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24 November 2012

Botanical Gardens - Hanoi

Some lunchtime visits at the Botanical Gardens this week ( 19th -> 24th Nov.), my first ones of the autumn’s, produced a nice selection of migrants/winter visitors – maybe I should go there more regularly!

The highlights were 4 Fujian Niltavas (2 females, 2 males), 3 White-tailed Robins (2 males, 1 female), 1 Rufous-tailed Robin, 1 male Himalayan Bluetail, 1 Blue Whistling Thrush, 10+ Japanese Thrushes (some of them very tame, certainly not arrived one day before...), 2 skittish Chinese Blackbirds, 1 Large-billed Crow high in the canopy (patch tick # 111 / this number = Lenin Park + Bot. Garden – List here – If I forgot something, please tell me!).

Other notables included some Grey-headed Canary Flycatchers (the only species of Flys), a flock of 5-6 Silver-eared Mesias, Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers (probably resident, seen or heard all the year), my first Olive-backed Pipits of the autumn, 1 Grey Wagtail, Seicercus Warblers sp., Yellow-browed Warblers…

Many of these guys were spotted around the toilets, which remains one of the best birding spot of the city centre!

I was very happy to see again many Thrushes in the park. It reminds me this fantastic winter 2010/2011 with sometimes 6-7 species of Thrushes the same day! The winter 2011-2012 was completely disappointed with very few Thrushes seen. I hope this one will be better.

For some of the images below, suggestions/remarks of the Thrushes's experts would be very welcome!

 Female Fujian Niltava

Male Fujian Niltava

It uses the “sit and wait” tactic, dropping down onto preys on the ground from its perch.

Fujian Niltava is a regular sight at Hanoi in winter, but 4 individuals in the same place at the same time it is pretty amazing!

Rufous-tailed Robin.
An inconspiscuous species with few records in the Hanoi area (mostly in November), but likely to be under-recorded.

Male White-tailed Robin.
This species is assumed to be a montane resident, although there is evidence of some movements (not only altitudinal ones) during the non-breeding season.

Female White-tailed Robin
She appeared few seconds in a bushy corner as I was waiting for Thrushes. Shutter speed 1/10s. Even with the help of a tripod, no miracle...

Male Himalayan Bluetail 

Large-billed Crow.
It shows a perfect plumage - especially no wear on the tip of the tail - so I assume it is a genuine bird and not an escapee or released individual.

2 males Japanese Thrush : one with a strong contrast between head and mantle/wings ; the other one (below) with almost no contrast. Why such a difference between 2 full adults individuals ? Different morphs/subspecies ?

"Hmm... let's see if there is not one or two plump worms here"

 I think it is a 1st winter Japanese Thrush

Blue Whistling Thrush of the black-billed migratory race caeruleus (a possible future split). A rather common passage migrant in the Hanoi area.

A bit of video around the toilets (Flycatcher + BIG flies) :

Sébastien Delonglée


  1. Great Niltava Pics and nice to see Thrushes again here!

  2. Yes Florian, but I begin to feel the first symptoms of the "Thrushes headache", a trouble you know well also ;)


  3. So nice and refreshing to read your posts - great pics of the robins too! Please keep on blogging!!!

  4. Large-billed Crow! Great record!


  5. I seen on your list you have the Great Tit listed. According to Robson it is not in Vietnam, but that the Japanese Tit (Parsus minor)is. I have been watching tits in both the Botanical Gradens and at Lenin Park and can't figure out if they are the Japanese or Grey Tit. I am an amateur so stand corrected if I'm wrong, but could anyone shed some more light on this. Which ones are fairly common in this area?