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Location Cambodia, Kratie,Stung Treng
Central coordinates 105o 58.00' East  13o 17.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 83,501 ha
Altitude 21 - 189m
Year of IBA assessment 2003

BirdLife Indochina Programme (BirdLife Direct Action Programme)

Site description The IBA comprises the Mekong River and associated riverine vegetation, from Kratie town to the international border with Laos. Along this stretch, the Mekong River is very varied. Some sections form a single channel, up to 1.5 km wide, with a vast expanse of open water, while other sections are braided into a number of channels and islands. In sections of braided river, several types of river channel vegetation occur: small, periodically flooded, predominantly grass-covered islands; shrubs that become partly submerged for most of the wet season; and trees in open canopy aggregations, which become partly submerged for most of the wet season. Other key habitats include sandbars and rocks. Although much of the fringing riverine forest is degraded, some areas of good condition mixed deciduous/semi-evergreen forest remain around the Kratie-Stung Treng provincial border. Away from the river, this grades into open deciduous dipterocarp forest. Many human settlements, with associated shifting cultivation, are located along the river. The stretch of the Mekong River from a point 5 km north of Stung Treng town to the international border with Laos has been designated as a Ramsar site.The IBA supports a large proportion of the global population of Mekong Wagtail Motacilla samveasnae, a recently described species, which is thought to be endemic to the Mekong River and its major tributaries. In addition, the IBA supports significant populations of a suite of riverine species that have declined severely throughout mainland South-east Asia, including River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii, Great Thick Knee Esacus recurvirostris and River Tern Sterna aurantia. Furthermore, a number of globally threatened and near-threatened species have been recorded at the IBA in small numbers, including White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis, Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus and Darter Anhinga melanogaster. Small, but significant numbers of White-shouldered Ibis Pseudibis davisoni have been recorded along forested parts of the river. Finally, the IBA may be one of the last remaining sites in Indochina to support Black-bellied Tern Sterna acuticauda, although there have been few recent records and no recent confirmation of breeding. Historically the area supported a breeding population of Indian Skimmer Rhynchops albicollis, however, the last record on this stretch of the river was of "several pairs" in 1932, and the failure to find the species on recent surveys indicate that it is probably now extinct on the Mekong River.

Key Biodiversity Other regionally significant species present: Little Cormorant, Indian Cormorant, Grey Heron, Brahminy Kite, White bellied sea Eagle, River Lapwing, Small Pratincole, Great Thick Knee, River Tern, Green imperial Pigeon, Alexandrine Parakeet, Pied Kingfisher, Baya Weaver.

Non-bird biodiversity: rrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) (data deficient) has undergone severe decline estimated now 10-15 animals bewteen Stung Treng and Lao border (Baird and Bounhong 1994, Baird 1997). The following red listed fish species occur Probarbus jullieni, P. labeanmajor, Pangasianodon gigas, Pangasius saritwongsei. All have declined in recent years (Rainboth 1996, Roberts and Baird 1995). Davies (1994) records the botanical communities of the sandy island of the middle river as being unique and therefore of great value.Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis)Asian Giant Softshell (Pelochelys cantorii), [Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis)]

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
White-shouldered Ibis Pseudibis davisoni resident  1998  uncommon  A1  Critically Endangered 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  1998  unknown  A1, A3  Critically Endangered 
Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus non-breeding  1998  unknown  A3  Critically Endangered 
Little Pratincole Glareola lactea unknown  1998  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 
Mekong Wagtail Motacilla samveasnae resident  1998  common  A2  Near Threatened 

IBA Monitoring

2009 high very unfavourable low
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - unspecified species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution industrial & military effluents - seepage from mining happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Forest   0 0 poor (40-69%) poor (40-69%) very unfavourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  No management planning has taken place  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Middle Stretches of Mekong River North of Stoeng Treng Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 14,600 protected area contained by site 14,600  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Dry deciduous forest (tropical); Lowland evergreen rain forest (tropical); Semi-evergreen rain forest (tropical)  -
Wetlands (inland) Ephemeral wetlands; Riverine floodplains; Rivers and streams  -
Artificial - terrestrial Small settlements, rural gardens  -

Land use

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

Protection status IBA is contained by Mekong River Ramsar Site

Further web sources of information 

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

References Document nameDavidson, P., Poole, C.M. and J.W. Duckworth (2001) Mekong Wagtail (Motacilla samvaesnae): the great river's only known avian endemic. Bull. Oriental Bird Club 34: 56-59.Davies, J.D. (1994) Wetland surveys in Cambodia to identify sites of international importance. Asian Wetland Bureau, Kuala Lumpur.Duckworth, J.W., Alström, P., Davidson, P., Evans, T.D., Poole, C.P., Tan Setha and Timmins, R.J. 2001. A new species of wagtail from the lower Mekong basin. Bull. British Ornithologists' Club 121(3): 152-182.Mundkur, T., Carr, P., Sun Hean and Chhim Somean 1995. Surveys for large waterbirds in Cambodia. March - April 1994. Cambridge, UK: IUCN/SSC.Poole, C. M. Duckworth, J. W. and van Zalinge, N. J. (in prep.) Bird Observations from the Mekong and major tributaries in North-east Cambodia, 1998-2000.Tan Setha (2002) Mekong Wagtail: A species new to science discovered in northeast Cambodia. Cambodia Bird News: 9: 14-17.Thomas, W.W. 1964. A preliminary list of the birds of Cambodia. Unpubl.Timmins, R. J. and Men Soriyun 1998. A wildlife survey of the Tonle San and Tonle Srepok river basins in north-eastern Cambodia. Hanoi and Phnom Penh: Fauna & Flora International and Wildlife Protection Office.van Zalinge, N. J., Poole, C. M., Duckworth, J. W. and Goes, F., (2002). Water bird counts on the Mekong, Sekong, Sesan and Srepok Rivers. Cambodia Bird News 9: 18-29.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Mekong River from Kratie to Lao PDR. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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