Mekong River from Kratie to Lao PDR

Country/territory: Cambodia

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2, A4i (2003)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 83,501 ha

Protection status:

NatureLife Cambodia
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2009 high very unfavourable low
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

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)]

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mekong River from Kratie to Lao PDR. Downloaded from on 05/03/2021.