Welcome to Vietnam Bird News

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

19 February 2012

All Things Common

Male Grey-capped Greenfinch.

The Red river Island was fairly quite last week. But when you have a camera in the hands, there is always something interesting to do. This is a serie of shots I did during 3-4 noon visits.

A smart Grey Bushchat

Still plenty of Siberian Stonechats. One of the most common winter birds here.

Many Red-throated Pipits in the fields now. The other Pipits I saw were Paddyfield and Olive-backed (the last one around/in banana plantations).

A stunning Siberian Rubythroat which stubbornly refused to turn just a little bit to show its brilliant red throat. Get a decent shot of this little fellow is always a challenge.

Probably the "highlight" of the week : 2 Pallas's Leaf Warblers, in a hedge. My third observation of this species in Hanoi.

Much more common : some Dusky Warblers...

... and many Yellow-browed Warblers.

Raptors were quite numerous in the area with many sightings of Pied Harriers (at least 1 male, 2 imm, sometimes 2 birds hunting together), Eastern Marsh Harriers (at least 2 males, pic above), 2 resident Black-shouldered Kites.

A cracking male Pied Harrier; probably one of the best raptor in the world.

Imm. Pied Harrier (body and underwing brown, secondaries rather dark). Surprisingly, this individual show very pale primaries. The one below (with a prey, you can see its tail) is more plain chestnut-brown below and show black-tipped/more barred primaries.
I think both are 1st winter birds (the second one I'm sure 100%).

I bumped also into a medium-sized bat trapped in a mist net set up along a bamboo hedge. It takes me 15 minutes to free it - without a knife it would have been impossible.

I tried to ID it. There are ca 100 species of bats in Vietnam, and this one probably belong to a common species.
The family was easy to find : Pteropodidae = fruit bats or flying foxes.

After, things become more difficult. I found in the web a list of mammals of Vietnam. In the Pteropodidae, there's only a dozen of species. I found pictures of all of them, and my conclusion is that's probably a Lesser or Greater Short-nosed Fruit Bat / Cynopterus sp - dog-faced fruit bats.

Those common frugivorous bats occur in differents habitats including disturbed/open forests, mangroves, gardens, cultivation... They roost in small groups in trees, under leaves, and in caves.

Rotation 180° - to protect your neck !

In this net there were also some warblers, 1 Brown Shrike, 3-4 White-throated Fantails, all dead. All birds that fly into those invisible nets are destined to die a slow lingering death...

And a dragonfly to end this post : Pantala flavescens (Globe Skimmer or Wandering Glider). There are very few dragonflies to spot in winter around Hanoi, and 90% belong to this strong species, the highest-flying dragonfly - recorded at 6,200 m in the Hymalayas.

Sebastien Delonglee


  1. As always, fantastic shots!
    Great work by the way - the article on the articles is really interesting. And depressing, as you said.

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