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Location Philippines, Region III
Central coordinates 120o 53.00' East  15o 5.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 32,000 ha
Altitude 11 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Haribon Foundation



Site description Candaba Swamp is near the towns of Candaba, San Miguel and San Ildefonso, c.50 km north-north-west of Metro Manila, in Pampanga and Bulacan Provinces, central Luzon. It is a complex of freshwater ponds, swamps and marshes with surrounding areas of seasonally flooded grassland, arable land and palm savanna on a vast alluvial flood plain. The entire area is usually flooded in the wet season, but most of it dries out during the dry season (late November to April) and is converted into rice fields and plantations of watermelons. The main area for waterfowl is an impoundment of about 300 ha, with a mixture of open shallow water, small islands, and rafts of floating vegetation, adjacent to the Pampanga River about nine kilometers north of Baliuag. However, this area is now drained earlier in the year than in the past, and it no longer attracts many waterfowl. The isolated Mt Arayat, which rises to 1,023 m and has disturbed lowland forest on its slopes, is adjacent to Candaba Marsh but is not included in the IBA. Most of the flood plain has been converted to privately owned agricultural and residential land except for the core area of approximately 500 ha. The impoundment is used as a fishpond during the rainy season, and then drained in January or February to be used for agriculture. Candaba Swamp acts as a natural flood retention basin holding wet season overflow from the Maasim, San Miguel, Garlang, Bulu and Penaranda Rivers, and draining into the Pampanga River. The swamp was a traditional waterfowl hunting area in the past, and some hunting of ducks and rails, although now illegal, still occurs. It is also a favourite spot for local and visiting bird watchers and naturalists, and possibly has some potential for nature oriented outdoor recreation and conservation education as there are few other places so close to the metropolitan area of Manila that support as much wildlife.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Northern Pintail Anas acuta winter  2001  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Philippine Duck Anas luzonica resident  2001  present  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Garganey Spatula querquedula winter  2001  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba unknown  2001  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis non-breeding  2001  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Streaked Reed-warbler Acrocephalus sorghophilus winter  2001  present  A1  Endangered 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2001  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   major
Artificial - terrestrial   major

Other biodiversity There has been no mammal survey in Candaba swamp and on Mt Arayat.

Protection status This is a potential Ramsar site but not a protected area.

References References: Alonzo-Pasicolan (1990); Custodio (1996); Davies et al. (1990); Lambert (1993); Scott (1989).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Candaba swamp. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/08/2014

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