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Field Guides Tour Report
Cambodia: Angkor Temples & Vanishing Birds 2020
Feb 12, 2020 to Feb 27, 2020
Doug Gochfeld & local guide Chea Seab

The legendary edifice of Angkor Wat. Its scale and the attention to detail that went into it make it are unparalleled in the history of human construction and craftsmanship. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

We met in the ancient city of Siem Reap eager to explore the country at the heart of Southeast Asia. We started off adjacent to the legendary Angkor temple complex. Tonlé Sap, the region’s largest and most ecologically important lake, lay to our south, and a vast dry forest unfurled to our east, awaiting the company of our binoculars. From our comfortable base of 6 nights in Siem Reap we struck out for day trips to the ancient and unparalleled Angkor Wat, Ang Trapeang Thma Reservoir (the massive irrigation project built by the Khmer Rouge, known in short as ATT), and the aforementioned Tonlé Sap and its fantastic Prek Toal Biosphere reserve. We then traveled east, through the Prolay Grasslands and into the dry dipterocarp forest that covers much of the country’s north. We had plenty of time in this extremely birdy dry forest, with three nights at Tmatboey and a night at the special vulture restaurant at Baeng Toal. After our wonderful time in the dry country, the Mekong River and borderlands to the East had a lot to live up to, and they did that and then some, starting with our birding in the Kratie area and the associated boat trip on the Mekong River. We then got to spend time birding an area along the Cambodia/Vietnam border, including the Seima Forest, and the very western edge of Vietnam’s Langbian Plateau, where it just barely spills over the border into Cambodia. After our fascinating and exciting time around the border, we hoofed it down to Phnom Penh, leaving enough time for an excellent experience with one of the country’s endemics, the Cambodian Tailorbird.

The highlights were many, and these bright spots ran the gamut from critically endangered waterbirds, to a first national record of a songbird. The globally rarest birds of the trip were Giant Ibis (at a nest with a young one!), White-shouldered Ibis (including a couple along the Mekong River, away from their typical habitat), and Bengal Florican, all of which are listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN.

As for other threatened birds, we saw three different Milky Storks, which was great given that fewer than 60 pairs of this worldwide vulnerable species nest in the country. One was even away from the species’ stronghold of Tonlé Sap, which is highly unusual. Our boat trip through the largest lake in the region and into the vast and vibrant Prek Toal sanctuary was headlined by plenty of Lesser Adjutants, and Oriental Darters, a distant shimmering Greater Adjutant, three species of small bittern, and an incredible experience at the breeding colony which included thousands of Asian Openbills and hundreds of Spot-billed Pelicans and Painted Storks.

Between the truly mind-boggling temples at Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm (neither of which have an equal on this Earth), we netted Forest Wagtail, White-throated Rock-Thrush, and Alexandrine Parakeet, though the temples themselves stood truly alone as highlights- the process it took to complete them must have been nearly unimaginable in scale and manpower.

As our time around Siem Reap wound down, the environs of the Khmer Rouge-built reservoir at ATT also held some very fancy birds, most notably a large (64+ individuals) flock of the Asian subspecies of Sarus Crane, Spotted Wood-Owl, Greater Spotted Eagle, and Knob-billed Duck.

The middle of the tour saw a change of scenery, to the iconic dry dipterocarp forests of the north, where we would be looking for a community of birds not found anywhere in the world outside these unique dry forests of Southeast Asia. Our experience with the world’s largest woodpecker, Great Slaty Woodpecker, was certainly not to be forgotten, even though it was during our walk to pay a visit the mega-highlight Giant Ibis nest. In addition to Giant Ibis, this was where we had our first (and typically only!) encounters with White-shouldered Ibis, and also finally tracked down White-rumped Falcon, a great diversity of woodpeckers, and four species of owl. Our lovely morning along the riparian corridor near Tmatboey produced Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Orange-bellied Trogon, Van Hasselt’s Sunbird, and a good diversity of other species not necessarily associated with dry forests. Our final night in the dipterocarp, at the Vulture restaurant at Baeng Toal, allowed us to have a spectacular experience with a melee of roughly 30 vultures of three species, Slender-billed, White-rumped, and Red-headed, all of them Critically Endangered.

After we said our goodbyes to this wonderful habitat (even seeing a bonus Brown Fish-Owl shortly before our departure), we saddled up and headed to Kratie, with an evening visit to the nearby rice paddies upon arrival. The next morning, encounters with Mekong Wagtail and Small Pratincole, and a fun interaction with Irrawaddy Dolphins were the highlights of our mariner’s experience on the Mekong River.

Seima provided a taste of birds with a bit more of a tropical flavor; our several experiences with the phenomenal Great Hornbill will be imprinted in our memories for a long time. Dusky Broadbill, Black Eagle, Golden-crested Myna, Black Baza, and the bizarrely no-tailed Heart-spotted Woodpecker were some of the avian highlights, to go along with the endangered Black-shanked Douc Langur, a monkey which is endemic to this region, with the bulk of the population being in the Cambodia/Vietnam border region.

We did really well on our expected target birds, and also had a few unexpected sightings. Dalat Shrike-Babbler, the first documented and identified record for Cambodia, was our least expected bird (though it is known to occur not too far over the border in Vietnam, to which it is often considered an endemic), but Red-necked Phalarope in a Kratie rice paddy, far from the sea coast, was perhaps more out of place on a regional level.

This year’s trip was a great success, and it was a privilege to travel with you all through this fantastically unique section of Southeast Asia. Until next time, be well, and see you somewhere on this bird-laden globe of ours!


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

This video takes you with us on our journey through Cambodia, from the largest lake in Southeast Asia, teeming with waterbirds, through the dry forests of the north with some very special and endangered birds, and all the way to the Vietnamese border in the East. Enjoy this bird-rich reminiscence. Video by guide Doug Gochfeld.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
LESSER WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna javanica) – A couple of decent-sized flocks in the distance at ATT, mostly in flight.
KNOB-BILLED DUCK (Sarkidiornis melanotos) – A nice showing of almost 30 individuals. Most were out in the distance, showing their distinctive, size, shape, and flight style (as well as that white wedge up the back), but three birds were perched in the marsh at relatively close range, allowing for a better ogle.
COTTON PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus coromandelianus) – A bunch of these at our waterfowl stops around ATT.
INDIAN SPOT-BILLED DUCK (Anas poecilorhyncha haringtoni) – A few at ATT and then scattered ones and twos elsewhere, including at Prolay.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
SCALY-BREASTED PARTRIDGE (GREEN-LEGGED) (Arborophila chloropus olivacea) – Excellent views of this species which is usually ridiculously difficult to get a single clear view of, north of Siem Reap. This subspecies is part of the "Green-legged Partridge" group, and if Scaly-breasted Partridge is split, this subspecies will have that as its new species name.
BLUE-BREASTED QUAIL (Synoicus chinensis) – Several close flight views of these tiny turbo-charged nerf footballs as they flushed at Prolay Grasslands, and a couple of the encounters provided reasonably good (identifiable) views of this distinctive-looking quail.

We had great experiences with the shy "Green-legged" subspecies of Scaly-breasted Partridge north of Siem Reap. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

CHINESE FRANCOLIN (Francolinus pintadeanus) – We got views of these a couple of times in the dry forests of the north, but we heard their loud, giggle-inducing calls every morning and every evening in those woods.
RED JUNGLEFOWL (Gallus gallus gallus) – A few wild ones north of Siem Reap, and a few at Tmatboey.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LITTLE GREBE (LITTLE) (Tachybaptus ruficollis poggei) – More than twenty of these were on the small waterbird-full pond across the road from the main reservoir at ATT.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – In settled areas only, mostly strictly in cities. [I]
RED COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia tranquebarica) – Very common in open areas, and especially in the dry dipterocarp forests.
SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis) – Common in all habitats except deep jungle.
BARRED CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia unchall) – Many flybys and a couple perched at Dak Dam.
ASIAN EMERALD DOVE (Chalcophaps indica) – An excellent experience with a troop of these often cagy doves as they came charging through the forest north of Siem Reap as if they were a band of marauding invaders.
ZEBRA DOVE (Geopelia striata) – Common, especially in settled areas.

