Giant Ibis Birding Tour with Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary Report covers a 4-day Cambodia birding tour in March 2023 with Sam Veasna Conservation Tours (SVC). 

Giant Ibis pictured above.

 24th to 27th March 2023

Report Written By: Hang Oeang, SVC Bird Guide

Locations: Prek Toal Bird SanctuaryTmat BoeyBengal Florican Grasslands

Total No. of Bird Species: 157

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


Giant Ibis Birding Tour and Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary 4-day trip include several birding sites around Cambodia. The sites were including Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary, Bengal Florican Grassland, and Tmat Boey Ecolodge.

We started our tour from Siem Reap at one of the most beautiful places called Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary, located in Battambang province. It is a popular area for ecotourism and birdwatching with the rarest birds in our target’s species such as Milky Stork, Greater Adjutant, Lesser Adjutant, Painted Stork, Black-headed Ibis, Asian Openbill, Grey-headed Fish-eagle, Oriental Darter, Cormorants, and Spot-billed Pelican.

Bengal Florican Grassland is Seasonally inundated outer-floodplain grassland with some small areas of scrub with our targets such as Bengal Florican, Eastern Marsh-Harrier, Indochinese Bushlark, Oriental Skylark, Bluethroat, Oriental Pratincole, Painted Stork, and Sarus Crane.

Tmat Boey is the home of two critically endangered species that was located in the Northern Plain of Cambodia, so, the priority bird is Giant Ibis and White-shouldered Ibis. Other species such as Savanna Nightjar, Yellow-crowned Woodpeckers, Streak-throated Woodpeckers, Black-headed Woodpeckers, Brown Boobook, and Brown Fish-owl.

Highlights of the tour

  • Giant Ibis
  • White-shouldered Ibis
  • Bengal Florican
  • Manchurian Reed Warbler
  • Greater Adjutant
  • Lesser Adjutant
  • Milky Stork
  • Grey-headed Fish-eagle
  • Spotted Wood-owl
  • Brown Fish-owl
  • Yellow-crowned Woodpecker
  • Black-headed Woodpecker
  • Streak-throated Woodpecker
  • Sarus Crane
  • Brown Boobook
  • Savanna Nightjar

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: Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary

Prek Toal is a unique place for all the bird watchers who feel so excited to see the birds over there. Besides birds, is the daily life of local people who live on the water around Tonle Sap Lake. So, our tour started from Siem Reap hotel at 5:30 am with a 4-wheel drive to the boat ferry dot at Mechrey Village.

We spent 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach the ferry dock, then we got on the boat and continued our journey. Along the way, we passed through Mechrey’s floating village and saw the floating house of the people who lived there. We did not stop there and our boat keep moving till we reached another floating village called “Prek Toal”, one of the biggest floating villages around the Tonle Sap Lake.

Our boat was checked at the MOE (Ministry of Environment) building and then we were swapped from a wooden boat to a long-tail boat then continue our trip till we reached the platform that was built on the tree top. Along the way there, we did see many birds along the river like Grey-headed Fish-eagle, Painted Storks, Common Kingfishers, White-throated Kingfishers, Egrets family, Plaintive Cuckoos, Spot-billed Pelicans, Lesser Adjutant, Greater Adjutant, Milky Storks, Asian Openbill, and another diving birds like Oriental Darters and cormorants. 

After we finished our bird-watching time at the platform, then we came back to the Prek Toal floating village town for lunch at an NGO restaurant called “Saray” around 11:30 am. Before lunch, we visited the water hyacinth weaving centre that was stayed next to the Saray restaurant. We returned to Siem Reap at around 4pm.

Indochinese Silver Langur

Client at Prek Toal

Scaly-crowned Babbler

Stork colony at Prek Toal

Day 2: Siem Reap to Tmat Boey via Bengal Florican Grasslands

We left our hotel in Siem Reap at 5:30 am to Bengal Florican Grassland on national road #6 to the east of Cambodia. We spent an hour and a half to reach our destination, then we met our local guide from Preah Hout Community to the Bengal Florican spot site. It seems so lucky at that time because just parked our car when we saw 12 Bengal Floricans, 2 of them are female birds, displayed and flying around our parking area. We did move around to see more birds like the Manchurian Reed-warbler, Asian green Bee-eater, Oriental Skylark, Indochinese Bushlark, Oriental Pratincole, Siamese Pied Starling, Painted Storks, and Sarus Crane.

Pair of White-rumped Pygmy Falcons

Bengal Florican


Finishing our bird-watching there, we continued our trip to Tmat Boey Ecolodge. Along the way, we stopped at one of the local restaurants for lunch and bought some fruits before we reached the Ecolodge Community. We arrived at the Ecolodge at 2:00 pm and met a community of people there like a local guide, cooker, and security guide to make us feel like 5-star accommodation in the deep forest.

