Welcome to Vietnam Bird News

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

15 September 2014

Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher in Dowtown Hanoi

One hour in the grounds of the Botanical Gardens, Hanoi, at noon on Monday 15 September in bright, sunny conditions produced quality but not much quantity.

Whilst checking some places known to attract migrants I flushed a passerine perched at eye-level, which I assumed would be a common flycatcher (Taiga or Asian Brown), but the bird looked quite large. When I got the binoculars on it I  was more than happy to identify a adult Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, one of the species that had inspired me to keep plugging away at the city parks after the 2nd Vietnam’s record  (but the 1st one of an alive individual) in September 2010 by Florian Klingel, at the Botanical Gardens also.

This is a regular and not so uncommon passage migrant at Hanoi - to my knowledge around 15 records (with an obvious peak in autumn 2010 due to a good number of Hanoi based birders) and all these records, except one, on autumn passage.
Incredibly, this species is currently unrecorded in Vietnam outside of Hanoi (Mahood & al., 2013) !!! With the exception of 2 sightings in a suburban orchard, all the birds have been spotted in Downtown Hanoi !

It is a sluggish, unobtrusive forest interior species. The open structure of vegetation in the parks renders typically skulking species such as jungle-flycatchers relatively easy to detect. Brown-chested Jungle-flycatcher passes through Hanoi during a relatively short window centered on September. It spends the non-breeding season in southern Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore (Mahood & al., 2013).
It is considered uncommon and localised within its breeding grounds in south-east China, and this has likely contributed to its listing as Vulnerable (BirdLife International 2012).

This guy often perched quite low, sitting very still for minutes and scrutinizing the ground for insects.

 An adult - 1st winter bird shows dark lower mandible-tip

9 September 2014

Hainan Blues

Well my recent strolls in the city patches didn't produce much. Almost same stuff than one week ago, in small numbers. Waiting for a big fall of migrants - overnight rain would be perfect!
Nevertheless, spotted the first Hainan Blue Flycatchers of the autumn...

Another one, with white throat-triangle (I only spotted this form 2 times in Hanoi)*

* According to Le Manh Hung who recently emailed me, this bird might be the variant form with white throat-triangle, very pale breast of Blue-throated Flycatcher ssp klossi. I am quite agree with Hung but what puzzle me is the absence of klossi population north of Vietnam. Klossi is a southern Indochina endemic - and resident - race.
For other similar birds spotted at Hanoi during passage periods, have a look at this post.

Arctic Warbler

A nice male White-rumped Shama - escapee
                                Still, nice to see, and it's better off in a park than in a cage!

3 September 2014

Migrants & interesting residents - Hanoi

Hi fellow birders!

Back to birding  now and ready to embrace all those lovely migrants which are about to come my way. I visited some patches in the city on 1st and 2rd Sept, and it seems that migrants have indeed started to arrive : some Spangled Drongos, some unidentified Accipiter, good numbers of Arctic and Eastern Crowned Warblers, some Asian Paradise Flycatchers, 4-5 Yellow-rumped and 2 Asian Brown Flycatchers, Black-naped Monarchs, female-type of Eurasian or Oriental Cuckoo, 1 Asian Koel (certainly passage migrant - not resident at Hanoi), Burmese, Brown and Tiger Shrikes, 1 Forest Wagtail, 2 Black-naped Orioles, 2 Ashy Minivets.
Noteworthy resident species there include some Grey-throated Martins along the Red River and 2 Masked Laughingthrushes (seen together).

So this is it - passerine migration is truly underway :)


Asian Brown Flycatcher Dark-sided Flycatcher

Tiger Shrike (juv.)
The peak autumn passage period of occurrence around Hanoi appeared to be during the last week of August and the first week of September.

 The same little fellow, apparently exhausted

Masked Laughingthrush - one of the 2 individuals regularly seen (together) for at least one year in different wooded-scubby city patches along a 1km stretch of the Red River. Whether these are genuine birds is debatable but I'm pretty sure these are not escapees (Masked Laughingthrush is NOT a cage bird - at least here, at Hanoi).

Grey-throated Martin