Welcome to Vietnam Bird News

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

30 April 2011

Red River Island, Saturday 30 April

A couple of hours in the treed area of the island this morning produced the following birds (and several birds I could not identify such as a fantail –like bird with a bluish head and something like a rufous winged philentoma, but without the whitish belly. I guess that’s why we keep coming back.

  • Bulbul-Black (ssp stresemani)

  • Cuckooshrike-Black winged

  • Drongo-Ashy

  • Drongo-Black

  • Flycatcher-Asian paradise

  • Flycatcher-Hainan blue

  • Kite-Black shouldered

  • Shrike-Brown


28 April 2011

Red River Island - 28th April

Hi all,

Short stroll at noon (in the woodland). Good diversity of migrants including :

- 2 Yellow-rumped Flycatchers
- 1 Hainan Blue Flycatcher
- 1 Taiga Flycatcher
- 1 Asian Brown Flycatcher
- 1 Black-naped Monarch
- 2 White-throated Rock Thrushes (male & female)
- some Brown and Eastern-crowned Warblers
- 1 Siberian Blue Robin
- 10-15 Black Drongos + some Spangled & Ashy Drongos along the woodland edge

The 2 White-throated Rock Thrushes perched low inside dense vegetation or in the middle storey, dropping to the floor to catch small invertebrate prey. Inconspicuous but fairly tame.


Chestnut Bunting Botanical Garden 25/4

Some good birds during a short lunch time stroll:

Between the lake and the street in the east of the garden:

- Chestnut Bunting (male, not yet breeding plumage)
- Eyebrowed Thrush

Toilet corner:

- White-throated Rock-thrush
- Burmese Shrike



27 April 2011

Purple Cochoa, Tam Dao Bear Centre, 27-4-11

Hi all,

A Purple Cochoa was heard calling around the bear centre several times today - unfortunately I couldn't find it, yet...
Let's see what happens tomorrow.


25 April 2011

White-eared Night Heron, Ba Be NP, 23/04/11

Hi all,

A successful trip to Ba Be on the weekend produced the hoped-for adult White-eared Night Heron.
However, no Eared Pittas were recorded.
Quite a few Limestone Leaf Warblers put in an appearance, and a possible Collared Treepie was heard but in the end eluded us. A big flock of Black Bulbuls (both, leucothorax and stresemanni) and a few alboides White Wagtails were seen.
Not much else was around on a very tiring trip.

Simon + Falk

24 April 2011

Red River Island - 24th April

Hi all,

Photo stroll at the woodland of the Red River Island. Spotted some nice birds including 1 tame White-throated Rock Thrush male, a small flock of 4-5 Chestnut Buntings with 1 stunning adult male, 2 Spangled Drongos, 4 Asian Paradise-Flycatchers...


Lenin Park lately

(I had huge problems publishing this post out of my upgrade to IE9 (with MS Word 2010). Even compatibility mode did not work. Found many others on web with same problem, but no solution (yet). Finally solved by downloading and using Google Chrome.)

Saturday 16 April
A nice morning out. While there was very little action around the "toilet" area, the rest of the park made up for it. Notable birds (for me):

  • Drongo (Ashy) - 3 pale and one darker morph

  • Sharma - White rumped (near Le Duan)

  • Shrike - Burmese

Saturday 23 April

A slow morning at first, with more birds visible & moving around later on. Again, very little action around the "toilet"area, but a few interesting birds 100m past it. Notable birds:

  • Drongo - Spangled

  • Flycatcher - Yellow rumped (Female)

  • Munia - Scaly (surprisingly just 1 - I have always seen these guys in groups in the past)

Wayne Hodgkinson, Hanoi

18 April 2011

Common Rosefinch, Tam Dao, 18-4-11

Hi all,

along the valley behind the bear centre, a beautiful adult male Common Rosefinch put in an appearance today.

Not much else around with Black-capped Kingfisher, Taiga Flycatcher and Crested Serpent Eagle being the better ones.


17 April 2011

Haiphong - 16th April

Non-birding trip to Haiphong and Cat Ba island. Picked up a flock of around 10 Yellow-breasted Buntings at Đình Vũ (where there's a small harbour to Cat Ba, surrounded by nice watery areas... but futur industrial zone; that's explain the wonderful background of those 2 pics !), and 1 Olive-backed Sunbird male singing along the central road of Cat Ba (rhizophorae race of the North Vietnam, with whitish - and not yellow -belly/Robson).