After greeting our local people at the ecolodge we planned to see Giant Ibis at the pound (feeding area) at 3:00 pm. We did leave at 3 pm for the Ko Koh Thnol area, looking for the Ibis. When we arrived there, we had seen 2 White-shouldered Ibis flying out from the pound and perched on rooting that far away from us. We keep going to stay close to the pound, and then, one Giant Ibis was flying out then the rest of them keep following behind. In total, we saw 3 Giant Ibis and 2 White-shouldered Ibis.

Unfortunately, the weather broke and it started to rain so we moved quickly back to the lodge and rested. However, when we arrived at the ecolodge, the rain stopped. We decided to do bird watching around our lodge, looking for Brown Boobook and Brown Fish-owl. We lost our time with Giant and White-shouldered Ibis but we gain more time with Brown Fish-owl. A closet view that we never had before about 5 meters to the rooting tree, and then we were looking for Brown Boobook, just a good view from the scope. 

Indochinese Silver Langur

Tmat Boey Ecolodge

Scaly-crowned Babbler

Giant Ibis

Day 3: Tmat Boey

We started early at 4:30 am, we packed our breakfast and went back to Ko Koh Thnol again for the Giant and White-shouldered Ibis feeding pound area for our client to get a close shot of the Giant Ibis. Around 5:30 am we heard Giant Ibis call with two different places. We stayed there quiet with hope after hearing its call. Unfortunately, we did not see the Giant and White-shouldered Ibis come. 

We changed our plan to another place for White-rumped Falcon. We did explore the Srah Toek for an hour, and finally, we two birds White-rumped Falcon. We did see a female bird for about 2 minutes and then, she moved back to its nesting tree. We followed her till we found her nest in a hole in a dead tree stump. We tried to call her out but she did not come. About 15 minutes later, a male bird came and perched on the tree branch near its nest. We had a good time with him and our client was moved to a very good angle to gain a good shot of him. Then, we returned to the lodge for lunch and rested.  

We started our tour again at 3:30 pm and went to the Phnom Raeng area looking for target birds such as Rufous-bellied Woodpeckers, Black-headed Woodpeckers, Yellow-crowned Woodpeckers, Great Slaty Woodpeckers, and Savanna Nightjar. On the trail looking for Savanna Nightjar, we tried to find another species of bird but it seems so quiet because the weather is extremely hot and humid. We just had common birds such as Oriole, Cuckoo, Cuckoo-shrike, and Nuthatches, and heard some of the other birds call till we arrived at the spot Savanna Nightjar. We saw 3 juvenile Savanna Nightjars. We spent an hour taking its picture. We saw Streak-throated Woodpecker on the way back to our car and went back to Tmat Boey Ecolodge for dinner and rest.

White-rumped Falcon

Common Kingfisher

Brown Fish-owl

Day 4: Tmat Boey to Siem Reap

We started our tour as scheduled that we plan at yesterday evening. We left the lodge at 4:30 am, to Ko Koh Thnol again for Giant Ibis. We saw 3 Giant Ibis leave their rooting tree at 5:45 am and then we moved to the Ko Koh Thnol pound where the ibis was feeding. Whilst we were able to get good views at a distance through the scope, we were unable to get any close views of ibis feeding at the pond.

After a morning of birding, we then went back to the lodge and prepare our stuff at 10:00 am. We left the lodge at 1:00 pm after lunch and arrived at Siem Reap Hotel at 3:30 pm, dropping off our client at the hotel.


Dawn at Tmat Boey

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: 157
E-bird Trip Report:



