Technical Pre-trip diaries Travelogue Itinerary Packing List Birding Miscellaneous Links

Vietnam birding diary

Bill & Doreen Stair, March 7 - 30, 2001

The continuing saga of our year-long, theoretically low budget, RTW birding trip... Since independent travel in Vietnam can, apparently, be somewhat problematic, we upped the budget and booked everything through Mr. Viet of Vietnam Trading & Travel ( We got his name from Phil Benstead's trip report, and were very happy with his services - thank you, Phil. Our primary concern was to make sure we had drivers who knew where the parks actually were - many birders seem to have lost whole days trying to find Cat Tien. We ended up having Mr. Viet book all our accommodation, as well as the flight from Hanoi to Saigon, which he did in record time (we only e-mailed him five days before we arrived in Vietnam). It certainly made our trip relatively hassle-free. The only problems were the weather and our continuing inability to pin down the various Phylloscopus warblers flitting about.



Tam Dao

An inauspicious start to our Vietnam trip. Torrential rain, cold winds, and fog so dense you could scoop it up with a spoon, all conspire to prevent us seeing any of the spectacular birds which reside around Tam Dao. We cut this one short and head to Cuc Phuong ahead of schedule. The rivers of mist waterfalling down the side of the mountain was quite spectacular, however.

3/10/01 - 3/16/01

Cuc Phuong NP

Quite a lot of rain here as well, but enough clear spots to get some good birding in. Even during the rain it was possible to bird from the shelter of the accommodation building, watching the Sultan Tits feeding close by, or the flocks of Brown Hornbills overhead when the rain cleared at dusk.

Birds seen at Cuc Phuong: Silver Pheasant, White-throated & Common Kingfishers, Greater Flameback, Lesser Yellownape, Rufous & Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpeckers, Brown Hornbill, Green-eared & Red-vented  Barbets, Silver-backed Needletail, Lesser Coucal, Green-billed Malkoha, Hoopoe, Long-tailed & Silver-breasted Broadbills, Blue-winged Leafbird, White-bellied Pigeon, Black Eagle, Grey-backed Shrike, Green Magpie, Ratchet-tailed Treepie, Great Iora, Large & Black-winged Cuckooshrikes, Long-tailed & Scarlet Minivets, Black & Greater Racket-tailed Drongos, Grey-backed & Japanese Thrushes, Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike, Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher, Hainan Blue Flycatcher, White-rumped Shama, Orange-flanked Bush-Robin, Oriental Magpie Robin, Stonechat, Sultan Tit, Hill Myna, Black, Red-whiskered, Stripe-throated & Puff-throated Bulbuls, Rufescent Prinia, Dark-necked Tailorbird, Japanese White-eye, Striped Tit-Babbler, Puff-throated Babbler, Rufous-throated & Black-browed Fulvettas, Striated & White-bellied Yuhinas, Black-throated, Crimson & Fork-tailed Sunbirds, Streaked Spiderhunter, Olive-backed Pipit, White Wagtail

3/19/01 - 3/23/01

Cat Tien NP

Good birding on the roads and trails just around the accommodation, and also a jeep ride away at the higher altitudes where the endemics occur. We should have hired the jeep more than once, but did find a pair of very docile Blue-rumped Pittas in lieu of the Peacock-pheasant.

Birds seen at Cat Tien: Chinese Pond Heron, Little, Intermediate & Cattle Egrets, Little (Striated) Heron, Osprey, Black Baza, Red Junglefowl, White-breasted Waterhen, Thick-billed & Green Imperial Pigeons, Spotted & Emerald Doves, Red-breasted Parakeet, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Oriental Cuckoo, Asian Koel, Green-billed Malkoha, Greater Coucal, Pied, Common & White-throated Kingfishers, Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters, Indian Roller, Dollarbird, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Red-vented & Lineated Barbets, White-browed Piculet, Greater Yellownape, Black and Red-broadbill, Blue-rumped Pitta, Asian Palm Swift, Silver-backed Needletail, Barn, Red-rumped & Pacific Swallows, Grey Wagtail, White-rumped Munia, Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike, Black-naped & Black-hooded Orioles, Racket-tailed Treepie, Large-billed Crow, Common & Great Ioras, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Golden-fronted Leafbird, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Black-crested, Stripe-throated, Streak-eared & Ochraceous Bulbuls, Scaly-crowned Babbler, Large Scimitar-Babbler, Striped Tit-Babbler, Chestnut-capped Babbler, White-crested Laughingthrush, Dark-necked Tailorbird, Rufescent Prinia, Oriental Magpie Robin, White-rumped Shama, Common Stonechat, Asian Brown & Red-throated Flycatchers, Brown Shrike, Vinous-breasted Starling, Golden-crested & Hill Myna, Ruby-cheeked, Olive-backed & Crimson Sunbirds, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker.