Changes in Datanla, Tuyen Lam lake and Ta Nung Valley

This winter I have experienced changes in some of the most popular places for birdwatching around Dalat. Some of you will know this already, but I give here a short summary of the changes, as I believe it will be news to some:

Ta Nung Valley: Part of the area is privatly owned, and they have started the construction of a resort. For the time being they are constructing the road (picture) down to the site where there will be a restaurant. A new fence and locked gate have been put up half way down the road leading from the main road. Since it is privat property I guess the owner is in his rights. The first time I came there (in January), a young student took me on his motorbike, but the manager did not let us in, and we simply had to return. Fortunately a new manager arrived in February, and he and his wife are very friendly. They let people in if you call down to them. I give them a small amount of money to smooth things.

Tuyen Lam lake: As mentioned previously on this blog, they are constructing a road up the slope from Da Tien restaurant to Pinhatt. This has ruined the whole scenery along the shortest trail from Da Tien to the top. However, one can of course take advantage of this, and use the road to get quick and easy access to the top.

Datanla: Some people visit this area for birdwatching. I am among those. It is a very short drive from Dalat, and surprisingly many species can be seen by walking a few metres and sitting comfortably on benches. However, it is a must to be there early in the morning, before people have scared away most of the birds! The facility has expanded, so the full "service" is now the following: Entrance fee VND 10 000, which I normally pay on my way out again, because I come in (without problems) before they open. The best area for birds is by walking slowly down to the first, big waterfall. Alternatively one can go on the rollercoaster (VND 40 000) down to the first waterfall. Recently they have constructed a cable-car (VND 40 000) that continues down a gully, and then you can go even further in an elevator (free) that takes you down to the bottom of the valley. I have not investigated the area in the bottom of the valley, because the cable-car did not run when I was there. However, this area may be good for birdwatching in the morning.


Some observations in Dalat January - April

Here are some more or less unusual sightings I did during my stay in Dalat this winter:

A Narcissus Flycatcher male (the narcissina race) visited my garden in Dalat on 9th April - a wonderfully colored bird!

While Xuan Huong lake in Dalat was almost without water (until tet), it was more suitable for waders. In addition to large numbers of Common Sandpiper (a maximum of 25+ seen when bicycling around the lake on 2nd January) and Chinese Pond Herons (a maximum of 100+ on 2nd of January), I noted 2 Little Ringed Plovers on 2nd January and 1 Pintail Snipe on 16th January. After the lake was filled with water again, I noted 2 Little Cormorants on 16th March.

In Tuyen Lam lake I saw a Darter on 11th April.


16 April 2011

Photoshots from my window in Dalat

During my stay in Dalat this "winter" I have had several bird species in the garden in the middle of Dalat, and I have been able to get some nice shots from my window. Here are some of them: Blue Rock Thrush (philippensis-race), Taiga Flycatcher, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Black Bulbul and Black-headed Sibia (I was quite surprised to see this species in the middle of town).


Red river island, 16-4-11

Hi all, An excellent morning was spent on the island today, covering the corn fields and the little patch of forest. The more notable species were, - 1 Manchurian Reed Warbler (heard singing in one of the weed fields on the plain between the woodland and the banana plantation and brief views) - 1 Yellow-streaked Warbler (singing in the woodland) - 1 probable Baikal Bush Warbler - 1 Chestnut-winged Cuckoo - 1 male Burmese Shrike - 2 Mugimaki Flycatchers - 1 Manchurian Bush Warbler - 1 Orange-headed Thrush - Luscinia-galore: couple of Bluethroats, Siberian Rubythroats and a fine male Siberian Blue Robin - Phylloscs: Radde's, Dusky, Two-barred Greenish, Arctic, Yellow-browed, Eastern Crowned, Greenish, Pale-legged plus the above mentioned Yellow-streaked - at least 2 Black-faced Buntings - 2 Little Buntings plus nice sightings of a gorgeous breeding-plumaged Citrine Wagtail and Red-throated Pipit, 2 Black-naped Orioles, Black-shouldered Kites, a chorus of White-breasted Waterhens, lots of Black-naped Monarchs and red-throated Taiga Flycatchers, 1 Oriental Turtle Dove and a big flock of Scaly-breasted Munias. Wow, that's actually a lot of birds (not mentioning the commoner species)! Did I forget anything, Simon? Cheers, Simon and Falk

Birding near Nha Trang

With a week in Nha Trang, unfortunately I only managed to get out twice, to some forest about 40km to the west of Nha Trang. Still, lots of birds around.


  • Babbler-Chestnut capped

  • Babbler-Striped tit

  • Bea-eater Green

  • Bluebird-Asian fairy

  • Bulbul-Black crested

  • Bulbul-Forest unidentified

  • Bulbul-Sooty headed

  • Dove-Spotted

  • Egret-Cattle

  • Flycatcher-Dark sided

  • Flycatcher-Little pied

  • Iora-Common

  • Iora-Green???

