – Butastur liventer
32. Eastern Marsh Harrier – Circus spilonotus
33. Pied Harrier – Circus melanoleucos
34. Shikra – Accipiter badius
35. Brown Fish-Owl – Ketupa zeylonensis
36. Asian Barred Owlet – Glaucidium cuculoides
37. Eurasian Hoopoe – Upupa epops
38. Common Kingfisher – Alcedo atthis
39. Pied Kingfisher – Ceryle rudis
40. Asian Green Bee-eater – Merops orientalis
41. Blue-tailed Bee-eater – Merops philippinus
42. Indochinese Roller – Coracias affinis
43. Coppersmith Barbet – Psilopogon haemacephalus
44. Lineated Barbet – Psilopogon lineatus
45. Gray-capped Pygmy Woodpecker – Yungipicus canicapillus
46. Rufous-bellied Woodpecker – Dendrocopos hyperythrus
47. Freckle-breasted Woodpecker – Dendrocopos analis
48. Rufous Woodpecker – Micropternus brachyurus
49. Common Flameback – Dinopium javanense
50. Streak-throated Woodpecker – Picus xanthopygaeus
51. Black-headed Woodpecker – Picus erythropygius
52. Great Slaty Woodpecker – Mulleripicus pulverulentus
53. White-rumped Falcon – Neohierax insignis
54. Alexandrine Parakeet – Psittacula eupatria
55. Blossom-headed Parakeet – Psittacula roseata
56. Red-breasted Parakeet – Psittacula alexandri
57. Small Minivet – Pericrocotus cinnamomeus
58. Scarlet Minivet – Pericrocotus speciosus
59. Ashy Minivet – Pericrocotus divaricatus
60. Large Cuckooshrike – Coracina macei
61. Indochinese Cuckooshrike – Lalage polioptera
62. Black-naped Oriole – Oriolus chinensis
63. Black-hooded Oriole – Oriolus xanthornus
64. Common Woodshrike – Tephrodornis pondicerianus
65. Common Iora – Aegithina tiphia
66. White-browed Fantail – Rhipidura aureola
67. Black Drongo – Dicrurus macrocercus
68. Ashy Drongo – Dicrurus leucophaeus
69. Hair-crested Drongo – Dicrurus hottentottus
70. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo – Dicrurus paradiseus
71. Brown Shrike – Lanius cristatus
72. Burmese Shrike – Lanius collurioides
73. Red-billed Blue-Magpie – Urocissa erythroryncha
74. Rufous Treepie – Dendrocitta vagabunda
75. Large-billed Crow – Corvus macrorhynchos
76. Gray-headed Canary-Flycatcher – Culicicapa ceylonensis
77. Singing Bushlark – Mirafra javanica
78. Indochinese Bushlark – Mirafra erythrocephala
79. Oriental Skylark – Alauda gulgula
80. Common Tailorbird – Orthotomus sutorius
81. Dark-necked Tailorbird – Orthotomus atrogularis
82. Brown Prinia – Prinia polychroa
83. Rufescent Prinia – Prinia rufescens
84. Plain Prinia – Prinia inornata
85. Zitting Cisticola – Cisticola juncidis
86. Manchurian Reed Warbler – Acrocephalus tangorum
87. Oriental Reed Warbler – Acrocephalus orientalis
88. Striated Grassbird – Megalurus palustris
89. Barn Swallow – Hirundo rustica
90. Black-headed Bulbul – Microtarsus melanocephalos
91. Black-crested Bulbul – Rubigula flaviventris
92. Streak-eared Bulbul – Pycnonotus conradi
93. Stripe-throated Bulbul – Pycnonotus finlaysoni
94. Yellow-vented Bulbul – Pycnonotus goiavier
95. Sooty-headed Bulbul – Pycnonotus aurigaster
96. Yellow-browed Warbler – Phylloscopus inornatus
97. Radde’s Warbler – Phylloscopus schwarzi
98. Two-barred Warbler – Phylloscopus plumbeitarsus
99. White-crested Laughingthrush – Garrulax leucolophus
100. Velvet-fronted Nuthatch – Sitta frontalis
101. Burmese Nuthatch – Sitta neglecta
102. Common Hill Myna – Gracula religiosa
103. Black-collared Starling – Gracupica nigricollis
104. Indian Pied Starling – Gracupica contra
105. Common Myna – Acridotheres tristis
106. Vinous-breasted Myna – Acridotheres leucocephalus
107. Asian Brown Flycatcher – Muscicapa dauurica
108. White-rumped Shama – Copsychus malabaricus
109. Verditer Flycatcher – Eumyias thalassinus
110. Hainan Blue Flycatcher – Cyornis hainanus
111. Taiga Flycatcher – Ficedula albicilla
112. Amur Stonechat – Saxicola stejnegeri
113. Pied Bushchat – Saxicola caprata
114. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker – Dicaeum cruentatum
115. Ruby-cheeked Sunbird – Chalcoparia singalensis
116. Purple Sunbird – Cinnyris asiaticus
117. Ornate Sunbird – Cinnyris ornatus
118. Golden-fronted Leafbird – Chloropsis aurifrons
119. White-rumped Munia – Lonchura striata
120. Chestnut Munia – Lonchura atricapilla
121. Red Avadavat – Amandava amandava
122. House Sparrow – Passer domesticus
123. Plain-backed Sparrow – Passer flaveolus
124. Eastern Yellow Wagtail – Motacilla tschutschensis
125. Richard’s Pipit – Anthus richardi
126. Paddyfield Pipit – Anthus rufulus
127. Red-throated Pipit – Anthus cervinus