One hour in the grounds of the Botanical Gardens, Hanoi, at noon on Monday 15 September in bright, sunny conditions produced quality but not much quantity.
Whilst checking some places known to attract migrants I flushed a passerine perched at eye-level, which I assumed would be a common flycatcher (Taiga or Asian Brown), but the bird looked quite large. When I got the binoculars on it I was more than happy to identify a adult Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, one of the species that had inspired me to keep plugging away at the city parks after the 2nd Vietnam’s record (but the 1st one of an alive individual) in September 2010 by Florian Klingel, at the Botanical Gardens also.
This is a regular and not so uncommon passage migrant at Hanoi - to my knowledge around 15 records (with an obvious peak in autumn 2010 due to a good number of Hanoi based birders) and all these records, except one, on autumn passage.
Incredibly, this species is currently unrecorded in Vietnam outside of Hanoi (Mahood & al., 2013) !!! With the exception of 2 sightings in a suburban orchard, all the birds have been spotted in Downtown Hanoi !
It is a sluggish, unobtrusive forest interior species. The open structure of vegetation in the parks renders typically skulking species such as jungle-flycatchers relatively easy to detect. Brown-chested Jungle-flycatcher passes through Hanoi during a relatively short window centered on September. It spends the non-breeding season in southern Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore (Mahood & al., 2013).
It is considered uncommon and localised within its breeding grounds in south-east China, and this has likely contributed to its listing as Vulnerable (BirdLife International 2012).
This guy often perched quite low, sitting very still for minutes and scrutinizing the ground for insects.
An adult - 1st winter bird shows dark lower mandible-tip