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29 March 2012

Lenin Park - Hanoi

Hi all,

Recent sightings of migrants in the park (near the northern gate) :

- 1 Orange-headed Thrush
- 1 Seicercus sp
- 1 Verditer Flycatcher
- 2-3 Hill/Chinese Blue Flycatchers
- 1 male Mugimaki Flycatcher
- 1 male Hainan Blue Flycatcher
- 1 Manchurian Bush-warbler (heard)
- 2 Black-naped Monarchs
- some Grey-capped Greenfinches
- 1 Spot-necked Babbler (not a migrant of course!)

Spotted this nice male Mugimaki Flycatcher last Sunday with John Parr and his family. Probably a one day bird, no recent sighting.

Noisy and nervous Spot-necked Babbler seen this morning (29th March). Obviously "escapee" is everyone's first thought. But I think it's too easy to put every "incongruous sighting" in the category "escaped" (or "released", but it is much harder to imagine, here !) . In any case a great looking bird !

How many captive Black-throated Laughingthrushes at Hanoi ? Hundreds, more probably thousands ? But how many sightings of this species in the 2 main Hanoian's parks ? For me it is very simple : not a single one. I could say the same thing about other common "cage birds" : Mynas, White-crested Laughingthrush, Hwamei (only 2 sightings in two years)... Have you ever seen a single Spot-necked Babbler in a cage here ?... Just to say there is higher probability that it is a genuine vagrant, even if it is hard to believe. Just my opinion!

Male Black-naped Monarch

Verditer Flycatcher



  1. Hi Seb,

    I think - and that's just my feeling - the Spot-necked Babbler is an escapee. I've seen the species caged near Tam Dao. Also this bird's tail and vent feathers look rather shrubby, if you know what I mean. That could be an indication. The species is not known to migrate a lot, and is normally quite social. This dude appears to be on his own. Obviously it's impossible to find out this bird's story but I guess it's an escaped individual.

    The Brownish-flanked B-warbler in the other post looks fine to me but not 100 percent sure because I struggle a bit with these guys as well.

    I had a great sighting of 2 Black-throated Laughingthrushes performing nicely yesterday near the bear centre. Also, Bar-backed Partridges started calling again, and 2 Hodgson's Cuckoos were singing around NP HQ.


  2. Hi Falk,

    You`re probably right, I have also noticed the significant wear on the tip of the tail... but I quickly forgot this detail ! ;)


  3. Hi Sebastian,

    The escape vs vagrant conundrum will always plague Hanoi, but I think this has to be an escape - these little babblers can barely fly! It might have been brought to Hanoi in a cage full of laughingthrushes to sell and then released when no-one bought it.

    I've seen quite a few escapes in Hanoi, Silver-eared Mesia, White-rumped Shama, a tailess Hwamei which spent a week in the Botanical Gardens (plus Sarah had one from the house once), some Vinous-breasted Starlings dyed yellow, 2 Red-billed Blue Magpies...and a budgie - no trouble deciding where that one came from!

    I'd give the benefit of the doubt to birds which fly well, like White-tailed Blue Robin and Snowy-browed Flycatcher, even if they aren't meant to be here. That Black-throated Prinia which Falk had on the island last year though, I've no idea...