Welcome to Vietnam Bird News

Bird news from Vietnam, from Vietnam's resident and visiting birders.

15 September 2016

Hanoi - migration in full swing


Hi all,

The autumn migration season here in Hanoi has kicked off in style. Leading the parade of migrants was Fairy Pitta, found at "Vuon nhan Vinh Thuy" on 5 Sept. 2016 and still there on 12. Another notable sightings include up to 4 Brown-chested Jungle Flycatchers, Hainan Blue, Brown-breasted Flycatchers, 1 fem and 1 male juv. Siberian Blue Robins, Hill/Chinese Blue Flycatchers (1 male and lots of females lol), 5-10 Amur Paradise Flycatchers with among them 1 white-morph, 1 Malayan Night Heron...

Concerning Fairy Pitta, this is the second record of this endangered species in Hanoi, the first time last year during spring passage. They stayed there for a week (from September 05 to 12). I checked the site yesterday but didn't find them anymore. I loooove Pittas, so till the day I found them in Hanoi, I came everyday and had excellent photo opportunities. Many birders came to see it and no one came back empty-handed!

I already photographed 4 Pitta species (Blue-rumped, Blue, Bar-bellied and Fairy). I intend to photograph all Pitta species in Vietnam, a good challenge :)

About the Malayan Night Heron: this is not the first record in Hanoi. My friend PHAM HONG PHUONG photograph an individual on April 15, 2016 (Pls check the shot below)

Happy birding!

Hoang Le

PS: Sorry for poor image quality, I didn't have enough time for post-processing... Have to head to Tam Dao now... Birds awaiting me lol.

* Some notes concerning the habitat: the patch is a 3ha lychee orchard (old trees). Most of the birds, notably Fairy Pittas and Brown-chested Jungle Flycatchers, were found in the dense, unmanaged scrubby edges (an area of ca 50m x 20m) composed by the pioneer species Broussonetia papyrifera and Ficus sp. (trees), Flueggea virosa (shrubs) and ferns (understorey). The Pittas were mostly seen foraging on the ground, but sometimes perched on branches just before to come at the photography set.

Hainan Blue Flycatcher


Brown-Breasted Flycatcher

Fairy Pitta



Malayan Night Heron - a great bird for the city!

Amur Paradise Flycatcher

Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher

male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher

female Cyornis sp.

1cy male Siberian Blue Robin


Malayan Night Heron, by Pham Hong Phuong, 15th April 2016 (1st record for the city?)

9 September 2016

Hanoi: Fairy Pittas still there


Five days after being found, the 2 Fairy Pittas are still hanging around. Today I installed my hide few hours near the hides of Hoang and fellow photographers - many thanks to you! Had fantastic views at close range. Hey guys, everyone spotted them, everyone got sharp shots from every angles, maybe it's time now to stop feeding them and let them go. They have still a long way to go and the area is not really safe - poachers roamed around.

Some other migrants seen around: Hainan, Mugimaki, Hill/Chinese Blue, Brown-breasted, Yellow-rumped Flycatchers, 2-3 Black-naped Monarchs, 1 female and 1juv. male Siberian Blue Robin, 1 Spangled Drongo (singing), 2 Brown-chested Jungle Flycatchers, 1 Little Cuckoo-Dove (seen and photographed by Tuan Tran) and 1 Malayan Night Heron - the two latter in all likelihood are first records for the city.







juv. (bill flesh-based) Amur Paradise Flycatcher

6 September 2016

Two Fairies in the city!


Yesterday, Hoang informed me he had discovered a Fairy Pitta at Vuon Nhan Vinh Thuy, a scrubby lytchee orchard close to the Red River (and only few kilometers from Hanoi city center)... where 4 Brown-chested Jungle-Flycatchers had been recorded one day before!