  1. Knob-billed Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos
    2. Indian Spot-billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha
    3. Chinese Francolin Francolinus pintadeanus
    4. Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
    5. Rock Pigeon Columba livia
    6. Red Collared-Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica
    7. Spotted Dove Spilopelia chinensis
    8. Zebra Dove Geopelia striata
    9. Orange-breasted Green-Pigeon Treron bicinctus
    10. Yellow-footed Green-Pigeon Treron phoenicopterus
    11. Green Imperial-Pigeon Ducula aenea
    12. Bengal Florican Houbaropsis bengalensis
    13. Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis
    14. Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis
    15. Green-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis
    16. Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus
    17. Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus
    18. Large Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides
    19. Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus
    20. Himalayan Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus
    21. Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis
    22. Germain’s Swiftlet Aerodramus germani
    23. Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis
    24. Crested Treeswift Hemiprocne coronata
    25. White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus
    26. Sarus Crane Antigone antigone
    27. Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus
    28. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
    29. Pin-tailed Snipe Gallinago stenura
    30. Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
    31. Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
    32. Small Buttonquail Turnix sylvaticus
    33. Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum
    34. White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
    35. Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida
    36. Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans
    37. Asian Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus
    38. Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus
    39. Greater Adjutan tLeptoptilos dubius
    40. Milky Stork Mycteria cinerea
    41. Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala
    42. Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster
    43. Little Cormorant Microcarbo niger
    44. Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
    45. Indian Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscicollis
    46. Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis
    47. Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis
    48. Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus
    49. Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis
    50. Gray Heron Ardea cinerea
    51. Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
    52. Great Egret Ardea alba
    53. Intermediate Egret Ardea intermedia 
    54. Little Egret Egretta garzetta
    55. Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
    56. Chinese Pond-Heron Ardeola bacchus
    57. Javan Pond-Heron Ardeola speciosa
    58. Striated Heron Butorides striata
    59. Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
    60. Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus
    61. White-shouldered Ibis Pseudibis davisoni
    62. Giant Ibis Pseudibis gigantea
    63. Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus
    64. Crested Serpent-Eagle Spilornis cheela
    65. Rufous-winged Buzzard Butastur liventer
    66. Eastern Marsh-Harrier Circus spilonotus
    67. Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus
    68. Gray-headed Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus ichthyaetus
    69. Barn Owl Tyto alba
    70. Collared Scops-Owl Otus lettia
    71. Brown Fish-Owl Ketupa zeylonensis
    72. Asian Barred Owlet Glaucidium cuculoides
    73. Spotted Owlet Athene brama
    74. Spotted Wood-Owl Strix seloputo
    75. Brown Boobook Ninox scutulata
    76. Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops
    77. Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata
    78. Asian Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis
    79. Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus
    80. Indochinese Roller Coracias affinis
    81. Coppersmith Barbet Psilopogon haemacephalus
    82. Lineated Barbet Psilopogon lineatus
    83. Gray-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Yungipicus canicapillus
    84. Yellow-crowned Woodpecker Leiopicus mahrattensis
    85. Rufous-bellied Woodpecker Dendrocopos hyperythrus
    86. Rufous Woodpecker Micropternus brachyurus
    87. Common Flameback Dinopium javanense
    88. Streak-throated Woodpecker Picus xanthopygaeus
    89. Black-headed Woodpecker Picus erythropygius
    90. Great Slaty Woodpecker Mulleripicus pulverulentus
    91. White-rumped Falcon Neohierax insignis
    92. Blossom-headed Parakeet Psittacula roseata
    93. Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri
    94. Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus
    95. Large Cuckooshrike Coracina macei
    96. Indochinese Cuckooshrike Lalage polioptera
    97. Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis
    98. Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus
    99. Ashy Woodswallow Artamus fuscus
    100. Large Woodshrike Tephrodornis virgatus
    101. Common Woodshrike Tephrodornis pondicerianus
    102. Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus
    103. Common Iora Aegithina tiphia
    104. White-browed Fantail Rhipidura aureola
    105. Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
    106. Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus
    107. Hair-crested Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus
    108. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus
    109. Burmese Shrike Lanius collurioides
    110. Red-billed Blue-Magpie Urocissa erythroryncha
    111. Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda
    112. Racket-tailed Treepie Crypsirina temia
    113. Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos
    114. Horsfield’s Bushlark Mirafra javanica
    115. Indochinese Bushlark Mirafra erythrocephala
    116. Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula
    117. Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus atrogularis
    118. Brown Prinia Prinia polychroa
    119. Rufescent Prinia Prinia rufescens
    120. Gray-breasted Prinia Prinia hodgsonii
    121. Plain Prinia Prinia inornata
    122. Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis
    123. Manchurian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus tangorum
    124. Striated Grassbird Cincloramphus palustris
    125. Bank Swallow Riparia riparia
    126. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
    127. Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica
    128. Sooty-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus aurigaster
    129. Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier
    130. Streak-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus conradi
    131. Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus
    132. Pin-striped Tit-Babbler Mixornis gularis
    133. White-crested Laughingthrush Garrulax leucolophus
    134. Burmese Nuthatch Sitta neglecta
    135. Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis
    136. Black-collared Starling Gracupica nigricollis
    137. Siamese Pied Starling Gracupica floweri
    138. Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
    139. Great Myna Acridotheres grandis
    140. Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica
    141. Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis
    142. White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus
    143. Bluethroat Luscinia svecica
    144. Amur Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri
    145. Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata
    146. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker Dicaeum cruentatum
    147. Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Chalcoparia singalensis
    148. Purple Sunbird Cinnyris asiaticus
    149. Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis
    150. Streaked Weaver Ploceus manyar
    151. Chestnut Munia Lonchura atricapilla
    152. Red Avadavat Amandava amandava
    153. House Sparrow Passer domesticus
    154. Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
    155. Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis
    156. Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus
    157. Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni

Mammal List

1. Long Tailed Macaque Macaca fascicularis
2. Cambodian Striped Squirrel Tamiops rodolphii
3. Variable Squirrel Callosciurus finlaysonii