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

10 October 2013

Botanical Gardens (Hanoi) : Flycatcher number 18

This week, morning watches of the 3 or 4 city patches has been revealing large numbers of  Phylloscs - among them my first Dusky, Radde's and Sulphur-breasted of the season.

But the best bird of the week was a female Ficedula spotted at the Botanical Gardens, showing a rufescent tail, drooping wings and the peculiar habit of flicking tail constantly.
Other features: rufous-brown wings, mantle and below brownish-buff, paler throat, buffish eye-ring.

The darker pics (when the bird is in shadow) 
show the actual colour more accurately than the bright ones.

After a search on the OBCs image database, I confidently identified it as a female Slaty-blue Flycatcher, a lifer, a patch tick and the 18th  species* of ‘flycatcher’ (of the genera Rhinomyias, Muscicapa, Ficedula, Cyornis,  Cyanoptila, Eumyias and Culicicapa) being observed in the Botanical Gardens.

These bring the list of species (that I am aware of) being recorded in the 2 biggest downtown parks of Hanoi (Botanical Gardens + Lenin Park) to 115. Another recent patch tick was Common Hoopoe, spotted at Lenin Park by Tom Kompier, a Hanoi-based dragonfly/bird watcher who, hopefully, will post soon his sightings here ;)

The parks in Hanoi can turn up some real surprises in spring and autumn.  It’s not that these places are particularly maintained in any way to attract birds – with all the ‘grooming’, it’s the opposite – but a reflection of the fact that there are so few wooded area in/around the city (and so many birds migrating above it) that these places act as a real magnet for migrants.

* the 17 others are : Brown-chested Jungle Fly, Grey-headed Canary Fly, Dark-sided, Asian Brown, Brown-breasted, Ferruginous, Verditer, Yellow-rumped, Green-backed, Mugimaki, Taiga, Snowy-browed, Slaty-backed, Rufous-gorgeted, Blue-and-White sensu lato, Hainan Blue,  Chinese/Hill Blue (excluded : Fujian Niltava, Asian Paradise Fly, Black-caped Monarch).

The other surprise bird of the week was this Chestnut-crowned Warbler seen in an orchard at Hanoi, the first time I have seen this species so low down and presumably a migrant (altitudinal migrant I think - originating from as close as the mountains of northern Vietnam). A great bird for the city!


  1. Blimey another flycatcher for the Hanoi patch list! Great work Sebastien. Checking online and in Robson looks spot-on for a Slaty-blue. Now I wonder if I get a flight to Hanoi this morning ...

    All the best,


  2. Great work Sebastian!!!

    Fujian Niltava is more of a 'flycatcher' as than Grey-headed Canary Fly, so you may as well stick that in the list and go searching for number 20!