Today, I tried my luck at noon. I met there almost all the local bird photographers: Bac, Quyet, Hao, Long, Tien, Hoang and Thanh, all equipped with monster lens... and all very happy with their double megatick (pitta + Jungle-Fly). Never spotted so many Vietnamese birdwatchers together! They informed me that 2 - and not only one - Fairy Pittas were hanging around!

Despite the lack of time (one hour) and the poor weather, I managed to grab a few acceptable 'atmospheric' shots of one of the pittas before it disappeared in the scrub. Hoang and some other fellow birders used a hide + mealworms, so they certainly got clean close-ups - hope they can share here some pics.

The previous - and probably first - record of Fairy Pitta in the city was in April 29, 2015.

Other noteworthy species seen in this area include Hainan, Mugimaki, Dark-sided, Yellow-rumped, Asian Brown Flycatchers, Brown-chested Jungle-Flycatchers (at least 2 ind.), 1 female Siberian Blue Robin, 1 Forest Wagtail, 1 juv. Tiger Shrike, the white morph "Asian Paradise Flycatcher" seen last Sunday.

Sébastien

Fairy Pitta, Hanoi/6th Sept. 2016 (ISO 4000, 1\100sec handheld shot)
May have come from Taiwan, China, or from Japan, who knows the story it could tell. If all goes well, in the coming weeks it will arrive in Borneo to spend the winter.

A monster patch bird !!!


4 September 2016

Hanoi city: four BC Jungle-Flycatchers... in one patch!


Hello all fellow birders visiting or living in Hanoi ! Autumn migration of passerine birds is well underway, so dust off your binoculars and check out our scrubby/woody patches - yes, I know, almost all have been destroyed... And post here your sightings!

I (Sebastien) observed some passerine movements from the beginning of August with 1 Forest Wagtail on 5th, 2 Yellow-rumped Flycatchers on 11th, 1 Tiger Shrike and 2 Amur-Paradise Flycatchers on 17th, some Phylloscs - Eastern Crowned, Arctic, Claudia's-, 2 Asian Koel on 25th, 1 Hodgson Hawk Cuckoo on 27th etc...

A late morning visit today (4rd September) produced some excellent birds around Vinh Thuy Bridge, in the area called Vườn nhãn Vĩnh Tuy (Lytchee orchard of Vinh Thuy bridge), the more notable species were 4 (!) Brown-chested Jungle Flycatchers (2 adults, 2 juv.) and 1 Brown-breasted Flycatcher. Also 10+ Amur-Paradise Flycatchers (with among them a nice white morph male), 1 Crested Goshawk, 1 Chinese Blue Flycatcher, 2 Hainan Blue Flychachers, 2 Forest Wagtails, Tiger and Brown Shrikes (one each), 1 Hair-crested Drongo, 4 species of Phylloscs - Claudia's, Eastern-crowned, Pale-legged, Arctic...,

When I started working the patch, I encountered quickly my first Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, a juvenile, and 10 minutes later an adult. Wow.. 2 BCJF, I was very happy! Later, I bumped into 2 juv. almost side-by-side, so 3 BCJF, wow..wow... And finally, 2 adults were spotted in the same area, bringing the total number to 4 - the same day and in a small patch of scrub, amazing !!!

1cy (lower mandible partly black, tertials buff tipped) Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher
 Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher is a Hanoi specialty- never been recorded elsewhere in the country! Cross Vietnam unnoticed, except by ardent Hanoi's patch workers! 

Adult (lower mandible entirely yellow) Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher



Adult female Amur Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone incei)

Amur Paradise-Flycatcher (same individual as above)

Brown-breasted Flycatcher

Male "Asian Paradise-Flycatcher" white morph (T. incei?) without the spectacular long central feathers.

27 June 2016

Breeding colony of Oriental Pratincoles near Hanoi



Oriental Pratincole (Vinh Phuc, June 26, 2016). 

In the Hanoi area, the Oriental Pratincole is a regular migrant on the spring and autumn passages, in small numbers. April is when most of the spring records occurred. 

