Huai Kha Khaeng

Country/territory: Thailand

IBA criteria met: A1, A3 (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 277,694 ha

Bird Conservation Society of Thailand
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2008 near favourable low high
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2004 baseline)
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).

Non-bird biodiversity: Banteng Bos javanicus (EN) Wild Water Buffalo Bubalus bubalis (EN) Asian Elephant Elephas maximus (EN) Tiger Panthera tigris (EN) Asian Tapir Tapirus indicus (EN) Gaur Bos frontalis (VU) Southern Serow Capricornis sumatraensis (VU) Asian Golden Cat Catopuma temminckii (VU) Dhole Cuon alpinus (VU) East Asian Porcupine Hystrix brachyura (VU) Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra (VU) Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata (VU) Bear Macaque Macaca arctoides (VU) Northern Pig-tailed Macaque Macaca leonina (VU) Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa (VU) Marbled Cat Pardofelis marmorata (VU) Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus (VU) Asian Black Bear Ursus thibetanus (VU) Reptiles Elongated Tortoise Indotestudo elongata (EN) Asian Giant Tortoise Manouria emys (EN) Asiatic Softshell Turtle Amyda cartilaginea (VU) Giant Asian Pond Turtle Heosemys grandis (VU) Impressed Tortoise Manouria impressa (VU) Plants Dipterocarpus turbinatus (CR) Shorea thorelii (CR) Afzelia xylocarpa (EN) Anisoptera costata (EN) Dipterocarpus alatus (EN) Shorea roxburghii (EN) Vatica cinerea (EN) Dalbergia cochinchinensis (VU) Endocomia canarioides (VU) Hopea odorata (VU) Knema austrosiamensis ((VU))

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Huai Kha Khaeng. Downloaded from on 23/02/2024.