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Guidebook Highlights the Beautiful Birds of Cambodia’s Sandan Ecotourism Site

Winrock International

The USAID Supporting Forests and Biodiversity Project (USAID SFB) is offering a free, easy-to-use guidebook about the birds at Kampong Thom’s Sandan community-based ecotourism site.

The guidebook, which can be downloaded free, has high-definition pictures and detailed information about 50 significant bird species living in the forests, lakes, and rice fields of the ecotourism site.

USAID SFB is being implemented by Winrock International in collaboration with the Reasmey Phoum Pir Kiri Boeung Kranhak Ecotourism Committee.  The book can be downloaded here:

The Reasmey Phoum Pir Kiri Boeung Kranhak community-based ecotourism site in Sandan Commune offers trekking trails, paddle boating, bicycle riding, and, best of all, some of the best birdwatching in Southeast Asia — all of this nestled in a colorful country setting of rice fields, water buffalos and small-farm households.

“The Birds in Sandan guidebook was developed to help Cambodian and international tourists appreciate the immense biodiversity of our beautiful forest site, which is located on a well-maintained road just 50 kilometers from the ancient Sambor Prei Kuk temple.  Members of the community have learned to appreciate the birds and offer guided birdwatching tours to promote the uniqueness of the site and the need for bird conservation in Cambodia,” said Mr. Seng Ann, chief of Kampong Thom’s Provincial Tourism Department.

“By visiting this community-based ecotourism site, you will not only be enjoying some of the most beautiful scenery in Cambodia, you will also be supporting the conservation of the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary and providing important income to forest-dependent villagers,” said Mr. Sean Kimsorn, Chief of the Ecotourism Committee.

“Local guides have identified at least 130 species of birds in Sandan throughout the year,” said Martin Leighfield, the ecotourism expert who authored the guidebook.  “This guidebook provides important information on 50 of the most important birds at the site and is designed for casual birdwatchers planning to enjoy a day or two on the lake or in the forest identifying the birds they will encounter.”

An Easy to Use Guidebook

The book is divided into four sections.  The first section describes 13 featured species, including globally threatened or locally scarce birds such as the woolly necked stork and the great hornbill. Included also are some dramatic but easily observed birds such as the black kite and large-tailed nightjar, cotton pygmy goose, or little cormorant.

The other three guidebook sections cover bird species organized by habitat — water birds, forest birds, and field birds — to help tourists locate birds more quickly. Featured species appear in these sections as well, and refer to pages with detailed information.

The Guidebook was Developed with Technical and Financial Assistance from USAID

USAID SFB has been working with the local communities in and around Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary (PLWS) since 2012 to promote forest conservation and improve biodiversity. The project began assisting the community-based ecotourism site at Reasmey Phoum Pir Kiri Boeung Kranhak in 2013 through capacity-building training to help community members provide high-quality services to tourists visiting the site.

Materials for download

– The Bird Book is available for free download at

– The Leaflet on Reasmey Phoum Pir Kiri Boeung Kranhak Ecotourism Site is available for free download in English or Khmer

More from The Mekong Eye on birds in the Mekong Region

– Troubled Wings: 7 Birds We May Lose From The Mekong

– The Bird’s Eye View: What Endangered Birds Tell Us About the Risks of Mekong Development