Pin-tailed Green-Pigeons put on a great show in the Seima area near Vietnam. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

THICK-BILLED GREEN-PIGEON (Treron curvirostra) – A pair of these were perched up at the Stueng Chuuk near Tmatboey, and we also had a handful in the Seima/Dak Dam region.
YELLOW-FOOTED GREEN-PIGEON (Treron phoenicopterus) – Excellent scope views of a couple of these dry country green pigeons perched at the large trapeang at Tmatboey, where we also saw a couple of dozen fly by.
PIN-TAILED GREEN-PIGEON (Treron apicauda) – Good numbers of these great, pointy-tailed green pigeons, and a good show put on by those numbers, at Dak Dam.
GREEN IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula aenea) – A few flybys at Tmatboey and then a couple that posed very nicely in the scope.
MOUNTAIN IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula badia) – Plenty about in the Dak Dam area.
Otididae (Bustards)
BENGAL FLORICAN (Houbaropsis bengalensis) – We saw a couple of females in flight, then had nice scope views of two females, perhaps even the same individuals, in a field at Prolay. Then, we had a strikingly-plumaged male slowly fly by, flashing its bright white wings offset against the sleek black body. That male landed and we were able to get some looks at it in the scope as well. A great experience with this Critically Endangered (in large part due to habitat loss and fragmentation) bustard.

We had a nice experience with Bengal Floricans at the Prolay Grasslands, including several females and a single male (above) with its slick black body and bright white flight feathers. Photos by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER COUCAL (Centropus sinensis) – These big, strange, excellent, cuckoos were with us in a variety of habitats. One of our finest experiences with the species came along the Steung Chuuk where we got to hear a multi-bird concerto of hooting, and then got to watch one of these often-cagy birds come out to the river's edge and drink for a while in wide open view.
LESSER COUCAL (Centropus bengalensis) – A good view of one of these skulky, inconspicuous coucals teed up on top of a row of tall marsh-grass on our way into Prek Toal was great.
GREEN-BILLED MALKOHA (Phaenicophaeus tristis) – Scattered around through all regions of the tour, though not often giving prolonged looks.
ASIAN KOEL (Eudynamys scolopaceus) – Perhaps THE signature natural sound of mornings in open country in Cambodia, especially of the dry dipterocarp forest, is the Asian Koel's resonant "Ko-el". We also got to see a few individuals here and there, but just about always just flying by. For such a big bird with such a conspicuous voice and sparse habitat, it sure does do a good job of not getting seen!
VIOLET CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus) – Good views of an immature male during that whirlwind evening upon our arrival at Seima.
BANDED BAY CUCKOO (Cacomantis sonneratii) – Nice views a couple of times at the Steung Chuuk, and then some heard only individuals, including one calling sporadically well into the night at the Vulture Restaurant camp.
PLAINTIVE CUCKOO (Cacomantis merulinus) – Abundant in the paddies and ponds around Phnom Krom, south of Siem Reap, and a handful elsewhere, especially flybys during the boat trip to Prek Toal.
LARGE HAWK-CUCKOO (Hierococcyx sparverioides) – A flyby getting escorted off the premises by multiple species of starlings and mynas on our first morning of birding.
INDIAN CUCKOO (Cuculus micropterus) – They have a very distinctive call that carries a long way, and we heard multiple on at least one morning and one evening at Tmatboey. Don was having a good time dueting with them back and forth. [*]

The view of the waterbird colony at Prek Toal was breathtaking in the truest sense of the word. Seeing the birds stretch all the way to the horizon was a spiritual experience. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LARGE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus macrurus bimaculatus) – Heard from the dry forest habitats at Tmatboey and Baeng Toal. [*]
SAVANNA NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus affinis monticolus) – An excellent experience with one of these on our first evening's birding excursion at Tmatboey. It started to call loudly right around dusk, and we walked a short way over towards it, and watched it fly over and perch on a snag as it got ready to go out and forage for the night. Then it took flight and flew by closely, then circled around us and flew over again quite low- it's a fairly large, slow-flapping nightjar, and it was great to see its flight style so well and while it was still relatively light out!
Apodidae (Swifts)
SILVER-BACKED NEEDLETAIL (Hirundapus cochinchinensis) – Very good views of this giant swift (and one of the fastest non-gravity aided animals on the planet) during our morning birding around Seima!
HIMALAYAN SWIFTLET (Aerodramus brevirostris) – A few of these darker-rumped swiftlets with more deeply forked tails (than Germain's) in the Seima area.
GERMAIN'S SWIFTLET (Aerodramus germani) – The common swiftlet throughout Cambodia, and thought to be mostly resident. Identification challenges cloud the real distribution of Aerodramus swiftlets, but it is pretty clear that the majority of what we saw will have been Germain's, between the white-rumps and shallow tail forks, and their widespread presence throughout the lowlands.
HOUSE SWIFT (Apus nipalensis) – Nice views of a bird flying over the river just after lunch during our drive back to Phnom Penh on the final day of the tour.
ASIAN PALM-SWIFT (Cypsiurus balasiensis) – These swifts are very distinctive, with their long, pointy tails, zipping around haphazardly at fairly low elevations, generally close to palm trees wherein they nest. A bunch were even flying around their nesting palms at Angkor Wat.

We got our fill of ethereal sunrises in the dry dipterocarp forests of the north, where being out before the heat of the day catches up to you is a necessity. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Hemiprocnidae (Treeswifts)
CRESTED TREESWIFT (Hemiprocne coronata) – What an excellent looking bird! Great views in several locations across the dry dipterocarp forests of the north.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra) – Out on the reservoir at ATT
GRAY-HEADED SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio poliocephalus viridis) – A few out on the lake at ATT and then at least five flushed up by the guy oaring his boat along through the marsh at Krâchéh.
WATERCOCK (Gallicrex cinerea) – We had a brief look at one in flight as it flushed out of wetlands and across the road at Phnom Krom, but then we had another one just foraging on the road ahead of the vehicles during our evening birding at Krâchéh.
WHITE-BREASTED WATERHEN (Amaurornis phoenicurus) – Excellent looks at one at the Steung Chuuk, where we got to watch it forage out in the open on two occasions! A few folks then saw one working the edge of a trapeang during our final morning around Tmatboey.
RUDDY-BREASTED CRAKE (Zapornia fusca) – We heard one of these elusive crakes calling from thick grass in a large trapeang at Tmatboey. A nice surprise for the region, though perfect habitat for the species.
Gruidae (Cranes)
SARUS CRANE (Antigone antigone sharpii) – We had no fewer than 64 of this Asian subspecies, listed as vulnerable, feeding far out in the grasslands near ATT. We eventually got close enough to get reasonable scope views of them, though they definitely know how to choose spots that are difficult to get near!

Asian Openbill certainly has an odd name, until you see it in action. What a bizarre stork! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus) – Quite a few scattered around the Siem Reap area.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
RED-WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus indicus atronuchalis) – ATT, Tmatboey, and a territorial pair near the carcass at the vulture restaurant.
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (DUBIUS/JERDONI) (Charadrius dubius jerdoni) – A handful scattered throughout, with the best views being at Prolay.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
PHEASANT-TAILED JACANA (Hydrophasianus chirurgus) – A couple of these at Phnom Krom and then a few at ATT.
BRONZE-WINGED JACANA (Metopidius indicus) – A quick flyby during the boat trip at Prek Toal.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
TEMMINCK'S STINT (Calidris temminckii) – A big surprise at the Prolay grasslands was this low density winterer in one of the ephemeral ponds.
COMMON SNIPE (Gallinago gallinago) – A couple at Phnom Krom.
PIN-TAILED SNIPE (Gallinago stenura) – A few in flight at Phnom Krom, and then one studied in a scope as it foraged near Kratie.
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (Phalaropus lobatus) – A real shock as we were finishing birding the rice fields near Kratie in the late afternoon. This was an exceptional record, and likely the first one for this inland province!

This Red-necked Phalarope was a shocking vagrant in the rice paddies near Kratie on our evening of birding there. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) – During the boat ride on the Mekong.
SPOTTED REDSHANK (Tringa erythropus) – A couple of sightings of this svelte tringa at Prolay and ATT.
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) – Phnom Krom, Prolay, and Kratie.
MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis) – Great studies of this species alongside Common Greenshank and Wood Sandpiper provided an excellent insight into how to identify these superficially cryptic shorebirds.
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) – Our best views were at Phnom Krom and Kratie.
Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)
ORIENTAL PRATINCOLE (Glareola maldivarum) – One of these was perched in a rice paddy as we were driving away from Phnom Krom, and we were able to stop along the road to scope it in all of its camouflaged glory. Others were seen here and there flying over (including at ATT and Prolay), but this was the best perched view we had.
SMALL PRATINCOLE (Glareola lactea) – A great bird, we only expect these on the river islands during our boat trip on the Mekong. However, at the end of our evening jaunt in the rice fields at Kratie, we witnessed a steady stream of them coming in from the direction of the river, presumably for crepuscular foraging. A very cool context to see this species in. We also got to see a couple of pairs on their more expected sandbar habitat during our boat trip the next day.

