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Huai Kha Khaeng
Thailand, Tak,Uthai Thani
99o 10.00' East 15o 25.00' North
250 - 1,687m
Year of IBA assessment
Bird Conservation Society of Thailand
Site description The IBA comprises Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, which, together with the adjacent Thung Yai-Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary (IBA TH025), forms the core of the Western Forest Complex, the largest contiguous block of natural forest in Thailand. In addition to Thung Yai-Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary (IBA TH025), Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary is contiguous with Mae Wong (IBA TH023) and Sri Nakarind (IBA TH028) National Parks. The topography of the site comprises mountains and rolling hills, punctuated by narrow floodplains along the main watercourses traversing the site. The vegetation at the site is dominated by a mosaic of deciduous dipterocarp forest (c.32,000 ha) and mixed deciduous forest (c.120,000 ha) in the lowland areas, with semi-evergreen forest on hill slopes, and hill evergreen forest covering the main peaks above 1,000 m asl. Along the Huai Kha Khaeng river, there are significant stretches of little-disturbed riverine forest and natural clearings. In 1991, Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, together with the adjacent Thung Yai-Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary (IBA TH025), was designated as a World Heritage Site.
Key Biodiversity Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary is a key site for several globally threatened species. Notably, it is the only site in Thailand with a recent record of the globally threatened White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis, a species that was formerly resident throughout the country but is now on the verge of national extinction. Lowland areas in the vicinity of Huai Kha Khaeng river support Thailand's largest known population of Green Peafowl Pavo muticus, while evergreen forest areas support Plain-pouched Hornbill Aceros subruficollis and Thailand's largest known population of Rufous-necked Hornbill A. nipalensis. White-fronted Scops Owl Otus sagittatus, a Sundaic species, reaches the northern limit of its range at the site. Other globally threatened species recorded at the site include Masked Finfoot Heliopais personata, Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Rhinomyias brunneata and Silver Oriole Oriolus mellianus, although none have been confirmed to regularly occur in significant numbers. Furthermore, the site supports significant populations of four globally near-threatened species: Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis, Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus tickelli, White-rumped Falcon Polihierax insignis and Malaysian Honeyguide Indicator archipelagicus. A fifth near-threatened species, Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster, occurs irregularly in small numbers. There are also historical records of the globally endangered Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius, the globally vulnerable Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis and the globally near-threatened Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus from the site.
In addition to its importance for globally threatened and near-threatened species, Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary also supports several montane species characteristic of the Sino-Himalayan avifauna that reach the southern limit of their ranges at the site, including Green Cochoa Cochoa viridis, Rusty-naped Pitta Pitta oatesi, White-necked Laughingthrush Garrulax strepitans, Rufous-throated Partridge Arborophila rufogularis and Lesser Shortwing Brachypteryx leucophrys.
The site qualifies under criterion A3 because it supports 37 species restricted to the Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forests (Biome 08), 16 species restricted to the Indochinese Tropical Moist Forest s(Biome 09) and 16 species restricted to the Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone (Biome 11).
References Bird Conservation Society of Thailand Bulletin 15 (9) (September 1998).
BirdLife International (1998) Proceedings of the Thailand IBA workshop, Bangkok, November 1998. Unpublished report.
BirdLife International (2001) Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. Cambridge, U.K.: BirdLife International.
Chantraratien, R. et al. (2001) The Western Forest Complex: the largest forest in Thailand. Bangkok: Seub Nakhasathien Foundation.
Nakhasathien, S. P. (1987) Forestry ecology and wildlife in Thung Yai-Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary. Bangkok: Duan Tula Printing.
Naksatit, N. (1986) History of Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary and Khao Nang Rum Wildlife Research Station. Bangkok: Academic Section, Division of Wildlife Conservation, Forestry Department.
Phumipakpan, N. K. (1985) Wildlife in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary. Bangkok: Biological Foresty Department, Forestry Faculty, Kasetsart University.
Prayoonsitri, T. (1987) Ecology of Banteng in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary. Masters thesis submitted to Kasetsart University.
Round, P. D. (1988) Resident forest birds in Thailand: their status and conservation. Cambridge, UK: International Council for Bird Preservation.
Stewart-Cox, B. (1993) Wild Thailand. Bangkok: Asia Books.
Sukmasoung, R. (1993) Ecology of Asian wild elephant in Huai Kha Khaeng wildlife sanctuary, Uthaithani and Tak provinces. Masters thesis submitted to Kasetsart University.
UNEP/World Conservation Monitoring Center website http//:www.wcmc.org.uk/protected_areas
Wildlife Conservation Division (2000) Basic data for wildlife sanctuaries in Thailand. Bangkok: Office of Natural Resources Conservation, Forestry Department.
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BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Huai Kha Khaeng. Downloaded from
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