At the beginning of June 2016, I observed an Oriental Pratincole flying over rice fields in Vinh Phuc Province, 30 km from Hanoi. Being doubtful it was a late migrant bird, I followed it and finally found a small colony. Subsequent visits confirmed presence of ca 30 pairs. The birds were very sensitive to my presence as they were in breeding mode.

This is apparently the first confirmed breeding record of Oriental Pratincole in Tonkin (i.e. northern Vietnam).

Sébastien Delonglée

PS: I didn’t see any poachers in action - I think that is worthy of note...But disturbance is a big problem in the late afternoon when kids frequent the area to play football or fly kites.

This bird is performing a distraction display (feigning injury) to attract the photographer’s attention away from the nest or chicks (Vinh Phuc, June 26, 2016).

The site is a large piece of arid land (about 1.5 by 1 km) planned for industrial use. It looks like a shortgrass “steppe” with about 30 percent of the surface covered with stones. Nearby is a small river and there are some pools around. Cattle graze the area but they seems to avoid the stony places with very little grass cover (in the foreground) – which have been chosen by the Pratincoles for nesting sites. The other birds worthy of note were Savanna Nighjar and White Wagtail (2 + 1 individuals at pools on 26th June) - the latter common winter visitor/passage migrant but also listed as breeding resident in W. & E. Tonkin (Robson, 2009), something I was not aware of. 
Note: the mountain on the horizon is Tam Dao.

Oriental Pratincole (Vinh Phuc, June 26, 2016). 

22 May 2016

Summary of Records from Red River Island, March 5th to May 16th 2016 (by Dominic Le Croissette)


A rare clear day in Hanoi, looking north from the edge of the North Wood towards the Red River and airport bridge (photo taken on May 16th).

Site: Red River Island, Hanoi, Vietnam (Google Maps Location)
Visits/days: 43 visits covering 42 days, between March 5th and May 16th
Months (days) visited: March (15), April (18), May (10).
Species recorded: 176

General notes: At least 90% of my time was spent in the North Wood and surrounding farmland/grassland at the northern tip of the island, with infrequent visits to other areas. Almost all of my visits were between the hours of 7.00am and 12.00pm, with a typical duration of between 2 and 3 hours. I was usually alone, but sometimes joined by other birders – most often Hung Le and Joy Ghosh.

In the table below, the second column indicates the number of visits on which the bird was recorded (out of 43). The third column is the high count for that species. The fourth column contains notes about a species’ status in the area, or other general comments. Thanks to Dave Sargeant (North ThailandBirding) for inspiration about how to present this information!

Common Name
Number of Visits
High Count
Notes
Japanese Quail
3
1
Presumably a regular migrant
Little Grebe
3
3
Single group on pond along western edge
Asian Openbill
3
42
Occasional flocks soaring high to the east
Yellow Bittern
1
1

Cinnamon Bittern
2
1

Grey Heron
4
9

Purple Heron
2
1

Cattle Egret
3
2

Chinese Pond Heron
21
10

Striated Heron
2
1

Black-crowned Night Heron
1
11
Single flock
Black-shouldered Kite
26
2
Resident pair
Oriental Honey Buzzard
3
1

Jerdon’s Baza
2
3
Seen twice in April, coinciding with heavy passage at Tam Dao
Black Baza
1
7
Single flock
Grey-faced Buzzard
8
4

Pied Harrier
1
1
Male
Crested Goshawk
1
1

Chinese Sparrowhawk
1
1
Male
Japanese Sparrowhawk
4
1

Black Kite
1
1

White-breasted Waterhen
7
3

Ruddy-breasted Crake
3
2
One seen, the others heard only
Common Moorhen
3
2

Grey-headed Lapwing
1
1

Red-wattled Lapwing
1
1

Kentish Plover
1
1

Little Ringed Plover
21
4
Presumably attempts to breed in the area
Common Sandpiper
10
2