Painted Storks don't need many words. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida) – The common tern in the region, and the only one we saw. Lots from the boat in Tonlé Sap and some others scattered around elsewhere.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
ASIAN OPENBILL (Anastomus oscitans) – Uncountable thousands during the boat trip at Prek Toal, and a few scattered elsewhere in the Siem Reap region.
WOOLLY-NECKED STORK (ASIAN) (Ciconia episcopus episcopus) – A couple of pairs circling on the way to and at Tmatboey, and then a flock of 26 thermaling overhead at the vulture restaurant was quite a sight!
LESSER ADJUTANT (Leptoptilos javanicus) – More than twenty of these hulking waders during our boat ride to the Prek Toal colony.
GREATER ADJUTANT (Leptoptilos dubius) – The rarer of the two adjutants, our looks this year were restricted to a couple of very distant birds perched up in trees seen from the tower overlooking the colony, though we could see their broad silvery wing panels even from afar.
MILKY STORK (Mycteria cinerea) – Two good experiences with this globally vulnerable species, of which there are only something like ~30 pairs breeding in Cambodia (and by extension Southeast Asia). One was foraging with some Asian Openbills and a Painted Stork as we got to the edge of the lake at Prek Toal, and much more surprising was one in a feeding flock of Painted Storks as we drove into the Prolay Grasslands, far away from the nearest known breeding area.
PAINTED STORK (Mycteria leucocephala) – Large concentrations at Prek Toal, and small numbers elsewhere, including ATT and Prolay.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ORIENTAL DARTER (Anhinga melanogaster) – A near threatened species, and the Asian analog to our Anhinga. Great numbers at Prek Toal.

The deities in an eternal tug-of-war with the stone demons on the causeway over the moat at the the East Gate of Angkor Thom (also called Victory Gate). Some of this stonework is exceptionally old, though the clean sandstone heads are restoration work crafted more recently by stone masons from Angkor Artisans. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LITTLE CORMORANT (Microcarbo niger) – We had plenty of these during the Prek Toal trip, but then we had massive numbers (a couple of thousand) flying over us heading to roost during our evening birding at Kratie.
GREAT CORMORANT (EURASIAN) (Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis) – The least common of our three cormorant species, they were sprinkled throughout the great numbers of Indian Cormorant along our Prek Toal boat ride.
INDIAN CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis) – The most common cormorant throughout most of the tour (except during that jaw-dropping evening flight at Kratie).
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
SPOT-BILLED PELICAN (Pelecanus philippensis) – A near threatened species, we had our fill and more of them during out Prek Toal boat ride.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
YELLOW BITTERN (Ixobrychus sinensis) – We had three or four flying around at Phnom Krom, and then several at Prek Toal.
CINNAMON BITTERN (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus) – A couple of flybys at Phnom Krom, a handful on the Prek Toal boat trip, and then a surprise one flushing in the marsh at Tmatboey!

Lesser Adjutants are massive storks, and we saw around two dozen during our visit to Prek Toal. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

BLACK BITTERN (Ixobrychus flavicollis) – Excellent in-flight views a couple of times, and a couple of brief perched views during our Prek Toal exploration.
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea) – Widespread and easy to see, but not particularly abundant.
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea) – Just a couple of these encountered in various wetland habitats this year, with the highest concentration coming in Prek Toal reserve, as usual.
GREAT EGRET (EURASIAN) (Ardea alba alba) – Mostly on the first half of the tour, but at Kratie too.
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (INTERMEDIATE) (Ardea intermedia intermedia) – Nice to compare these to the similar Great and Cattle Egrets side-by-side on a couple of occasions.
LITTLE EGRET (WESTERN) (Egretta garzetta garzetta) – Common in watery habitats.
CATTLE EGRET (EASTERN) (Bubulcus ibis coromandus) – Widespread, especially on driving days.
CHINESE POND-HERON (Ardeola bacchus) – Seen on most days of the tour, and based on range presumably the identity of the vast majority of the pond-herons we ran into on the tour, which are virtually indistinguishable from one another.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – A couple of these old world analogs to Green Herons on our Prek Toal boat ride.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (EURASIAN) (Nycticorax nycticorax nycticorax) – A brief view of an immature as it flushed from the side of the canal at Prek Toal.

Cambodian Tailorbird is one of the most fascinating recent species discoveries in modern ornithology. Rather than a species split or an inhabitant of a remote, difficult-to-access location, this new bird to science was discovered living in dry scrub habitat in the shadow of Cambodia's capital city of 1.5 million people in 2009. We had a great experience with several of these in close comparisons with the much more widespread Dark-necked Tailorbird. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – A few of these on our boat trip in the Prek Toal reserve.
BLACK-HEADED IBIS (Threskiornis melanocephalus) – A good number of these on our boat trip through the Prek Toal reserve. Easily over 20 individuals.
WHITE-SHOULDERED IBIS (Pseudibis davisoni) – This critically endangered ibis wasn't breeding when we were at Tmatboey, but we saw the species on a couple of occasions perched in trees there. Then we had a big surprise when a pair of them were circling over the Mekong River while we were walking around the sandy island there!
GIANT IBIS (Pseudibis gigantea) – This is one of the rarest species of waterbirds on the planet, and we were fortunate enough to see an adult tending to a very large chick at a nest at Tmatboey, where a community-based conservation program has been an enormously successful model.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – One circling over the river while we were on the sandy island in the middle of the Mekong.

It was encouraging to see an almost fully grown Giant Ibis chick during our visit to their nest near Tmatboey. This critically endangered species has one of the smallest populations of any bird species on the planet, so seeing an emerging new generation was fantastic. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
BLACK-WINGED KITE (Elanus caeruleus) – Widespread, though not particularly common, in open (mostly cultivated) areas along our route. We had encounters with several.
ORIENTAL HONEY-BUZZARD (Pernis ptilorhynchus) – A pair of these, including an adult male, got up from the forest and circled in front of us as we looked over a valley at Dak Dam.
BLACK BAZA (Aviceda leuphotes) – Flyovers at Stueng Chuuk and Seima were both in view for long enough for folks to get an appreciation for the striking plumage of this unique raptor.
RED-HEADED VULTURE (Sarcogyps calvus) – The largest, and scarcest-in-the-region of the three species of vultures that occur in the region. We were lucky with a couple of these behemoths which came in to join (or mostly spectate) at the scrum on our morning at the vulture restaurant. One did find an intestine that it liked enough to fly off with.
WHITE-RUMPED VULTURE (Gyps bengalensis) – The most common of the three species of rare vultures that occur in northern Cambodia. While they were the most numerous, they definitely were deferential to the larger Slender-billeds.
SLENDER-BILLED VULTURE (Gyps tenuirostris) – An incredibly rare vulture, their population has crashed by more than 95% over the past 20 years, due in large part to widespread use of the bovine antibiotic diclofenac, especially in India. Northern Cambodia is the last stronghold of the species in the region, with the next closest birds being in northern Myanmar. Watching these massive vultures rule the roost at the carcass was a sight to behold.
CRESTED SERPENT-EAGLE (Spilornis cheela) – Good experiences with this species on multiple days across several habitat types.

The blue of a Verditer Flycatcher is something to behold, and perhaps closest in nature to the blue coat sported by our male Mountain Bluebirds. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

BLACK EAGLE (Ictinaetus malaiensis) – A couple of great views of this large eagle in the Dak Dam region.
INDIAN SPOTTED EAGLE (Clanga hastata) – One of these took flight from a roadside field as we passed by it on our way to Baeng Toal, and it was promptly harrassed and escorted up, up, and away by a Large-billed Crow, though not before we got some diagnostic photos of this species which can be difficult to differentiate from the regionally more widespread Greater Spotted Eagle. Though difficulty of identification clouds their true regional distribution, this area is probably the best in the country to see the species, so we really lucked out.
GREATER SPOTTED EAGLE (Clanga clanga) – Fantastic views of one bird at ATT, with several other more distant individuals.
RUFOUS-WINGED BUZZARD (Butastur liventer) – The common butastur in dry habitats in the north of the country.
GRAY-FACED BUZZARD (Butastur indicus) – A couple gliding high over us on our final morning birding around Seima.
EASTERN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus spilonotus) – Scattered widely, from ATT all the way to the Mekong, and including some sharply dressed males.
PIED HARRIER (Circus melanoleucos) – A couple of these around the Prolay Grasslands.
CRESTED GOSHAWK (Accipiter trivirgatus) – A couple of glimpses over our first two days around Seima, and then a nice adult performing a display flight on our final morning.