  • Kingfisher-White throated

  • Leafbird-Blue winged

  • Malkoha-Green billed

  • Minivet-Long Tailed???

  • Minivet-Scarlet

  • Shrike-Long tailed

  • Tailorbird-Dark necked

  • Woodshrike-Large

What Iora is this???

15 April 2011

Lenin Park - 15th April

A smart Forest Wagtail

A morning photo stroll at Lenin Park produced some nice birds, including : 1 male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, 1 Seicercus Warbler, 2 Pale-legged Leaf Warblers, 1 male Taiga Flycatcher, 1 Burmese Shrike, 1 Oriental Skylark (probably escapee), 1 female Rock Thrush sp, 3 Grey-capped Greenfinches, 1 Forest Wagtail.
Friendly Yellow-rumped Flycatcher. Regular in our Hanoian parks, but always an emotion to spot this wonderful bird

Burmese Shrike, also very photogenic

Secretive Pale-Legged Leaf Warbler , spends most of the time foraging low down on branches, along a wall
I didn't clearly ID this female Rock Thrush, but you are going to help me ! Scaly above but not as heavily (I mean : not big contrast brown-white) as the female White-throated seen on the Red River Island few days ago. Plain brown-eared. Didn't see the belly. Chesnut-bellied Rock Thrush ?

Sebastien Delonglee

14 April 2011

Tam Dao Bear Centre, 14-4-11

Hi all,

Great to see there's more and more contributions to this blog - fantastic!

Right now, birding has a bit slowed down here in TD these days. Getting warmer!
New birds in the area for today were amongst others,
- 1 Black-capped Kingfisher
- 1 Grey-faced Buzzard (seen by Tien + visiting birder)
- 1 Blue-and-white Flycatcher
- gazillions of Stonechats

As I said, nothing overly exciting but good to see other people are more fortunate.
Congratulations go to Arild and his waders-galore, as well as to Simon for his massive-breasted Chestnut Bunting!


Chestnut Bunting in the botanical gardens 14/04/11

A lunch time stroll around the botanical gardens produced a male Chestnut Bunting, feeding on the ground next to the sculpture of the woman with massive breasts. There were loads of migrants about, including perhaps 100 Yellow-browed Warblers, and also: Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 1 stunning male Brown Flycatcher 1 Hill Blue Flycatcher 1 male Taiga Flycatcher 8, including many adult males Eastern Crowned Warbler 1 Pale-legged Warbler 1 Radde's Warbler 1 Dusky Warbler 3 Seicurcus warbler sp. 1 Olive-backed Pipit 2 Simon

13 April 2011

Terns and Knots in Can Gio 10th February 2011

I don't know what are "normal" numbers of these species in the Can Gio area, but here are my sighting on the beach this morning. At least for me the number of terns was high. All the terns were resting together on the beach. I guess the Great Knot is not a common species here. The photo has an unusual format, but I try to include it. 150 Great Knot (forground, right-hand side); 110 Caspian Tern; 200+ Little Tern; 80+ Whiskered Tern Arild

Red-necked Phalaropes in Dalat

First a short presentation: I am a Norwegian, often visiting Vietnam because of my work, and then I often take advantage of the opportunity to do some nice birding. For the time being I stay and work in Dalat (December 2010 - May 2011). Florian introduced me to this blog, and I will give some comments on some of my sightings.

I start with the Red-necked Phalaropes that I have seen twice in the lake in the center of Dalat (Xuan Huong lake): 1 specimen 13th March 2010 and 6 specimens 27th March 2011. See enclosed photo. In March 2010 the lake was almost totally emptied for water due to the construction of a new road/bridge, but before tet this year the lake was again filled up with water. Probably more people should be aware of this bird during the spring migration in Dalat.

Arild Andersen

12 April 2011

Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher and Jerdon's Baza on the Red River Island

A good morning (12 April 2011) on the Red River Island produced Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher (male) and a perched Jerdon's Baza! Neither were birds I expected to see in Hanoi. More expected were:
Black-naped Monarch 2
Taiga Flycatcher 1
Hainan Blue Flycatcher 7
Ashy Drongo 1
Eastern Crowned Warbler 1
Sulphur-breasted Warbler 1
Y-brow 30
Little Bunting 2
Japanese Sparrowhawk

Back at home, Oriental Honey Buzzards were passing north at a rate of approximately 3 per hour.


