Bird’s Nest Soup

Cambodia is home to a bird called the white-nest swiftlet, a type of swallow. They are not remarkable in themselves but they make a nest with their dried saliva and these nests are collected, double-boiled with rock sugar, and made into bird’s nest soup which is quite in demand, especially in China. Two pounds of cleaned bird nests can sell for $1,500 to $3,000.

Given that market, it is not surprising that Cambodia is home to more than 3,000 buildings designed solely for swiftlet homes, places where they are encouraged to build their nests. The buildings are notable because they are often in rural areas where they are the only multistory buildings on the horizon and they also have no windows, just vents and a one-window-sized opening through which the birds enter and leave.

The swiftlet homes below are all in Koh Kong Province in southern Cambodia.