Welcome to Vietnam Bird News

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

11 September 2011

Hanoi, Gia Lam, Sunday Sept 11: Mystery bird

I sneaked in to the small forest (OK, tree'd area that Sebastian found) for a peak early, and in-between heavy showers saw a few birds around, including one very large mystery bird.

It was large and heavy set, dwarfing a solitary Sooty-headed Bulbul that sat on a nearby branch for a brief time - I would estimate 45-60cm long (including its long tail). It sat twice in very thick areas, giving me a long time to scope it with binoculars. The thick areas it sat in meant it was difficult to ever see the whole bird, and I never saw the head. Its back was dark brown with a few random, (appearing) feather tips being a cream colour. When I Googled images of Asian Koel and Greater Coucal immature, both had many more light spots that this bird. What I thought would be distinctive, but have not been able to find was the wing. The upper wing had a blackish-blue area near the shoulder, and the cream feather-tips formed two (imperfect) rings below this coloured area, that circled the lower half of it. Any help greatly appreciated with this one. Will cross-post on Birdforum as well, in hope of getting an ID.

Apart from this, in my brief stay, I saw
  • Bulbul, Sooty headed (1)
  • Flycatcher, Asian briown (at least 2)
  • Flycatcher, Dark-sided (1)
  • Flycatcher, Hainan Blue (at last 2)
  • Flycatcher, Yellow-rumped (at least 4)
  • White-eye, Japanese (lots)
I also saw a man with an air rifle, trying to shoot birds but thankfully, his aim sucked. I heard quite a few calls I have not heard in Hanoi before as well.


9 September 2011

Hanoi: Thursday 8 September

Interesting around work today with lots of birds moving around in the 30 minutes I had for lunch (tiny red bird overhead with constant fast wingbeats and very small tail, larger pale brown bird with longer tail, pointy wings in flight, rapid wingbeat then rest creating an undulated flight....my thought was a Scaly Thrush but I have no evidence to back that up).

I found a white (or possibly albino) Java Sparrrow sheltering behind the gym during a thunderstorm (dont ask what I was doing there). My thoughts are that it is an escapee.

Also a strange looking Brown Shrike that I hoped might have been a Bull-headed Shrike (brownish eye stripe, shortish wing, strongish beak). Unfortunately no, a Brown shrike, probable ssp cristatus.


4 September 2011

Central Vietnam - 40km West of Nha Trang (Sept 02)

Family weekend in Nha Trang, and I managed to get a morning pass, shooting off to a patch of forest 40km to the west. Lots of great birds again, and some good images. There are two birds I cannot ID (and there were no takers on Birdforum either) - images, with descriptions, below. Also saw many birds that I had no chance to identify or photograph.

The birds currently were:

  • Bea-eater-Chestnut capped

  • Bluebird-Asian fairy

  • Bulbul-Grey eyed

  • Bulbul-Sooty Headed

  • Coucal-Greater

  • Drongo-Ashy (both mouhoti and the more common races)

  • Drongo-Black

  • Eagle-Crested serpent

  • Flycatcher-Darksided

  • Iora-Common

  • Iora-Great

  • Kingfisher-White throated

  • Kingfisher-Common

  • Leafbird-Blue winged

  • Malkoha-Green billed

  • Minivet-Scarlet

  • Minivet-Long tailed

  • Monarch-Black naped

  • Sunbird-Crimson

  • Swallow-Barn

  • Wagtail-Forest

  • Wagtail-Grey

  • Woodpecker-Unidentified (small, B&W, plain wings, big head on small neck, no easily visible red, very good singer, varied song)

When I saw the bird below, I initially thought it was yet another Drongo, but when scoped, there was blue on it. As I watched, I saw it dive and catch something from the surface of a small lake three times before it disappeared. Multiple images, as none are so clear.

This bird sat very still in the bamboo. When a small brown bird (sorry) caught a moth / butterfly and was sitting on the ground with it, this bird dive-bombed the smaller bird a couple of times before disappearing.

And a few images I just like. LOL

Asian fairy bluebird

Black Naped Monarch

Green-billed Malkoha

Dark sided Flycatcher


Tam Dao Bear Center, 4-9-2011

Hi all,

The first migrants were finally seen in Tam Dao today,

- 1 Forest Wagtail
- 1 Asian Brown Flycatcher
- 1 Taiga Flycatcher

Also, 2 1st year Besras upsetting a bunch of Red-whiskered Bulbuls. White-rumped Munias breeding in Pine trees.


1 September 2011

Tam Dao, 31-8-2011, Grey Nightjar

Hi all,

No obvious migration yet around the lower reaches of TD but a Grey Nightjar hunting last night.
Also babblers (including Buff-breasted, Spot-necked and Streak-breasted Scimitar) more active these days.
Owls start calling again.