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

31 March 2015

White-browed Crake breeding in Hanoi

Although Craig Robson's guide mentions White-browed Crake as an "uncommon / locally common" resident southern species, occurring in Vietnam in Cochinchina, it was long known that they occur at least at Van Long Nature Reserve regularly. But in the swamp behind my house on Xuan Dieu in Hanoi they also occur. 

This is a shallow pond, oblong, but quite large, if all the time encroached upon by the surrounding houses. Part of it is used for floating vegetable cultivation, but the part behind my house is mostly covered in Water Hyacinth. In the autumn of 2013 I noticed White-browed Crake for the first time, but assumed it was a winter visitor. However, they have never left since. Quite vocal and territorial, there are now at least 4 pairs and already some time ago I thought one was an immature. But today we finally got definite proof of breeding. Two adults were balancing on the Water Hyacinths and when I checked with my binoculars why they were walking on top, rather than sneaking amongst, I noticed 3 small chicks, all covered in black down and still completely featherless, trying to make their way over the hyacinth leaves. Yes, White-browed Crake breeds in Hanoi!

Tom Kompier


  1. Hi Tom!

    That is nice to see the breeding of this species in Hanoi.

    Anyway, Robson, 2009 have also mentioned this species is resident in East Tonkin as well.

    Happy Birding!

    Hung Le

    1. Hi Hung Le,
      I guess I should use the later editions! Thanks for the update.

  2. I think I found one of these guys on the road between Rastaman pub and Chops restaurant. It was looking a bit disorientated so I caught it and put in down near the water's edge. Hopefully he'll be ok.

    Here are some pictures.