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Location Cambodia, Battambang
Central coordinates 103o 39.00' East  13o 7.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 39,873 ha
Altitude 4 - 7m
Year of IBA assessment 2003

BirdLife Indochina Programme (BirdLife Direct Action Programme)

Site description Prek Toal is one of the most intact areas of freshwater swamp forest around Tonle Sap Lake. This unique ecosystem is adapted to withstand seasonal variation of water level of up to 10 m, and consists of short-tree shrublands and gallery forests of 7-15 m tall trees, dominated by Barringtonia acutangula and Diospyros cambodiana and a variety of woody lianas. In the dry season (January to May), these large trees support the largest remaining colonies of storks, pelicans and ibises in mainland South-east Asia. The IBA is centred on the Prek Toal Core Area of Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve and includes all areas the bird colonies and the areas of best swamp forest. It is also completely inside a fishing concession (Fishing Lot No. 2 of Battambang Province),and the area is commercially fished on an industrial scale between January and July, severely restricting access to people who are not employees of the concessionaire. The waterbird colonies of Prek Toal contain some of the world's largest numbers of Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis and Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius, and Prek Toal is perhaps the only site in world where Milky Stork Mycteria cinerea breeds in freshwater. In addition, the IBA supports significant wet season breeding populations of Darter Anhinga melanogaster and Grey-headed Fish Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus, and, Masked Finfoot Heliopais personata, young chicks of which have been recorded.

Key Biodiversity Other regionally significant birds (Probably all breeding). Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Comb Duck, Watercock and Baya Weaver.

Non-bird biodiversity: Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) occurs in the area (critical endangered). Also Long tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) near threatened. Extremely important for many fish species (Ramboth 1996). Important botanical community (McDonald et al. 1997). Turtle populations little known but said to be decreasing.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius resident  1998  rare  A1, A4i  Endangered 
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  1998  abundant  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Milky Stork Mycteria cinerea resident  1998  rare  A1, A4i  Endangered 
Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala resident  1998  abundant  A4i  Near Threatened 
Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans resident  1998  abundant  A4i  Least Concern 
Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus resident  1998  abundant  A4i  Near Threatened 
Great White Egret Ardea alba resident  1998  abundant  A4i  Least Concern 
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis resident  1998  abundant  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
Little Cormorant Microcarbo niger resident  1998  abundant  A4i  Least Concern 
Indian Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscicollis resident  1998  abundant  A4i  Least Concern 
Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster resident  1998  abundant  A4i  Near Threatened 
Masked Finfoot Heliopais personatus breeding  1998  rare  A1  Endangered 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  1998  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2008 medium near favourable medium
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Shrubland   0 0 moderate (70-90%) good (> 90%) near favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Prek Toal Multiple Use Management Area - Core Area 21,342 protected area contained by site 21,342  
Tonle Sap UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 1,481,257 protected area overlaps with site 21,342  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Secondary scrub  -
Wetlands (inland) Ephemeral wetlands; Freshwater lakes and pools; Permanent swamps; Rivers and streams  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
other -
Notes: small settlements

Further web sources of information 

Site account from Directory of Important Bird Areas in Cambodia: key sites for conservation (Seng Kim Hout 2003)

References Silvered Langur (Semnopithecus cristatus), Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis), Slow Loris (Nycticebus coucang) (Long Kheng, Ministry of Environment, pers. comm.).Asiatic Softshell Turtle (Amyda cartilaginea), Malayan Box Turtle (Cuora ambionensis), Malayan Snail-eating Turtle (Malayemys subtrijuga), Yellow-headed Temple Turtle (Hieremys annandalii), Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) (Long Kheng, Ministry of Environment, pers. comm.).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Prek Toal. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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