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

16 November 2016

Some Amur Falcons passing over Hanoi City

The Amur Falcon has one of the longest raptor migrations, but is also unique because it flies a long distance over the sea. It is a trans-equatorial long-distance migrant that moves from its breeding grounds in Mongolia, the south Russian Far East, northeast China and North Korea all the way to its wintering grounds in southern Africa, and back every year! 

Recently I spotted some individuals at Hanoi : a flock of 5-6 at dusk on 12th Nov. (catching dragonflies, very likely Pantala flavescens), 2 at noon on 15th gliding high up in the sky, 1 perched on a wire at dawn on 16th , 2 perched on a wire on 19th.

We have relatively few records of Amur Falcons at Hanoi. Just need more skywatching sessions - anyone interested ?

An adult female sits on a wire above open grasslands at dawn - Hanoi, 16th November 2016.
Poor pictures, heavily cropped but... taken at short distance (ca 15m)! I found this confiding bird as I was looking for insects, which means no 400mm lens in the bag but only the 100mm macro.... argh!!!

More  records of Amur Falcons, from Tom Kompier and Vesa Jouhki (many thanks to them for sharing their sightings):

Tom Kompier:
14-11-2016 Hanoi (1 ind.)
13-11-2016 Cao Bang (1)
12-11-2016 Bac Kan (4)
14-05-2016 Quang Binh (1)
10-04-2016 Tam Dao (1)
16-10-2016 Phu Tho (3)
15-10-2016 Phu Tho (200)
16-05-2016 Lai Chau (40)
15-11-2014 North-West (5)
09-11-2014 Phu Tho (100)
08-11-2014 Hanoi (2)
09-04-2014 Tam Dao (4)
20-10-2013 Phu Tho (14)

Vesa Jouhki:
1-11-2016 Dien Bien Phu (100)

Have a look at this map showing some tracked flyways, and see what an astounding achievement this is:
 @copyright Birdlife South Africa


  1. I participated in a tourist tour in Vietnam (Hanoi, Along Bay, Hoi An, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Tre).
    No time for a birdwatching day (a pity?) .

    I saw in a park in Ho Chi Minh City, 3 kinds of squirrel:
    - A big one grey (like Eastern Grey Squirrel in USA)?
    - A small one grey with a little tail?
    - A small one with strips on the back: a Tamiops but which one?

    I saw also a big one grey in Hanoi (Ho Chi Minh park)?

    I saw a macaque in Along Bay: which one is it?

    Thank you

    Alain Pataud


  2. Hey,
    Just returned from Xuan Thuy . Spotted an Amur falcon by the fish dock.
    There were apparently 40 of them last week.
    I'm from Hanoi. Hit me up if any birders around.


  3. Hi there! I recently had 3 weeks in vietnam and am stumped on a type of kingfisher I saw in Ha Long Bay, I was hoping someone may be able to help me? I have one pretty bad photo of him but a very good description. Thank you!


  4. Hi, In Thanh Hoa City for a year. Would love to get some help with identification.

  5. My husband and I are visiting our son in HCMC until March 6. We would be interested in birding locally with an English-speaking birder. Contact us at: rdrdr@bresnan.net