Here the group looks at an impressive flock of 64 Sarus Cranes at the grasslands near Ang Trapeang Thma Reservoir. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

SHIKRA (Accipiter badius) – Widespread- we had these small accipiters just about anywhere, including a pair that was working on a nest alongside the road in Seima.
BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans) – One around Phnom Krom was a bit of a surprise, but the ones at ATT were right where they were expected to be.
BRAHMINY KITE (Haliastur indus) – Our best one was a great looking adult flying in front of our boat as we approached Prek Toal at the northwestern corner of Tonlé Sap.
GRAY-HEADED FISH-EAGLE (Haliaeetus ichthyaetus) – A couple of excellent experiences with these massive fish-eaters along the canals in the Prek Toal reserve.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (EASTERN) (Tyto alba stertens) – Two were hanging out in a copse of trees at ATT.

The conservation of the remnant population of vultures in Southeast Asia has been largely driven by community based efforts by various NGOs, and they have made possible scenes like this absolute spectacle we were able to witness at Baeng Toal. There is certainly a bit of gore, so if you're not into scavengers doing what they do best (or if you're in the middle of a meal), you might want to leave this video until later. Otherwise, dig in! Video by guide Doug Gochfeld.
Strigidae (Owls)
COLLARED SCOPS-OWL (Otus lettia lettia) – Consistently calling during our Tmatboey nights. We saw one in the dark before starting our birding one morning, but then we got a really fun view of a bird on a day roost which Chea found. It was stretched out like a piece of wood, blending in almost perfectly to the branches it had squeezed itself between.
ORIENTAL SCOPS-OWL (Otus sunia) – We heard these well on our first evening at Tmatboey, and one came swooping in low at us a couple of times, and we had it perched for good views briefly before it decided it was far too close to us.
BROWN FISH-OWL (Ketupa zeylonensis) – One on a nest at Tmatboey consisted of merely an eyeball, half a face, and a wing, as far as we could tell. However, near the Vulture Restaurant two days later, Chea found one perched way up in the canopy of a big tree, and this one gave excellent scope views, grumpy-looking ear-tufted flat head and all.
COLLARED OWLET (COLLARED) (Glaucidium brodiei brodiei) – Two or three were heard in the border region near Seima, but we never did lay eyes on this oft-recalcitrant species. [*]
ASIAN BARRED OWLET (Glaucidium cuculoides) – Good scope views of this common lowland species a couple of times at Angkor Wat, and then heard at Tmatboey.
SPOTTED OWLET (Athene brama) – Nice views of three (!!!) birds perching near each other at ATT, and also heard at Tmatboey.
SPOTTED WOOD-OWL (Strix seloputo seloputo) – What a sharp-looking owl! Our local guides did the requisite wrangling to find one perched deep in dense foliage in the savanna of ATT.
BROWN WOOD-OWL (BROWN) (Strix leptogrammica laotiana) – A couple of these flew by us at Tmatboey, and we had obscured views of one of them until Chea found a tiny window through which to get good scope views of the entire bird.
BROWN BOOBOOK (Ninox scutulata burmanica) – One was taunting us with calls and a couple of brief flyovers at Angkor Wat.

This pair of Chestnut-headed Bee-Eaters were loving the morning sun along the Mekong River near Kratie, making a killing on nearby flies or bees. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Trogonidae (Trogons)
ORANGE-BREASTED TROGON (Harpactes oreskios) – Great views of la femme at the Stueng Chuuk. It spontaneously started calling from nearby while we were enjoying our river vigil, and we were able to stroll over a short distance and watch it while it did its thing in the open mid-canopy.
Upupidae (Hoopoes)
EURASIAN HOOPOE (Upupa epops) – A few seen here and there, all in the dry forests, and mostly seen in flight. A couple were heard giving their distinctive eponymous hooping calls too.
Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
GREAT HORNBILL (Buceros bicornis) – WOW. I don't know what adjectives would suffice to describe the experience we had with these impressive birds at Seima and to the east. We heard their voices on multiple occasions, heard the whooshing of their wings as they flew over and by us, and watched them munching on fruits one evening at dusk. This can be a genuinely difficult bird to see in just a couple of days in the region, so to get several excellent experiences over the course of 48 hours was truly special. When you see these awe-inspiring creatures in action it doesn't take much imagination to realize that birds are indeed dinosaurs. Despite it not being nearly as globally rare or range restricted as some of the headline species on this tour, our experiences with the species allowed it to edge out both Ibis species and Bengal Florican in the voting for top bird of the trip!
ORIENTAL PIED-HORNBILL (Anthracoceros albirostris) – Impressive in its own right, we encountered these diminutive (in comparison to its hornbill relatives) hornbill on several occasions, from Tmatboey to Seima.

Forest Wagtail is one of the specialties of the habitat around Angkor Wat, and we had nice views of a bird perching up on the overgrown ruins of the entrance wall as soon as we crossed the moat. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
COMMON KINGFISHER (COMMON) (Alcedo atthis taprobana) – Plenty on the Prek Toal boat ride, and then small numbers elsewhere.
STORK-BILLED KINGFISHER (Pelargopsis capensis) – A brief flying-away view during the Prek Toal boat trip was supplanted by a great experience with one at the Stueng Chuuk, where it was in view in various perches along the river for essentially our entire few hours there! A truly impressive kingfisher- how do they keep from tipping over forwards with that monster schnozz?!
WHITE-THROATED KINGFISHER (Halcyon smyrnensis perpulchra) – Widespread in a litany of habitats- Prek Toal marshes, open fields, dry forest, pepper plantation, evergreen forest edge. You can run into these conspicuous kingfishers anywhere!
BLACK-CAPPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon pileata) – Nice scope views of this great looking kingfisher on our first morning.
PIED KINGFISHER (Ceryle rudis leucomelanurus) – Seen in a couple of places, including at ATT and during our Mekong boat trip.
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
BLUE-BEARDED BEE-EATER (Nyctyornis athertoni athertoni) – A great show put on by a pair of these big ol' bee-eaters at the Stueng Chuuk. We even got to see the blue beard drooping down on one, as it perched next to a Greater Racket-tailed Drongo for an unusual comparison.
GREEN BEE-EATER (RUSSET-CROWNED) (Merops orientalis ferrugeiceps) – These are the least aerial of the bee-eaters we encountered, tending to do their in-flight foraging closer to the ground than the others, and from fixed perched rather than while soaring around. This subspecies may well be split from the Arabian form that occurs farther west.
BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATER (Merops philippinus) – We had a great experience during the Prek Toal boat trip with this most widespread of our bee-eaters.
CHESTNUT-HEADED BEE-EATER (Merops leschenaulti leschenaulti) – We saw these starting in Tmatboey and carrying on through the Seima portion of the tour.

Collared Falconet was a great pickup along the side of the road as we drove towards Tmatboey. To give a sense of just how much falconets deserve the diminutive suffix, take a look at the size of its feet in comparison to a typical high tension power line. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Coraciidae (Rollers)
INDOCHINESE ROLLER (Coracias affinis) – These big showy rollers put on shows wherever we encountered them, especially at Tmatboey where they were chasing each other (and being chased by smaller birds) all over the dry forests.
Megalaimidae (Asian Barbets)
COPPERSMITH BARBET (Psilopogon haemacephalus) – We heard these widespread barbets around Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, but only saw them in flight on the treed areas of savanna at ATT.
BLUE-EARED BARBET (Psilopogon duvaucelii) – The most abundant barbet in the barbet-rich Seima Forest, we were immersed in a cacophony of barbet vocals during our sojourns there.
RED-VENTED BARBET (Psilopogon lagrandieri) – We heard these in a couple of places around Seima, and saw one very well on multiple occassions during our first magical evening in Seima.
GREEN-EARED BARBET (Psilopogon faiostrictus) – Very like the more-widespread-on-our-route Lineated Barbet, but with a more streaked head, obvious green ear patch, and not red around the eye. We even got to compare these to their Lineated lookalikes at Seima, where both species occur.
LINEATED BARBET (Psilopogon lineatus) – Big and loud. Angkor Wat was our first and most memorable experience with them, but they followed us to Tmatboey and even Seima.
INDOCHINESE BARBET (Psilopogon annamensis) – Abundant in the Dak Dam area, these barbets (also sometimes called Annam Barbet) inhabit higher elevations than those around Seima, so we had to get up onto the Langbian Plateau to add them to our impressive barbet list for the area.

