Candaba Swamp

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       The Candaba Swamp in Central Luzon is a vast complex of freshwater ponds, swamps and marshes with surrounding areas of seasonally flooded grassland, arable land and palm savanna on a vast alluvial flood plain. The entire area is usually flooded in the wet season, but most of it dries out during the dry season (late November to April) and is converted into rice fields and plantations of water melons. It is an important area for agricultural and fisheries production, water for irrigation, and natural flood retention. 

        This marshland is an extremely important staging and wintering area for ducks, especially in October and November when the swamp regularly supports thousands of birds.  The two most abundant migratory species in the area are Anas luzonica and A. querquedula. A. acuta is common, and Dendrocygna arcuataAnas _orphyriA. clypeata, Aythya ferina and A. fuligula occur in significant numbers. The reed-beds at Candaba and in the surrounding areas are one of the few known wintering areas of the Speckled Reed Warbler Acrocephalus sorghophilus, a very local species which breeds in northeastern China. The marshes support breeding populations of several Rallidae, notably Rallus zorquatus and Porphyrio_orphyria, and some ducks may breed. In all, about 60 species of birds use the marsh for feeding and roosting.

        The main area for waterfowl is an impoundment of about 300 ha, with a mixture of open shallow water, small islands, and rafts of floating vegetation, adjacent to the Pampanga River about 9 km north of Baliuag. The impoundment is used as a fish pond during the rainy season, and then drained in January or February to be used for agriculture. Candaba Swamp acts as a natural flood retention basin holding wet season overflow from the Maasim, San Miguel, Garlang, Bulu and Penaranda Rivers, and draining into the Pampanga River. The natural retention capacity is estimated at approximately 1.5 billion cubic metres.

        Candaba Swamp continues to be drained or converted to wet agriculture severely limiting habitat for waterfowls.  Others have been converted into fishponds causing the vegetation cover to be patchy.  Siltation is apparent but can be controlled by ensuring that the upland vegetation cover is adequate especially in the Sierra Madre Range.  Although a small portion of the swamp had been declared as a Bird Sanctuary and has become a popular site for bird watching, there is a need to establish some overall protection (strategies) and to manage water levels in order to maintain the services derived from this wetland.

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Source: The National Wetlands Action Plan
     for the Philippines
Published by: Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau
Department of Environment and Natural Resources