Green Sandpiper
7
2
Perhaps overwinters
Common Greenshank
3
11

Barred Buttonquail
8
2
Scarce resident
Oriental Pratincole
1
1

Rock Dove (feral)
12
5

Oriental Turtle Dove
14
4
Regular migrant
Red Collared Dove
16
10

Spotted Dove
14
8

Wedge-tailed Pigeon
4
2
Photos show that these birds are all Wedge-tailed and not the perhaps more expected White-bellied
Chestnut-winged Cuckoo
3
1

Large Hawk Cuckoo
3
1

Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo
2
1

Indian Cuckoo
2
1
Heard only
Common Cuckoo
4
2
Other “cuculus sp.” unidentified
Oriental Cuckoo
4
1
Other “cuculus sp.” unidentified
Plaintive Cuckoo
40
6
Common and vocal resident
Asian Koel
2
1

Greater Coucal
38
3
Common resident
Lesser Coucal
9
2
Unclear whether resident or migrant
Northern Boobook
1
1

Grey Nightjar
3
1
Three singles in North Wood
Large-tailed Nightjar
1
1

Germain’s Swiftlet
4
5

Asian Palm Swift
3
2

Common Kingfisher
7
2

White-throated Kingfisher
1
1

Black-capped Kingfisher
6
2

Pied Kingfisher
21
5
Presumably resident
Dollarbird
2
1

Eurasian Wryneck
2
1

Eurasian Kestrel
3
2

Eurasian Hobby
1
1

Peregrine
1
1

Red-breasted Parakeet
3
1
Presumably escapee(s)
Ashy Woodswallow
1
2

Ashy Minivet
3
2

Rosy Minivet
2
4
Only in March
Black-winged Cuckooshrike
6
2

Tiger Shrike
4
1
Only in May
Brown Shrike
18
10
Most numerous in May
Burmese Shrike
21
10
Recorded throughout the period
Long-tailed Shrike
1
1

Black-naped Oriole
14
10
Fairly common migrant, often with drongos
Black Drongo
8
12
Many drongos in banana plantations not specifically identified
Ashy Drongo
24
15
Common migrant, some individuals of leucogenisand salangensis races
Crow-billed Drongo
7
5
Late April onwards. Presumably a regular late season migrant but difficult to tell from other drongos at a distance
Hair-crested Drongo
19
65
Common migrant
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
1
1
Recorded in March, well before the start of other drongo passage
White-throated Fantail
19
3
Resident in the Hanoi area
Black-naped Monarch
26
5

Amur Paradise-Flycatcher
3
2
Scarce migrant in late April/early May
Blyth’s Paradise-Flycatcher
4
1
Passage at same time as Amur
Red-billed Blue Magpie
20
5
Resident in the area, numbers apparently decreased from 5 to about 2 during the period
Racket-tailed Treepie
1
1

Grey-throated Martin
22
60
Fairly common resident
Barn Swallow
30
12
Common migrant
Red-rumped Swallow
13
15
Regular migrant
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher
10
5
Late March/early April
Japanese Tit
15
2
Resident
Chinese Penduline Tit
1
2
Regularly winters in area but hard to locate
Red-whiskered Bulbul
18
12

Light-vented Bulbul
21
15

Sooty-headed Bulbul
27
10

Black Bulbul
1
1
White-headed race, in early March
Pale-footed Bush Warbler
4
3
Only located when singing, so others perhaps overlooked
Asian Stubtail
12
3
Regular early season migrant
Manchurian Bush Warbler
4
1
Presumably regular migrant
Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler
1
1
Probably overlooked due to very skulking habits
Dusky Warbler
38
15
Common migrant
Radde’s Warbler
17
3
Regularly seen, especially late in the season
Pallas’s Leaf Warbler
1
1

Yellow-browed Warbler
34
10
Commonly seen until late April
Arctic Warbler
10
8
Not seen before end of April
Pale-legged Leaf Warbler
7
1