On a tour full of excellent woodpeckers, the completely adorable Heart-spotted Woodpecker was certainly one of the highlights. It barely even has a tail! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)
SPECKLED PICULET (Picumnus innominatus) – Brief views at the end of our final morning birding expedition in Mondulkiri.
HEART-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Hemicircus canente) – We had a delightful experience with this adorable woodpecker, with its bizarre body proportions, during our the magical evening visit to Seima, and then we also had a surprise one two mornings later along the trails at Seima.
GRAY-CAPPED WOODPECKER (Yungipicus canicapillus) – A common Downy Woodpecker-sized bird which is also called "Gray-capped Pygmy Woodpecker" because of its diminutive size. They are common and widespread, and we saw them several times around Tmatboey.
YELLOW-CROWNED WOODPECKER (Leiopicus mahrattensis) – A sparse species, and one that can be difficult to track down in Southeast Asia, despite how widespread the species is in India. We found a pair of this well-named woodpecker (they DO indeed have some yellow on the crown) excavating a nesting or roosting (or both?) cavity on our final morning at Tmatboey. They weren't enthused with the proximity of a pair of Indochinese Cuckooshrikes, so they eventually made themselves scarce, but before that we had great scope views of them as they worked.
RUFOUS-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos hyperythrus) – We enjoyed our dusk experience with this spectacular looking woodpecker on our first evening in the field at Tmatboey.
FRECKLE-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos analis) – A nice eleventh hour (or eighteenth hour, as it was right around 6 PM) save was a trio of these near Krâchéh, which appeared to be an adult pair and a juvenile which was following them around.
BAY WOODPECKER (Blythipicus pyrrhotis) – Brief views of a flyby around Dak Dam, where it also vocalized from the deep (but shrinking) forest.

The epicenter of the Southeast Asian population of Spot-billed Pelicans is at Tonlé Sap, and we certainly had a great time with them during our boat ride through Prek Toal. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

GREATER FLAMEBACK (GREATER) (Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus guttacristatus) – Good views of a pair at the isolated woodland patches at ATT, and then great views of a pair perched up on our final birding morning near Mondulkiri.
RUFOUS WOODPECKER (Micropternus brachyurus) – A big surprise was one of these perching on some arid scrubland trees along a wet-season watercourse at the Prolay Grasslands. A bit out of habitat, but very welcome nonetheless, as this is a difficult woodpecker to track down.
COMMON FLAMEBACK (Dinopium javanense) – Good views several times at Tmatboey and Baeng Toal and a great view of a pair along the road in Seima on our second-to-last morning.
LACED WOODPECKER (Picus vittatus) – A solid view of one by those who were looking at the right place at the right time as one bounded across in front of the boats as we came out of the Prek Toal sanctuary.
BLACK-HEADED WOODPECKER (Picus erythropygius) – We had a fantastic first encounter with three of these at Tmatboey, and then we ran into three individuals twice more, once at Tmatboey, and once at Baeng Toal. Something about threes and this species...Their bright red backs/rumps offset against that green body and topped off by that bold black head and staring yellow eyes made these a crowd favorite.
GREATER YELLOWNAPE (Chrysophlegma flavinucha) – One made a very nice flyby bounding by us in great light as we birded the roadside in Seima forest on our second-to-last morning.
GREAT SLATY WOODPECKER (Mulleripicus pulverulentus) – A good show put on by these largest of the world's woodpeckers at Tmatboey, where they circled around us while talking (squawking) a lot and partaking in their special wings-out display/interaction behavior which is typical of the species.

This Gray-headed Fish-Eagle put in an appearance and flushed up all the waterbirds in the vicinity as it flew over. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
WHITE-RUMPED FALCON (Polihierax insignis) – We had to do some looking, but eventually a pair of these "came good" for us, as the Brits would say. We even got to watch them do a bit of interesting behavior that was likely courtship, with the female perching over the male and then both birds making piercing calls while synchronously bobbing bodies and tails up and down opposite one another.
COLLARED FALCONET (Microhierax caerulescens) – A great experience with a roadside individual, mostly perching on the utility wires, during our drive from Prolay up to Tmatboey.
Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
ALEXANDRINE PARAKEET (Psittacula eupatria) – Excellent views of them at Ta Prom.
GRAY-HEADED PARAKEET (Psittacula finschii) – A big surprise were a couple of these at the roadside stop where we first looked for White-rumped Falcon. Though common in some of its range in Southeast Asia, it's a rarity in this region. When we scoped these distant parakeets we were surprised to see the combination we hadn't expected: gray head, red bill, small red shoulder patches, and a somewhat narrow black collar.
BLOSSOM-HEADED PARAKEET (Psittacula roseata) – Nice looks at this species a couple of times in various dry habitats.
RED-BREASTED PARAKEET (Psittacula alexandri) – The most common and widespread parakeet during our time in Cambodia.
VERNAL HANGING-PARROT (Loriculus vernalis) – A great showing by these great miniature parrots on our afternoon birding excursion upon our arrival to Seima. These are often merely glimpsed, or even solely heard, as they make their way overhead, but a bunch of these were being fairly conspicuous as they fed among the treetops.

Broadbills are a great family of birds, unique to South and Southeast Asia, and we got a great experience with a couple of Dusky Broadbills on our first whirlwind evening at Seima. Look at that broad bill indeed! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Eurylaimidae (Asian and Grauer's Broadbills)
DUSKY BROADBILL (Corydon sumatranus laoensis) – Another good one at Seima. A pair (at least) of these very loudly greeted us when we interloped into their territory on our first afternoon stop there. What a broad bill indeed!
Acanthizidae (Thornbills and Allies)
GOLDEN-BELLIED GERYGONE (Gerygone sulphurea) – Heard only, this bird's loud sing-songy vocals were commented on by a few folks as we walked around the Mekong River island in the wind, but we never got a proper view of it. [*]
Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
SMALL MINIVET (Pericrocotus cinnamomeus) – The common minivet in the dry forests of the north.
SCARLET MINIVET (Pericrocotus speciosus) – We had a handful in the dry dipterocarp forest.
ASHY MINIVET (Pericrocotus divaricatus) – A few around the Siem Reap area, and then a surprise point blank one in the shade at the Cambodian Tailorbird site, which turned out to account for our best views of the tour.
BROWN-RUMPED MINIVET (Pericrocotus cantonensis) – A couple of flocks around the Seima area.
LARGE CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina macei) – After leaving the morning session at the vulture blind, we had good show by three individuals which came over calling a few times, one of which perched out in the open for a while. Very noticeably differently shaped and structured than other cuckooshrikes.
BLACK-WINGED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Lalage melaschistos) – One of these was present during our fast and furious afternoon arrival birding at Seima.

Lyle's Flying-Fox were in full view at their typical roosting site in Siem Reap. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

INDOCHINESE CUCKOOSHRIKE (Lalage polioptera) – Good views of a pair working around some dry forest on our final morning at Tmatboey, including a singing individual. They went over to investigate what the pair of Yellow-crowned Woodpeckers were doing, which sent the woodpeckers out of the area like ghosts.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
DALAT SHRIKE-BABBLER (Pteruthius annamensis) – Wow! A big surprise was seeing a large black-and-white shrike-babbler singing incessantly at Dak Dam. Given that the only species on the Cambodian list is Blyth's Shrike-Babbler, that was an early assumption by Chea, but there isn't a taxon of Blyth's that occurs near there. The closest similar shrike-babbler to there is this species, which is often mentioned as a Vietnamese endemic. The song his bird was singing clearly made it a Dalat Shrike-Babbler (via both the ear test and comparing the spectrograms), providing perhaps the first documentation of a species that has been suspected/assumed of occurring in the part of Cambodia that is at the edge of the Langbian Plateau (which is the region to which this species is endemic).
CLICKING SHRIKE-BABBLER (CLICKING) (Pteruthius intermedius intermedius) – A pair of these were moving through the canopy over our heads in the large forest at Dak Dam. The male is very sharp-looking, though it is typically high up overhead. This species barely sneaks over the border from Vietnam, so it's always special to see it in Cambodia.
WHITE-BELLIED ERPORNIS (Erpornis zantholeuca) – A few of these unique yuhina-like birds in the forests around Seima. They're now placed in their own monotypic genus, and there has in the past even been talk of making the species into a monotypic family.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
BLACK-NAPED ORIOLE (Oriolus chinensis) – A few flyovers here and there from Siem Reap all the way to Seima, but one perched up nicely while foraging right over us as we were looking at the Giant Ibis nest.

