Last month Cambodia Bird Guide Association (CBGA) conducted a recce trip to Kirirom in search of Austen’s Brown Hornbill (Anorrhinus austeni) and Sultan Tit ((Melanochlora sultanea). We began our from Siem Reap; Kandal; Phnom Penh and Kirirom on the next morning. We saw Cambodian Tailorbirds and many other species nearby Phnom Penh and Kandal.
We had a ranger up in Kirirom to guide us to the highest spot and also the cliff sharing the border of Koh Kong and Kampong Spue province. It was a great sunny and cool day up there where Wreathed and Great Hornbills were flying down along the cliff but on top of the forest to feed on fruits. We enjoyed the whole day looking at those Hornbills and raptors flying around till dark and we camped next to the cliff.
The next day after breakfast we split our team into 2 and wandering at different locations for Austen’s Brown Hornbill and Sultan Tit. There were so many Great Hornbills in that morning and a few Wreathed flying from trees to trees. Blue bearded Bee-eater; Yellow-browed Warblers; Asian Brown Flycatchers; Velvet Fronted Nuthatch; Sooty Drongos; Bulbuls were singing and hopping around us.
Amongst those birds, there were 2 Hornbills flying from the east of the cliff to the Bayan fruit tree next to tall bamboo bushes. The wing flap and size are similar to Oriental Pied Hornbill but the white trailing edge is not white. I pulled my binoculars and look… Boy! That’s what I was looking for! Austen’s Brown Hornbills! I was trying to call my team members to come but the connection was so poor and some of them didn’t even answer my call. I decided to leave my voice message on Telegram and one of them read the message. They came to me 20 minutes later and I told them where I saw the birds flew in. We spent our afternoon looking for these two birds but we didn’t have the second chance. They might be flying off sometime when I was trying to call my team.
We left the first camp to the second one at the border of Kampong Som province where it’s called Ou Bak Roteh. We had no chance to bird here because of the rain. We spent a couple hours to bird the next day and it was really productive! We filled our list with Thick-billed Green-Pigeon; Gray-headed Pygmy-Woodpeckers; Little Green Bee-Eaters; Asian Fairy Bluebirds; Yellow-browed Leaf-warblers; Asian Brown Flycatchers; Sooty Drongos; Mountain Imperial Pigeon; Large Billed Crows; Bulbuls, etc. and the most interesting one is White’s Thrush.
As we have to travel further to Bokor for partridge research we didn’t spend more time for this campsite
My suggestion is to stay longer at the second campsite and continue to explore further for Tits as the habitats are good for them. Click here for some images
By Johnny ORN