Welcome to Vietnam Bird News

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

16 March 2014

Red River Island - Hanoi

Today (march 16) started misty and I (Tom Kompier) decided not to go to Tam Dao, but instead headed for Red River Island, 15 minutes walking from my home. It was a good choice and the place was full of migrants. 

There were many warblers in the trees, most Yellow-browed, Pallas's Leaf and Blyth's Leaf, with a Dusky thrown in here and there. Another common bird was Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher, but there were also 3-4 Verditer, 2 male Hill Blue, 2 female and 1 male Hainan Blue and a female Fujian Niltava. 
While making my way at the tip of the peninsula, slowly going through the bushes, I flushed an owl, clearly Barn/Grass, but with dark underwing coverts, so apparently Grass. But I could not spend a lot of time on it, as my attention was caught by various tucking sounds. A beautiful Rufous-tailed Robin and very close by it, a female-type Lesser Shortwing! The first I had heard singing already, but the other came as a real surprise. Talking about sculking birds, once 3 and once a single Barred Buttonquail was not unexpected, but flushing first 2 and later 1 Japanese Quail was. Two Lanceolated Warblers flew from under my feet on two separate occasions, but showing well when they perched a little further on, and a Black-browed Reed Warbler was another nice find. The Siberian Rubythroats where singing a little shyly still, but were common, and both Japanese 'canturians' Bush Warbler and Pale-footed Bush Warblers were singing left and right. Spring! 
A beautiful male Pied Harrier hunted around the island, showing incredibly well. Two black-eared Kites soared overhead. The two Masked Laughing Thrushes that have been frequenting the island were still there too. And leaving I flushed two larks near the foot-bridge. One was clearly Oriental Skylark, but the other was puzzling, in that it was much lighter in coloration and had a white trailing edge to the wing. But it hid in the grass and when it appeared again, it flew off into the distance…

Here is a summary:

Barred Buttonquail 4
Japanese Quail 3
Common Kingfisher
Plaintive Cuckoo
Grass Owl 1
Spotted Dove 2
White-breasted Waterhen
Little Ringed Plover 2
Pied Harrier 1
Black-eared Kite 2-3
White-throated Fantail 1
Blackbird 1
Grey-backed Thrush 3
Verditer Flycatcher 3-4
Fujian Niltava 1
Hainan Blue Flycatcher 3
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher
Hill Blue Flycatcher 2
Rufous-tailed Robin 2-3
Siberian Rubythroat 15-20
Lesser Shortwing 1
Red-flanked Bluetail 1
Siberian Stonechat 
Daurian Redstart 1
Barn Swallow 2
Red-rumped Swallow 1
Japanese White-eye 
Sooty-headed Bulbul 
Red-whiskered Bulbul 
Light-vented Bulbul 
Yellow-bellied Prinia
Plain Prinia
Zitting Cisticola
Japanese Bush Warbler (canturians) 4
Pale-footed Bush Warbler 6
Lanceolated Warbler 2
Black-browed Reed Warbler 1
Common Tailorbird 
Dusky Warbler 
Pallas's Leaf Warbler
Yellow-browed Warbler
Blyth's Leaf Warbler
Grey-crowned Warbler 3
Masked Laughing Thrush 2
Oriental Skylark 1 (+?)
Paddyfield Pipit 
Richard's Pipit 
Olive-backed Pipit 
Red-throated Pipit 
White Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
Oriental Greenfinch
Eurasian Tree Sparrow


  1. Wow... great list, congratulations!

    Your Lesser Shortwing reminds me of a sighting 2 years ago in the same area. Just a glimpse but I never forgot. At this time I thought I was hallucinating, but now...

    Grass Owl: 1 successful breeding pair in the island 2 years ago. Happy to learn they are still hanging around despite the habitat destruction.


  2. It was very good choice, many birds passing migrant there. Congratulation!
    Could you show me which island because there are many islands along the river? If it's possible, please marking on map then send me to tienpitta@gmail.com.

    Many thanks.

    Bui Duc Tien

    Note: The way to Tam Dao II now is impossible to go in because they are building a wider road so they forbid going in.