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

10 September 2012

Hanoi : More migrants

“Firsts of the autumn” spotted last week at Hanoi (mostly at a star fruit orchard at Gia Lam, in the inner city - a new patch!) :

- 1 male Hainan Blue Fly
- 2 Siberian Blue Robin (male and female together) lurking in the undergrowth
- Many Arctic and some Yellow-browed Warblers
- one 1cy Dark-sided Fly
- 1 Burmese Shrike.

Yellow-rumped Flys are actually the most common passerine migrants in all of my city patches (70-80% are female-type). One day, I counted 4 individuals in this small orchard. During a recent day trip to the Tam Dao foothills, I spotted much less passerine migrants than I saw in 15 minutes in this garden! I like these city patches because they make me feel that migration is underway...

On the phylloscs front, Eastern Crowned and Arctic Warblers are actually the most frequently encountered.

Also a flock of ca 30 Grey-headed Lapwings above Vinh Thuy Bridge searching a place for landing and a lone Black-tailed Godwit on the mudflats in the vicinity of the bridge. I always keep an eye on this area (Black Stork and Scaly-sided Merganser last autumn there, if you remember...).

Eastern Crowned Warblers (Gia Lam, Hanoi, 10th Sept.),
actually a very common sight in all the city patches. Easily identified by the yellow washed undertail coverts, the strongly marked yellow supercilium and crown stripe, with smokey grey-green on the rest of the head contrasting with brighter green mantle.

A typical juvenile Dark-sided Flycatcher with white spots on the back, dark spots on the breast and a streaked head (Gia Lam, Hanoi, 6th Sept.).

I noticed that Dark-sided Fly behave quite differently from Asian Brown Fly by usually perching low on exposed branches, making quick raids from there to catch insects. Asian Brown Fly moving at mid-storey level, and is not faithful to a particular perch like Dark-sided. The latter looks long-winged, the bill looks entirely black (pale colouration restricted to the base of the lower mandible). One feature often mentioned in the literature is the dark centres to the undertail coverts, but I found it hard to see in the field (this young bird does not show this feature).

My best ever photo of an Asian Brown Flycatcher (sharp, nice attitude, rather uniform background).

Just grabbed its lunch. Looks a bit big for it...
(Gia Lam, Hanoi, 8th Sept.)
The carambola trees are in bloom now. Perfect background!

My first Arctic Warbler of the autumn (Gia Lam, Hanoi, 9th Sept.). How many thousands of kilometers have covered this little fellow ?
Arctic Warbler has now been split into 3 species based on genetics and songs. An excellent news for all the “phylloscs experts” (ironical) like me! More details here.

Yellow-browed Warbler (Gia Lam, Hanoi, 6th Sept.)

An excited female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher (Gia Lam, Hanoi, 9th Sept.), flicking its wings and tail, easily detected by its rattling calls “tr..tr..tr”.

Much less conspicuous : a male Hainan Blue Flycatcher (Gia Lam, Hanoi, 6th Sept.).



  1. thanks for sharing.

  2. Really good shot of the Eastern crowned Warbler!
    The juvenile Dark-sided Flycatcher also looks interesting.