Black Eagle put on a good show in a couple of places around Seima, including this one which glided around in a valley near eye level as we drove by. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

BLACK-HOODED ORIOLE (Oriolus xanthornus) – A few encounters with this striking old world oriole in the dry forests.
Artamidae (Woodswallows, Bellmagpies, and Allies)
ASHY WOODSWALLOW (Artamus fuscus) – A few around open areas in the Seima region. This is the sole representative of its family in the region.
Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)
LARGE WOODSHRIKE (Tephrodornis virgatus) – A few around the dry forests, though greatly outnumbered by their congener.
COMMON WOODSHRIKE (Tephrodornis pondicerianus) – Abundant in the dry forests, and perhaps the most conspicuous small passerine in those habitats at Tmatboey and Baeng Toal. Their pre-dawn symphony at the Baeng Toal camp always seems out of place amid the pitch blackness.
BAR-WINGED FLYCATCHER-SHRIKE (Hemipus picatus) – Good views of a few between the Siem Reap area and Tmatboey.
Aegithinidae (Ioras)
COMMON IORA (Aegithina tiphia) – Widespread in all treed habitats, and especially common and conspicuous (both vocally and visually) in the dry forest at Baeng Toal.
GREAT IORA (Aegithina lafresnayei) – Good views on our day north of Siem Reap.

Mekong Wagtail was another recently described species, attaining species status in 2001, and named after the groundbreaking Cambodian ornithologist Sam Veasna. It is endemic to large riverine systems in the region, and after some nailbiting we finally connected with a couple of birds, including this singing male photographed by participant Kathleen John.

Rhipiduridae (Fantails)
MALAYSIAN PIED-FANTAIL (Rhipidura javanica) – Kathleen found our first one at the aptly-coined Kathleen's Pond at Prolay, and then we had some very good views of this sometimes-skulky species around Kratie.

The group at Ta Prohm temple, also known as the Tree Temple, and more recently by locals as "Tomb Raider Temple", since Angelina Jolie filmed a scene in this evocative setting. The temple was lost to civilization for hundreds of years, and in that time it was largely reclaimed by nature.

WHITE-THROATED FANTAIL (Rhipidura albicollis) – Very good views of a pair singing and hawking insects over the compost pit during our lunch between Seima and Dak Dam.
WHITE-BROWED FANTAIL (Rhipidura aureola) – This fantail is pretty specialized in terms of its habitat use, sticking to the dry dipterocarp forests of Southeast Asia.
Dicruridae (Drongos)
BLACK DRONGO (Dicrurus macrocercus) – The common roadside and open land drongo.
ASHY DRONGO (Dicrurus leucophaeus) – A few that flew over Angkor Wat were too high to assign to subspecies.
ASHY DRONGO (SOOTY) (Dicrurus leucophaeus bondi) – The common drongo in the dry dipterocarp forest.
ASHY DRONGO (CHINESE WHITE-FACED) (Dicrurus leucophaeus leucogenis) – Just about the first bird that was visible in the gloaming during breakfast at Angkor Wat was one of these white-faced migrants wintering away from its northern breeding grounds.
BRONZED DRONGO (Dicrurus aeneus) – Nice views at Dak Dam.
LESSER RACKET-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus remifer) – A couple of these (the more diminutive of the two Racket-tailed Drongos) gave good views at Dak Dam on consecutive days.
HAIR-CRESTED DRONGO (Dicrurus hottentottus) – A few of these were seen flying around through the trip, showing the distinctive recurved "winglets" on the sides of their tails, somewhat reminiscent of those on the wings of some commercial airliners!
GREATER RACKET-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus paradiseus) – These were seen a few times in the dry habitats of the north, with the best experiences coming at the Stueng Chuuk near Tmatboey.
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
BLACK-NAPED MONARCH (Hypothymis azurea) – A few seen here and there in semi-evergreen forests, from the Siem Reap area to Tmatboey.
BLYTH'S PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (BLYTH'S) (Terpsiphone affinis indochinensis) – Very nice views of both female and a showy full-tailed male north of Siem Reap.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
BROWN SHRIKE (Lanius cristatus) – Don spotted one on our first morning, and then we only saw another couple before transitioning into all Burmese Shrikes.
BURMESE SHRIKE (Lanius collurioides) – Common at Tmatboey and in the Mondulkiri area.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
RED-BILLED BLUE-MAGPIE (Urocissa erythroryncha) – Coming regularly to the feeder at Tmatboey, and also a couple flying across a trapeang one evening.
RUFOUS TREEPIE (Dendrocitta vagabunda) – Scope views of a bird first spotted by Kathy at ATT, and then another couple of encounters with flyover pairs around Tmatboey, including at the river.
RACKET-TAILED TREEPIE (Crypsirina temia) – A few brief views along the river at Tmatboey were supplanted by an excellent experience watching one of these sleek blue-eyed birds forage in spindly branches overhanging the road at eye-level on our evening birding at Kratie.
LARGE-BILLED CROW (LARGE-BILLED) (Corvus macrorhynchos macrorhynchos) – Seen on almost every day of the tour, and the only crow we expect to encounter on our route.

We sweated out White-rumped Falcon, but finally found a cooperative pair at Tmatboey, where we were priviledged enough to watch them in courtship. Photo by participant Kathleen John

Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)
GRAY-HEADED CANARY-FLYCATCHER (Culicicapa ceylonensis) – Seen on several days in appropriate forest habitat.
Alaudidae (Larks)
AUSTRALASIAN BUSHLARK (Mirafra javanica horsfieldii) – Scope views at ATT, and singing their and at Prolay.
INDOCHINESE BUSHLARK (Mirafra erythrocephala) – Brief, but nice, scope views of an individual trying to play coy, one evening near the Fish-Owl site at Tmatboey. This is a bushlark of forest rather than of open fields like most of its closely related species.
ORIENTAL SKYLARK (Alauda gulgula) – Skylarking in full song at the grasslands at Prolay and ATT.
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
COMMON TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus sutorius) – Widespread in open and cultivated lands.
DARK-NECKED TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus atrogularis) – Widespread, preferring more proper forest than the preceding species. Very vocal within its habitats, and the coolest encounter was the one that was closely associating with the endemic Cambodian Tailorbird!
CAMBODIAN TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus chaktomuk) – The incredible story of the recent discovery of this endemic species which had been living right under the noses of millions of people in the Phnom Penh area is a great illustrator of just how little we know sometimes. We saw several of these after lunch on our final day, including one that was hobnobbing with a Dark-necked Tailorbird, and all the while Common Tailorbirds were calling in the background! [E]
BROWN PRINIA (Prinia polychroa) – A couple of nice experiences with this large prinia at various points around Tmatboey.
RUFESCENT PRINIA (Prinia rufescens) – The common small prinia in the dry dipterocarp around Tmatboey.
GRAY-BREASTED PRINIA (Prinia hodgsonii) – A couple of these at the trapeang near the Brown Fish-Owl at Tmatboey.
YELLOW-BELLIED PRINIA (Prinia flaviventris) – Very good views on our very first morning.
PLAIN PRINIA (Prinia inornata) – Phnom Krom.
ZITTING CISTICOLA (TINNABULANS GROUP) (Cisticola juncidis tinnabulans) – Brief views at ATT, then good views at Prolay.

Another one of our great woodpecker highlights was the largest species of woodpecker in the world! We had a very vocal and showy pair of Great Slaty Woodpeckers cavorting during our first day of birding at Tmatboey. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)
BLACK-BROWED REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus bistrigiceps) – One of these was at Phnom Krom, and then another was at the trapeang that we spent an evening at around Tmatboey.
MANCHURIAN REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus tangorum) – Lots of in-flight views, and several brief views of this wintering specialty perched, at the Prolay Grasslands.
ORIENTAL REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus orientalis) – These large reed warblers were conspicuous at Phnom Krom.
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
STRIATED GRASSBIRD (Megalurus palustris) – One of these distinctively large grassbirds flew by us calling at Prolay.
LANCEOLATED WARBLER (Locustella lanceolata) – We had one of these mega skulkers foraging on the side of the dirt footpath on our first morning at Phnom Krom- amazing!
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
GRAY-THROATED MARTIN (Riparia chinensis) – Very brief views around the sandbar island on the Mekong.
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia) – Large numbers around Siem Reap, especially on Tonlé Sap.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – Common and widespread.
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica) – Seen on each of the final 9 days of the tour; this species is very closely related to Striated Swallow, and we even had a couple of candidates for that taxon, though their similarity in some plumages clouded any certainty as to the identification.