Eastern Crowned Warbler
8
3

Claudia’s Leaf Warbler
17
2
Common migrant in small numbers in March and April
Sulphur-breasted Warbler
4
1
Mainly in March
Grey-crowned Warbler
2
2
Many seicercus warblers didn’t call and therefore remained unidentified
Bianchi’s Warbler
2
1
Many seicercus warblers didn’t call and therefore remained unidentified
Thick-billed Warbler
18
12
Infrequently seen until early May when it became very common
Oriental Reed Warbler
5
1

Black-browed Reed Warbler
25
12
Common migrant
Lanceolated Warbler
2
1
Probably overlooked due to very skulking habits
Baikal Bush Warbler
1
1

Zitting Cisticola
40
7
Very common resident
Common Tailorbird
40
5
Very common resident
Yellow-bellied Prinia
43
20
Abundant resident
Plain Prinia
43
20
Abundant resident
Chestnut-flanked White-eye
2
2
Only in March
Japanese White-eye
38
40
Migrant/resident status unclear
Masked Laughingthrush
19
4
Resident in the area
White-crested Laughingthrush
4
2
Presumably escapees
Black-throated Laughingthrush
2
1
Presumably escapee(s)
Chinese Hwamei
3
2
Probably escapees
Blue-winged Minla
1
1
Presumably escapee
Dark-sided Flycatcher
11
3

Asian Brown Flycatcher
19
8

Grey-streaked Flycatcher
2
1
Individual for a few days in May
Oriental Magpie Robin
1
1
Surprisingly rare
Hainan Blue Flycatcher
12
4
Common early season migrant
Hill Blue Flycatcher
12
3
Common early season migrant
Blue-and-White Flycatcher
6
2

Rufous-tailed Robin
1
1
Presumably regular migrant but very skulking
Japanese Robin
1
1

Siberian Blue Robin
4
2
Very skulking here
Bluethroat
10
2
Presumably winters
Siberian Rubythroat
25
5
Common migrant and probable winterer
Blue Whistling Thrush
6
2
Both yellow-billed and dark-billed races seen
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher
13
3
Late April onwards
Green-backed Flycatcher
1
1
Male in April
Mugimaki Flycatcher
14
4

Slaty-blue Flycatcher
1
1
One individual in March
Taiga Flycatcher
31
10
One of the few species that tolerates banana plantations
White-throated Rock Thrush
4
1
Two individuals (1m, 1f)
Siberian Stonechat
36
15
Last recorded at the beginning of May
Pied Bushchat
1
1
Male in March
Grey Bushchat
1
1

Siberian Thrush
1
1
Adult male
Orange-headed Thrush
2
1
Two individuals
Grey-backed Thrush
6
1

Black-breasted Thrush
1
1

Japanese Thrush
8
6
Regular in March
Eyebrowed Thrush
4
7
Not seen outside of April
Daurian Starling
1
1
Female in March
Great Myna
1
2

Crested Myna
3
2

Olive-backed Sunbird
2
2

Forest Wagtail
4
3

Eastern Yellow Wagtail
2
2

Citrine Wagtail
11
12

Grey Wagtail
4
1

White Wagtail
16
6

Richard’s Pipit
27
6
Common migrant
Paddyfield Pipit
34
8
Common resident
Olive-backed Pipit
19
13
One of the few species that tolerates banana plantations
Red-throated Pipit
12
7

Crested Bunting
3
1
Two different individuals seen
Tristram’s Bunting
6
2
Fairly regular in March but skulking
Little Bunting
12
10

Yellow-breasted Bunting
6
7
Long-staying flock in dead cornfield
Chestnut Bunting
2
1

Black-faced Bunting
13
4
Only in March
Common Rosefinch
2
3

Oriental Greenfinch
11
35
Erratic
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
34
40

White-rumped Munia
12
8

Scaly-breasted Munia
37
40


The following additional species were among those reported by other observers during the same period: Yellow-legged Buttonquail, Short-eared Owl, Blue-throated Bee-eater, Swinhoe’s Minivet, and Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher.