Spot-billed Pelicans in Cambodia

Cambodia is home to 30% of the world's spot-billed pelicans. Cambodia has around 3,000 spot-billed pelicans, which account for roughly 30% of the world population.
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According to Ministry of Environment spokeswoman Neth Pheaktra on October 29, Cambodia has around 3,000 spot-billed pelicans, which account for roughly 30% of the world population.

The species, scientifically known as Pelecanus philippensis, is listed as “Near Threatened” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.

While the spot-billed pelican may still be spotted in Nepal, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos, it only breeds in India, Sri Lanka, and the Prek Toal region of northeastern Cambodia, making it the only such place in Southeast Asia, according to Pheaktra.

spot-billed pelicans

Prek Toal bird sanctuary

Prek Toal is Cambodia’s largest bird sanctuary, situated within the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve near the northwest corner of Tonle Sap Lake, Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake.

According to the spokesperson, key threats to the species include habitat degradation, wildlife trade, overhunting, egg collecting from nesting colonies, and other types of human interference.

"Spot-billed pelicans are strictly safeguarded in natural protected areas by environment officials and the Wildlife Conservation Society [WCS], particularly in their breeding sites in the Prek Toal Ramsar Site."

The birds are being attentively examined and their numbers are being counted, he added, adding that the worldwide population is expected to be between 8,700 and 12,000 individuals.

Pelicans environments

Pelicans environments

Pelicans enjoy environments such as:

  • Ponds
  • Swamps
  • Lakes
  • Lagoons
  • River and sea banks,
  • They are found mostly in lowland regions near water bodies.


He claims that when fully grown, grey-colored pelicans are 127-140cm in length and have huge long beaks with pouches that develop their characteristic black spots as they mature, which are substantially more evident during the mating season, which lasts from November to May.

Females normally lay three or four eggs per clutch, he said, adding that parents fly their chicks to other wetlands in Cambodia and neighboring countries before returning to the Tonle Sap Lake area during the breeding season.

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