Sesan River This is an IBA in danger! 

Country/territory: Cambodia

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

Area: 20,504 ha

NatureLife Cambodia
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2016 very high not assessed negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The IBA comprises the entire Cambodian stretch of the Sesan River and associated riverine vegetation, from its confluence with the Sekong River to the international border with Vietnam. The Sesan River is relatively wide, averaging c.150 m wide in the upper reaches and c. 300 m wide lower down. Most sections of the river are dominated by sand and gravel bars, apart from the lowest section, below Phum Khsach Thmei, which is much more rocky. In the upper reaches of the river, bars comprise mostly gravel, often with low shrub growth, while those in the lower reaches are almost entirely sand, with little or no shrub growth. The riverine vegetation is dominated by semi-evergreen and mixed deciduous forest, which grades into deciduous dipterocarp forest away from the river. The riverine vegetation is generally degraded throughout, mainly as a result of shifting cultivation.The IBA supports one of the best remaining examples of the riverine bird community that was once widespread along wide, lowland rivers in Indochina. This community includes River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii, Small Pratincole Glareola lactea, Great Thick-knee Esacus recurvirostris and River Tern Sterna aurantia, of which the IBA supports over 1% of the Asian biogeographic population of the former two. In addition, the IBA supports Mekong Wagtail Motacilla samveasnae, a recently described species, which is thought to be endemic to the Mekong River and its major tributaries. Furthermore, the IBA may be one of the last remaining sites in Indochina to support a breeding population of Black-bellied Tern Sterna acuticauda, although this is probably now limited to one or two pairs, and with changes in flow regime following the development of hydropower schemes upstream, on the verge of extinction.

Key biodiversity
Other regionally significant birds recorded: Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Woolly-necked Stork, Cotton Pygmy-goose, Brahminy Kite, Great Thick-knee (13 recorded in May-June 1998 by Timmins and Men Soriyun in prep.), River Tern (47 recorded by Timmins and Men Soriyun in prep. In May-June 1998), Green Imperial Pigeon, Alexandrine Parakeet, Pied Kingfisher (36 recorded by Timmins and Men Soriyun in prep. May-June 1998), Golden crested Myna, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Black Eagle.

Non-bird biodiversity: Timmins and Men Soriyun (in prep.) recorded Long tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) Near- threatened, and Otter sp. Possible Smooth-Coated (Lutra perspicillata) Vulnerable. Baird (1997) reported Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) (data deficient) to have much declined, documenting only a population of 2-5 animals near the confluence with the Sre Pok River. The following red listed fish species presumably occur: Probarbus jullieni, P. labeamajor, Pangasius sanitwongsei, and possibly Pangasianodon gigas. (Rainboth 1996).Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis), ang Silvered Langur (Semnopithecus cristatus).Giant Asian Pond Turtle (Heosemys grandis), Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sesan River. Downloaded from on 25/09/2022.