If you are taking a trip to Southeast Asia and you are a fan of wildlife, then we would certainly recommend that you head down to Prek Toal Core Bird Reserve, the largest bird sanctuary in this part of the world, housed on the edge of the stunning Tonle Sap Great Lake.
This reserve features some amazing tours that will enable you to travel through some of the most beautiful scenery to observe some of nature’s most exotic freshwater birds, including the Spot-billed Pelican, Milky Stork, Painted Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Greater Adjutant, and Black-Headed Ibis… as well as many more!
So why should you take a trip to the Prek Toal Core Bird Reserve? How many species of birds are housed here?
What else can you see at this reserve? Well, we answer all of these questions and more with one comprehensive guide to the Prek Toal Core Bird Reserve.
What Is The Prek Toal Core Bird Reserve?
This is an area in Cambodia that is located near the city of Siem Reap and the West Corner of Tonle Sap.
The reason that the reserve is housed here is because it has an amazing range of biodiversity. This has over 150 species of birds in this reserve.
Here there are tree shrubs that provide a lot of cover for birds to thrive safely.
There are also trees that are semi-dense, which are perfect nesting spots for these many species.
Many endangered species of birds live here and are protected by conservationists.
If you are staying in one of the hotels in the city of Siem Reap, then you can organize a boat trip to Prek Toal.
This trip usually starts at around 5 am and is a 3-hour trip, bringing you to the reserve at around 8 am.
There is breakfast and lunch provided, the latter occurring at the floating village of Prek Toal itself.
There is also an environmental research station that you can stay in overnight, with a paddle boating tour that circumnavigates the whole island.
What Birds Can You Find At Prek Toal?
As we have mentioned above, there are 150 species of bird that you can find at the Prek Toal Reserve. Here is a list of some of the birds that you can find here:
- Lesser Whistling-duck
- Cotton Pygmy-goose
- Indian Spot-billed Duck
- Comb Duck
- Little Grebe
- Milky Stork
- Painted Stork
- Asian Openbill
- Black-necked Stork
- Lesser Adjutant
- Greater Adjutant
- Black-headed Ibis
- Glossy Ibis
- Little Cormorant
- Indian Cormorant
- Great Cormorant
- Oriental Darter
- Yellow Bittern
- Cinnamon Bittern
- Black Bittern
- Black-crowned Night-heron
- Little Heron
- Chinese Pond-heron
- Javan Pond-heron
- Eastern Cattle Egret
- Grey Heron
- Purple Heron
- Great Egret
- Intermediate Egret
- Little Egret
- Spot-billed Pelican
- Peregrine Falcon
- Black-shouldered Kite
- Brahminy Kite
- White-throated Kingfisher
- Black-capped Kingfisher
- Common Kingfisher
- Pied Kingfisher
- Indian Roller
- Blue-tailed Bee-eater
- Rufous Woodpecker
- Black-naped Oriole
- Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker
- Baya Weaver
- Asian Golden Weaver
- Scaly-breasted Munia
- Eurasian Treesparrow
- Common Myna
- Black-collared Starling
- White-shouldered Starling
- Eastern Stonechat
- Taiga Flycatcher
- Asian Brown Flycatcher
- Oriental Magpie-robin
- Stripe-throated Bulbul
- Yellow-vented Bulbul
- Streak-eared Bulbul
- Common Sand-martin
- Barn Swallow
- Red-rumped Swallow
- Arctic Warbler
- Pale-legged Leaf-warbler
- Yellow-browed Warbler
- Dusky Warbler
- Pin-striped Tit-warbler
- Black-browed Reed-warbler
- Oriental Reed-warbler
- Rusty-rumped Warbler
- Striated Grassbird
- Lanceolated Warbler
- Zitting Cisticola
- Bright-headed Cisticola
- Dark-necked Tailorbird
- Common Tailorbird
- Yellow-bellied Prinia
- Plain Prinia
However, this is still only a small portion of birds that you can find at this reserve. They do have a full guide to all the birds that you can find here.
If you are planning on visiting the Prek Toal reserve, then you can always bring this checklist with you so that you can check which birds you see (check out our guide to more awesome bird sites) .
It will be a bonus if you can spy a rare or endangered bird.
But what is the itinerary for visiting this place?
Prek Toal Core Reserve Itinerary
Here is what you can expect to be doing if you book a tour of the Prek Toal reserve:
- 5.30am – A bird guide that will speak English will pick you up from the Mechrey pier to take you to the Prek Toal village via boat.
- 7:00am – breakfast will be served on the boat as you travel to the village. At this point, you will be roughly halfway across Tonle Sap Lake.
- 7:30am – You will arrive at the floating village of Prek Toal.
- 7:45am – You will move from the larger boat to smaller exploratory boats where you can explore the biosphere of the area.
- 8:00am – as you make your way to the center of the reserve, you will enjoy bird watching, with your guide pointing out various species.
- 9:00am – You will arrive at the main platform where you can observe the bird colonies in their various forms. Again, your guide will point you in the right direction.
- 10:00am – Lunch at the community restaurant at Prek Toal village.
- 1:00pm – Guests can visit the Water Hyacinth Handicraft Workshop, which is next to the restaurant.
- 1:30pm – Paddle boat tour to the crocodile farms, fish farms and floating gardens.
- 2:15pm – Return back to the city of Siem Reap.
- 4:00pm – Arrival back at Siem Reap.
As you can see, there is a whole day’s worth of activities to do at this location.
Make sure that you bring your camera so you can take plenty of pictures of the unique flora and fauna that you will find here.
When Is The Best Time To Go To Prek Toal?
We would recommend that you go to Prek Toal from around November, as this is when a lot of the birds start nesting.
During the summer the water levels are much lower, which will make it difficult to reach the premium spots for birding.
We hope that our guide to this amazing bird reserve has given you a taste for adventure.
There is so much to see and do here that you’ll want to make sure that you have your eyes open to take it all in.