This Brown Fish-Owl was picked out by Chea within the high canopy at Baeng Toal. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)
BLACK-HEADED BULBUL (Brachypodius atriceps) – Most common around Dak Dam.
BLACK-CRESTED BULBUL (Rubigula flaviventris) – This bulbul with the snazzy black crest was one of the more widespread species on our tour.
RED-WHISKERED BULBUL (Pycnonotus jocosus) – A bunch of these were in the Dak Dam area, and it is always heartening to see this inquisitive songster in its natural habitat, given how many dwell in cages across Asia and beyond.
SOOTY-HEADED BULBUL (Pycnonotus aurigaster) – Plenty around in their regional strongholds.
STRIPE-THROATED BULBUL (Pycnonotus finlaysoni) – Our best views came north of Siem Reap.
YELLOW-VENTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus goiavier) – THE common bulbul around Siem Reap, placing ahead of even the abundant Streak-eared Bulbul.
STREAK-EARED BULBUL (Pycnonotus conradi) – Common around Siem Reap and beyond.

White-crested Laughingthrushes are one of the more widespread laughingthrushes in the region, yet they can still be tricky to see. The gregarious group at Changkran Roy was a real delight to watch go about their business on the forest floor. What a bird! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

PUFF-THROATED BULBUL (Alophoixus pallidus) – Nice views north of Siem Reap.
OCHRACEOUS BULBUL (Alophoixus ochraceus) – A few of these Puff-throated Bulbul lookalikes around Seima.
GRAY-EYED BULBUL (Iole propinqua) – Their ET-like calls were a constant part of the audioscape at Seima and Dak Dam, and we eventually got some good views of these, which are more often heard than seen.
BLACK BULBUL (Hypsipetes leucocephalus) – The abundant bulbul around high elevations east of Seima forest.
ASHY BULBUL (Hemixos flavala) – A couple of brief views around the Dak Dam area were eclipsed by nice prolonged views of this patchily-distributed bulbul on our final morning of the tour.
Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)
YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER (Phylloscopus inornatus) – Frequently heard calling, and we finally got some good looks on a couple of occasions around Seima.
RADDE'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus schwarzi) – Kathy and Rhys got to see one hopping around on the lawn and feeding low in some trees at the lodge at Tmatboey shortly after lunch one afternoon.
DUSKY WARBLER (Phylloscopus fuscatus) – Heard frequently in appropriate habitat, and views of a few here and there, with the best ones coming on the first morning.
TWO-BARRED WARBLER (Phylloscopus plumbeitarsus) – Heard and seen at Angkor Wat.
PALE-LEGGED LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus tenellipes) – Here and there, mostly heard, but a few folks got looks north of Siem Reap.
ARCTIC WARBLER (Phylloscopus borealis) – A bird that was likely this species was foraging in the forest nearby our river overlook at the Stueng Chuuk.
Scotocercidae (Bush Warblers and Allies)
YELLOW-BELLIED WARBLER (Abroscopus superciliaris) – Great views of this bamboo specialist in the bamboo on our final morning of the tour.
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
INDIAN WHITE-EYE (Zosterops palpebrosus) – Some good views in the Seima/Dak Dam region.
Timaliidae (Tree-Babblers, Scimitar-Babblers, and Allies)
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BABBLER (Timalia pileata) – Our final evening at Dak Dam produced a pair of this showy babbler hopping around at the brushy edge of the forest.
PIN-STRIPED TIT-BABBLER (Mixornis gularis) – Widespread in any semi-evergreen forests with vine tangles.
GRAY-FACED TIT-BABBLER (Mixornis kelleyi) – We saw these on a couple of occasions at Seima, including out-in-the-open on our morning hike on the wide trail through the forest.
WHITE-BROWED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Pomatorhinus schisticeps annamensis) – Don especially liked this bird's submarine sonar call we heard around Dak Dam, though we never had one close enough to us to lay eyes on the species. [*]
LARGE SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Megapomatorhinus hypoleucos) – Nice, albeit fairly brief, views of a bird bathing in the forest at Changkran Roy.
Pellorneidae (Ground Babblers and Allies)
SCALY-CROWNED BABBLER (Malacopteron cinereum) – We heard this at the trail edge at Dak Dam, but Chea was the only one who could lay eyes on it. [*]
PUFF-THROATED BABBLER (Pellorneum ruficeps) – Excellent views north of Siem Reap, and then an instructive listening experience which also led to views around Mondolkiri.
Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)
MOUNTAIN FULVETTA (Alcippe peracensis annamensis) – The Alcippe fulvettas we saw briefly a couple of times around Dak Dam were apparently this species. Mountain Fulvetta, and its close relative Black-browed Fulvetta both could occur in the region, but they are difficult to distinguish and also to get good views of. Based on response to playback, and the call notes which were recorded, these seemed to be Mountain Fulvettas.
WHITE-CRESTED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Garrulax leucolophus) – Fairly widespread and heard or briefly seen in several places, but spectacular views of a family troop of five doing their thing north of Siem Reap.
WHITE-CHEEKED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Ianthocincla vassali) – We heard these on our second evening in the Seima area, just after the Great Hornbills in the fruit tree episode. They were close to us, and we saw the bushes moving, but they didn't come out into the open, as is often the case with this species. [*]
SILVER-EARED MESIA (Leiothrix argentauris) – A good show put on by several of these birds singing and cavorting on our morning at Dak Dam.

When perched, the species looks more like should be called white-collared, but when you get to see them in flight, the name White-shouldered Ibis seems just right. These two were flying by while we were birding an island in the middle of the Mekong River, far away from their more typical dry dipterocarp forest habitats to the north. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Sittidae (Nuthatches)
BURMESE NUTHATCH (Sitta neglecta) – Excellent views of this nuthatch, formerly called Neglected Nuthatch, at Tmatboey.
VELVET-FRONTED NUTHATCH (Sitta frontalis) – Very nice views at Seima.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
GOLDEN-CRESTED MYNA (Ampeliceps coronatus) – Excellent views of these in Seima, and with side-by-side comparisons to the similar, but larger, Common Hill Myna as well.
COMMON HILL MYNA (Gracula religiosa) – Good views at Angkor Wat and our evening at the Brown Fish-Owl site at Tmatboey, and finally nice side-by-side comparison views with the similar-looking Golden-crested Myna at Seima.
BLACK-COLLARED STARLING (Gracupica nigricollis) – Widespread and fairly common.
ASIAN PIED STARLING (Gracupica contra) – A surprise was a pair of these boldly contrasting big starlings on our very first morning.
WHITE-SHOULDERED STARLING (Sturnia sinensis) – A few were out in the field early on during our morning at the vulture blind, but then we secured very good scope views of a single bird hanging out with other starling species during breakfast on our final morning of birding around Seima.
CHESTNUT-TAILED STARLING (Sturnia malabarica) – Good numbers at Baeng Toal and then also a few on our final morning in Mondolkiri.
COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) – Common indeed.
VINOUS-BREASTED STARLING (Acridotheres burmannicus) – A couple of these were scavenging around the edges at the Vulture Restaurant.
GREAT MYNA (Acridotheres grandis) – A widespread myna of open areas, we saw numbers of this species (formerly known as White-vented Myna) everywhere except in the proper dry forests of Tmatboey and Baeng Toal.

The group having breakfast just before sunrise at the entrance to Angkor Wat. Photo contributed by participant Kathleen John.

Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa dauurica) – Common and widespread.
ORIENTAL MAGPIE-ROBIN (Copsychus saularis) – Scattered throughout the route, with especially good views at the Kratie boat ramp.
WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA (Copsychus malabaricus) – Defending its log vigorously against all comers in the forest north of Siem Reap.
HAINAN BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis hainanus) – Heard at Angkor Wat, and then great views of a confiding male at Ta Prom.
CHINESE BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis glaucicomans) – We had at least one male, and potentially a couple of females, in the Seima area.
VERDITER FLYCATCHER (Eumyias thalassinus) – Seima and Dak Dam for this Mountain Bluebird lookalike.
SIBERIAN BLUE ROBIN (Larvivora cyane) – Great views of a female and brief views of a male north of Siem Reap.
BLUETHROAT (Luscinia svecica) – Nice views of male and female hopping around on a pond edge at Prolay.
TAIGA FLYCATCHER (Ficedula albicilla) – The distinctive trill call of this widespread winterer was heard frequently, and we saw it plenty of times as well.
WHITE-THROATED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola gularis) – Chea eventually procured excellent views of this shy and retiring species at Angkor Wat.
BLUE ROCK-THRUSH (PANDOO) (Monticola solitarius pandoo) – The female at Angkor Wat was almost certainly this resident subspecies, which calls these temple complexes home year round.
BLUE ROCK-THRUSH (PHILIPPENSIS) (Monticola solitarius philippensis) – A male of the red-bellied migrant subspecies was seen as we drove along on day 3.
SIBERIAN STONECHAT (PRZEVALSKI'S) (Saxicola maurus przewalskii) – Scattered here and there.
PIED BUSHCHAT (Saxicola caprata) – Common and widespread in open areas.