11 April 2011

White-throated Rock Thrush - Hanoi

Hi all,

A new guy today (11th April) in the wooded area of the Red river Island : a female White-throated Rock Thrush ! Sebastien

10 April 2011

Red River Island / April 10th

A wander around the wooded area of the Red River Island produced the following : 1 Fujian Niltava female, 1 Ashy Minivet, 2 Yellow-rumped Flycatchers, 1 Hainan Blue Flycatcher, 1 Chinese/Hill Blue Flycatcher, at least 3 Black-naped Monarchs, 1 Black-capped Kingfisher, some Grey-headed Canary Flycatchers, lots of Yellow-browed & Eastern Crowned Warblers, and some "little brown jobs" skulking in the undergrowth, among them 1 Manchurian Bush Warbler identified with certainty. Sebastien

Hanoi raptor passage 10/4/11

Late afternoon there was some good raptor passage over Truc Bach Lake:
Oriental Honey Buzzard 1
Amur Falcon 14
Grey-faced Buzzard 3
Peregrine Falcon 1
Chinese Sparrowhawk 2

Also 1 Purple Heron, 3 Grey-headed Greenfinches and good numbers of hirundines and wagtails.


Lenin Park. April 9th

A lovely morning at Lenin Park. After meeting Sebastian for the first time, I spent about two hours around the toilets, as I really wanted to see the Orange-headed Thrush. No joy, but I saw all the other birds he did, as well as an unidentified flycatcher that may well be a female Narcissus flycatcher, although I really am not sure (see bottom two images).


9 April 2011

Lenin Park / April 9th

Short stroll around the famous Lenin Park toilets. Spotted four guys exploiting the place : 1 Hainan Blue Flycatcher, 1 Chinese/Hill Blue Flycatcher, 1 Orange-headed Thrush, 1 Eyebrowed Thrush.


Tam Dao NP, 8-4-11

Hi all,

Unlike the previous post, this one is more about sheer numbers of birds and less about numbers of species.

- Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, (estimated) 150!!! along the road between the bear center and NP HQ
- 15 Dollarbirds
- 10 Spangled Drongos + about 15 Ashy Drongos, only around the bear center
- Pale-footed Bush Warblers start singing
- Lesser and Greater Coucal having an argument
- 1 male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher
- 1 Besra


8 April 2011

Lenin Park 7th April 2011

Visiting birder Pieter Lojtmeijer went to Lenin Park in the afternoon and found the following:

Rufous-tailed Robin (1)
Bianchi's Warbler (two different individuals)
Eastern-crowned Warbler (2)
Blyth's Leaf Warbler (3)
Dusky Warbler (1),
Yellow-browed Warbler (ca. 25)
Chinese/Hill-blue Flycatcher (a male and a fem.)
Asian Brown Flycatcher (1)
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher (at least 6 exx.)
Maroon Oriole (a fem.)
Blue Rock Thrush (a fem.)
Chestnut Bunting (a first spring male)
Grey-headed Greenfinch (4)
Plantive Cuckoo (2 males)

The next day along the edge of West Lake and at the small temple on the island there he saw 3 Grey-headed Lapwings and 3 Yellow-rumped Flycatchers; and in the botanical gardens there was a Forest Wagtail.

6 April 2011

Tam Dao Bear Center, 6-3-11

Hi all,

Quick update on the Chestnut Bunting - there's now 2 of them.
Other notable sightings:
- Common Stonechats moving through in numbers
- 1 Dusky Warbler


Botanical Garden Blues

A short wander around the Botanical Gardens on Saturday morning (2nd April) did not turn up much that was different from usual. There were still lots of warblers on the trees overhanging the 2nd lake. In amongst them were two Black-naped Monarch. Wednesday morning (April 6th), and there were much fewer warblers in this area of the Botanical Gardens. They seem to have dispersed over a lot more of the park. Again not too much of interest, although I did see this guy in the distance. Could not get closer. Presume he is a Hill Blue Flycatcher. A better photo may have helped.


5 April 2011

Tam Dao Bear Center, 05-04-11

Hi all,

Quite some movement at the moment with lots of Phylloscs putting in an apperance (majority being Y-browed and Eastern Crowned) as well as Drongos (Ashy, Spangled).

Other birds of note today,
- 1 Dollarbird
- 2 White-breasted Kingfishers
- 1 Striated Grassbird (addition to the TD bird list!)
- 5 Pale-footed Bush Warblers
- 1 Manchurian Bush Warbler
- 1 Chestnut Bunting
- 2 Collared Scops Owls + 1 Brown Hawk Owl seen well last night (owls generally very active now)

Not bad at all!

1 April 2011

Greater Painted-Snipes - Hanoi 01/04/11

Stroll at mid-day along the Red river channel and around. The best were a flock of 10 Temminck's Stints and a pair of Greater Painted-Snipes. The Snipes were not along the channel but in the marshy area between the channel (south part) and the town. This place is a patchwork of small ponds (where local people cultivate aquatic plants), reed beds, gardens and bamboo hegdes. I flushed the Snipes in an abandoned pond colonized by grasses and scrubs.

Can you see me ?