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

17 February 2011

2 Pale Thrushes at Lenin Park !

Hi all,

Short stroll at noon today (17th February) at the Lenin Park. The best were 2 strange Thrushes, together, which gave me a headache.
Some pics :

Plain grey head, brownish-chestnut nape/back/rump, yellowish bill (lower mandible)/eyering, brown washed breast, dirty white flanks (slightly brown-mottled) and belly but snowy white undertail-coverts...

Note also white alula and white flight-feather fringing.

Skittish bird

My feelings is that's looks good for a Pale Thrush Turdus pallidus. But this species is not in my Robson (edition 2005) ! Is it in yours ?

Some informations found on the net : "Breeds in south-east Siberia, north-east China and Korea and may breed in Japan. It is largely migratory, wintering in southern and central Japan, South Korea and southern China, occasionally reaching as far as Yunnan, Taiwan and the Philippines".

Yunnan, and why not Vietnam ? Maybe just need a harsh winter like this one to convince those little buggers to cross the border...

Other species seen :
1 Taiga Flycatcher
1 Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker male
2 Common Kingfishers and 1 White-breasted Waterhen in the flower garden
1 Brown Shrike
1 Chinese Blackbird male, with nice bluish reflections. Yeah, the sun has reappeared...

Sébastien Delonglée


  1. Congratulations Sebastian you have a first for South-East Asia! Pale Thrush it is!

    I met Richard again this morning and he said that he saw your bird the day before, he also noted that it had pale corners to the tail (only really visible in flight) - this is another feature of Pale Thrush.

    I dipped this thrush yesterday afternoon and this morning, but I would not be surprised if it is still around - the park was very crowded when I was there.



  2. Great find and great photos! Just wish I could be Hanoi right now ...


    Richard (Craik)

  3. anh goi qua nha,chuc mung a nhe baby.hon a.

  4. I see Simon has already commented, but I said I would get back about the rest of this morning's effort at Lenin Park after we parted company. I'm a bit embarrassed to report that I saw this bird on the 16th and threw my hands up in despair at encountering yet another thrush which seemed nothing like anything in the field guide I was toting around (Robson). I would describe the tails corners as extensively white, so much so that the initial impression when the bird flew was that it had white all along the outer edges of the tail. It was really this feature that made me feel I was looking at some sort of anomaly, for I couldn't find in Robson any classic thrushes with white tail corners.

    Today I lingered a good couple of hours after Simon had to head to work, and I'm afraid I failed to relocate the bird. (I spent part of this time circumnavigating the lake, without seeing much). I had five thrushes all at once near the public toilets on the east side of the park. Two were male Japanese thrushes and the other three seemed consistent with immature male and female Japanese Thrushes as I've read about on this blog. (One with an incipient bib composed of dark streaking). Apart from that the only bird not mentioned in this post was a Wryneck working the tall trees above the toilets.

    Sebastian, I'm hoping you can comment further on the white tail corners.

    Richard (Fleming)

  5. Nothing to be ashamed of Richard! That it's been around for two days gives us hope that it may still be there. However, at lunchtime Nicolas, Jonathan and myself failed to find it.


  6. It looks like I will head off to Cuc Phuong tomorrow, so I'll send a report if it turns out the Pale Thrush has moved right on down there.

    On a more serious note, I hope it lingers for the rest of the winter and all interested parties get a chance to see it.

    It was a pleasure meeting Simon and getting a sense of the local birding community, and the potential for excitement!

    Richard (Fleming)

  7. Hi all
    Hi Richard, welcome in Hanoi

    In fact, I didn't notice a "white flash" on the tail. I observed those birds 40-50 seconds in total, and at least the 3/4 of this time through the lens of my camera, so I couldn't concentrate much on the identification. It's a choice; sometimes I loose when pics are blurry !
    I saw those guys 30 meters south of our famous Toilets (Simon will explain to you why "famous"), on the circular paved area with green metal frame. Like other Trushes, they were most of the time perched on trees and flew down to the ground when everything was calm. I think the best way to see them is to sit on a bank near this area at noon and simply wait...
    Are you sure this species has never been observed in Vietnam ? I can't believe it..

  8. Hey Sebastian
    I only saw one bird, but that is exactly the same spot, or so it seems to me from your description. It was just as you describe, up in the trees and then down to ground when the area was free of people, along the southern edge of that raised, paved half-circle (where just as the other day, this morning, the same couple was once again practising their salsa dancing in the corner nearest the toilets). Essentially in line with the wall that marks the northern edge of the nursery or plantation apparently used to grow plants for the park. Incidentally, I watched the one bird for about 15 minutes and gave it up as a complete mystery, so congratulations on identifying it! And thanks.
    Richard (Fleming)

  9. Congrats Sebastien! Just amazing how you manage to turn up one first record after the other!
    Envious greetings from freezing Moldova...

  10. Hi Florian

    Thanks guy, when will you be back here ?
    You miss us !
    Have you twich new birds in Germany ?