White-throated Rock-Thrush is a wary species of interior forests, so merely glimpsing one is an achievement. Luckily, they will sometimes sit still on forest perches, and with enough patience we were the beneficiaries of this character. Amazingly, this strikingly plumaged male sat long enough for everyone to get full frame scope views. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)
THICK-BILLED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum agile) – Nice views as we were leaving lunch after our morning birding at Seima.
YELLOW-VENTED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum chrysorrheum) – Good views during our whirlwind evening at Seima.
PLAIN FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum minullum) – The Seima area provided plenty of this aptly named species.
FIRE-BREASTED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum ignipectus) – A fiery male at Dak Dam.
SCARLET-BACKED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum cruentatum) – A few looks early on in the tour.
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
RUBY-CHEEKED SUNBIRD (Chalcoparia singalensis) – Nice views of a pair on our final morning along the stream as we headed out.
BROWN-THROATED SUNBIRD (Anthreptes malacensis malacensis) – Don had good looks at this bird at the Stueng Chuuk before it took to flight just as people got on it.
VAN HASSELT'S SUNBIRD (Leptocoma brasiliana emmae) – Excellent views at the Stueng Chuuk were by far our best experience with the species.

"The Black-shanked Douc-Langur was THIS big." Well, maybe that's not what's happening here, but we were certainly enjoying a troop of those endangered primates at Seima protected forest. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

PURPLE SUNBIRD (Cinnyris asiaticus) – Common in dry habitats, like Tmatboey and ATT.
OLIVE-BACKED SUNBIRD (OLIVE-BACKED) (Cinnyris jugularis flammaxillaris) – The most widespread sunbird on our route.
BLACK-THROATED SUNBIRD (Aethopyga saturata johnsi) – Some reasonable views of the regionally restricted johnsi subspecies on our final morning of the tour.
CRIMSON SUNBIRD (Aethopyga siparaja) – Seima and Dak Dam provided some great views of this great bird.
LITTLE SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera longirostra) – Good views a couple of times in the Seima area.
STREAKED SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera magna) – Seima and Dak Dam, including some good perched views, which isn't a guarantee for this frenetic species which seems to always be headed somewhere else.
Irenidae (Fairy-bluebirds)
ASIAN FAIRY-BLUEBIRD (Irena puella) – What a delightful bird. We saw several, including some of the fantastic males, showing off their demonic red eye set amidst that royal blue plumage.
Chloropseidae (Leafbirds)
BLUE-WINGED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis cochinchinensis) – Stueng Chuuk and Seima.
GOLDEN-FRONTED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis aurifrons) – Seen several times in Tmatboey and at Seima.

When we first saw this Cambodian Striped Squirrel from a distance, we assumed it was a bat hanging out in a day roost. Instead it was this squirrel chowing down on tree fruit while suspended by its legs from the tree limb. It looks a bit like it's been caught with its hand in the cookie jar. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)
BAYA WEAVER (Ploceus philippinus) – A couple of flocks totaling 350 or more flying around the reedbeds during our morning at Phnom Krom. Distressing to also see a few of these in cages in Siem Reap as pay-to-release-to-build-karma birds, which is silly and galling.
ASIAN GOLDEN WEAVER (Ploceus hypoxanthus) – Chea had a great spot for a nesting colony of these near Siem Reap, and we got to see a couple of golden males singing away around their hanging nests. This is a near threatened species whose population has declined due to the cage bird trade.
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
RED AVADAVAT (Amandava amandava) – Eventually got good views of a male teed up at Prolay.
WHITE-RUMPED MUNIA (Lonchura striata) – A flock of ten briefly perching and then flying over on our morning at Seima.
SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura punctulata) – A few nice views of adults around Phnom Krom, and then fleeting glimpses elsewhere. It's a real good looking bird, and here it's occurring its home range, rather than the ones introduced to the US and so many other places.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Settled areas.
PLAIN-BACKED SPARROW (Passer flaveolus) – Phnom Krom and Kratie.
EURASIAN TREE SPARROW (Passer montanus) – Common throughout.

Slender-billed Vulture is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, and is one of the rarest vultures in the world. We had at least seven of these hungry and formidable members of nature's clean-up crew during our time at Baeng Toal. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
FOREST WAGTAIL (Dendronanthus indicus) – Excellent views of a pair of these almost immediately upon our arrival at Angkor Wat. This interesting bird is very unlike other wagtails, and is even placed in its very own monotypic genus.
EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (EASTERN) (Motacilla tschutschensis tschutschensis) – This was the Yellow Wagtail with the white supercilium which was hanging out with the Yellow Wagtail with the dark face set inside the lighter gray cap/head (which is the next taxon).
EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (MANCHURIAN) (Motacilla tschutschensis macronyx) – One of these at the Phnom Krom rice fields was with an white-eyebrowed bird that was likely the nominate subspecies.
MEKONG WAGTAIL (Motacilla samveasnae) – This was one of our two primary targets on the Mekong River boat trip, and after a lot of finger biting and rock grinding (by the hulls), we finally came across one which gave brief looks for some. Then a short time later it popped into full view and performed a bit of song for all to see- it might as well have danced a jig.
WHITE WAGTAIL (CHINESE) (Motacilla alba leucopsis) – A nice pickup at the wetlands near Kratie during our afternoon birding there.
PADDYFIELD PIPIT (Anthus rufulus) – Widespread in cultivated areas.
OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT (Anthus hodgsoni) – A small flock at Dak Dam.
RED-THROATED PIPIT (Anthus cervinus) – A few calling flybys heard well at ATT and Prolay.

How many faces can you count in this photo of the Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom? Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

LYLE'S FLYING FOX (Pteropus lylei) – The colony of these was showing well during ur visit, with some babies hanging from adults, and a bunch of them flying around as well.
NORTHERN TREESHREW (Tupaia berlangeri) – Excellent views of this normally retiring mammal north of Siem Reap.
CRAB-EATING MACAQUE (Macaca fascigularis) – Also called Long-tailed Macaque, these were the tame ones at Angkor that included one climbing on a motorbike. It wasn't clear if it was looking for the key or some food in the basket.
SILVERED LEAF MONKEY (Presbytis cristata) – A nice surprise during the boat trip at Prek Toal was a troop which Kathleen spotted, in an area where we don't often see any monkeys. We then also had some brief views around the Vulture Restaurant. Two very different habitats, but the same species.
BLACK-SHANKED DOUC LANGUR (Pygathrix nigripes) – A very cool looking, and endangered monkey, we got some very nice experiences with these in Seima.

This Northern Treeshrew put in a couple of appearances at Changkran Roy. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

YELLOW-CHEEKED GIBBON (Nomascus gabriellae) – We got to hear their awesome vocalizations from neighboring forest as we birded the roadside in Seima at dawn.
FINLAYSON'S SQUIRREL (Callosciurus finlaysoni) – This squirrel with the white tail stripe (called more widely by the appropriate name of Variable Squirrel), was seen around Siem Reap, and was especially numerous at Angkor Wat.
CAMBODIAN FLYING SQUIRREL (Tamiops rodolphii) – Seen a couple of times around Tmatboey.
INDOCHINESE GROUND SQUIRREL (Menetes berdmorei) – Also known as Berdmore's Ground Squirrel, we saw these at Seima and Dak Dam.
IRRAWADDY DOLPHIN (Orcaella brevirostris) – A nice show from these endangered, uniquely-shaped dolphins at the end of our Mekong River boat trip. The species, as with all that depend on the riverine ecosystems in Southeast Asia and China, is in decline, though for now there are still a reasonable number along this stretch of the Mekong.
SMALL ASIAN MONGOOSE (Herpestes javanicus) – A couple of brief views of these voracious carnivores, which are also known by the name "Javan Mongoose."

This massive Tokay Gecko made a nice snack of an unsuspecting Ant-Lion at Tmatboey. It's easy to hear these geckos in forested Southeast Asia, but it's not as easy to lay eyes on them. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

COMMON HOUSE GECKO (Hemidactylus frenatus) – Commonly seen, commonly heard, commonly chased out of our rooms.
TOKAY GECKO (Gekko gecko) – One of the favorite non-birds of the trip, were these big geckos which are much more often heard than seen. But see them we did, on a couple of occasions, and their look is almost as distinctive as their resonant vocalization.


Totals for the tour: 309 bird taxa and 11 mammal taxa