3/24/01, 3/26/01

Ho Tuyen Lam, Da Lat

This is a very confusing site, not made any easier by the fact that we were both quite ill when in Da Lat. The trail that we thought was the good one turned out to be virtually impassable, whereas the trail we were convinced was the wrong one (near the elephant ride place) had some great birds, notably a flock of Cutias.

Birds seen at Ho Tuyen Lam: Little Grebe, Bay Woodpecker, Greater Flameback, Moustached Barbet, Indian Roller, Spotted Dove, Osprey, Black Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Common Moorhen, Chinese Pond Heron, Burmese Shrike, Ashy & Greater Racket-tailed Drongos, Eurasian Jay, Large Cuckooshrike, Black-naped Oriole, Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike, Little Pied Flycatcher, White-throated Fantail, Grey Bushchat, Black-collared & Vinous-breasted Starling, Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, Green-backed & Black-throated Tits, Red-whiskered, Flavescent, Sooty-headed & Black Bulbuls, Plain Prinia, Cutia, Ashy Woodswallow, Little Spiderhunter.

3/25/01, 3/27/01

Mount Lang Bian, Da Lat

Avoid the weekends when hordes of Vietnamese kids arrive, carrying guitars and boomboxes.

Birds seen at Mount Lang Bian: Grey-headed & Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Black Eagle, Chinese Pond Heron, Long-tailed Minivet, Verditer & Little Pied Flycatchers, Grey Bushchat, Red-whiskered & Black Bulbuls, Eurasian Jay, Vietnamese Greenfinch, Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, Green-backed Tit, Ashy-throated & White-tailed Leaf Warblers, Rufous-capped Babbler, Gould's Sunbird.


Vietnam species list

Little Grebe

Tachybaptus ruficollis

Little Egret

Egretta garzetta

Intermediate Egret

Ardea intermedia

Cattle Egret

Bubulcus ibis

Chinese Pond Heron

Ardeola bacchus

Little/Striated Heron

Butorides striatus


Pandion haliaetus

Black Baza

Aviceda leuphotes

Crested Serpent-Eagle

Spilornis cheela

Black Eagle

Ictinaetus malayensis

Red Junglefowl

Gallus gallus

Silver Pheasant

Lophura nycthemera

White-breasted Waterhen

Amaurornis phoenicurus

Common Moorhen (Florida/Common Gallinule)

Gallinula chloropus

Rock Dove

Columba livia

Spotted Dove

Streptopelia chinensis

Emerald Dove

Chalcophaps indica

Thick-billed Green-Pigeon

Treron curvirostra

White-bellied Green-Pigeon

Treron sieboldii

Green Imperial Pigeon

Ducula aenea

Vernal Hanging-Parrot

Loriculus vernalis

Red-breasted Parakeet

Psittacula alexandri

Oriental Cuckoo

Cuculus saturatus

Asian Koel

Eudynamys scolopacea

Green-billed Malkoha

Phaenicophaeus tristis

Greater Coucal

Centropus sinensis

Lesser Coucal

Centropus bengalensis

Silver-backed Needletail

Hirundapus cochinchinensis

Asian Palm Swift

Cypsiurus balasiensis

House Swift

Apus nipalensis

Indian Roller

Coracias benghalensis


Eurystomus orientalis

Common Kingfisher

Alcedo atthis

White-throated Kingfisher

Halcyon smyrnensis

Pied Kingfisher

Ceryle rudis

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater

Merops leschenaulti

Oriental Pied Hornbill

Anthracoceros albirostris

Brown Hornbill

Anorrhinus tickelli

Eurasian Hoopoe

Upupa epops

White-browed Piculet

Sasia ochracea

Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker

Dendrocopos canicapillus

Rufous Woodpecker

Celeus brachyurus

Lesser Yellownape

Picus chlorolophus

Greater Yellownape

Picus flavinucha

Grey-headed Woodpecker

Picus canus

Greater Flameback

Chrysocolaptes lucidus

Bay Woodpecker

Blythipicus pyrrhotis

Red-vented Barbet

Megalaima lagrandieri

Lineated Barbet

Megalaima lineata

Green-eared Barbet

Megalaima faiostricta

Moustached Barbet

Megalaima incognita

Blue-rumped Pitta

Pitta soror

Black-and-red Broadbill

Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos

Silver-breasted Broadbill

Serilophus lunatus

Long-tailed Broadbill

Psarisomus dalhousiae

Eurasian Jay

Garrulus glandarius

Green Magpie

Cissa chinensis

Racket-tailed Treepie

Crypsirina temia

Ratchet-tailed Treepie

Temnurus temnurus

Large-billed Crow

Corvus macrorhynchos

Large Cuckooshrike

Coracina macei

Black-winged Cuckooshrike

Coracina melaschistos

Ashy Woodswallow

Artamus fuscus

Black-naped Oriole

Oriolus chinensis

Black-Hooded Oriole

Oriolus xanthornus

Long-tailed Minivet

Pericrocotus ethologus

Scarlet Minivet

Pericrocotus flammeus

Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike

Hemipus picatus

White-throated Fantail

Rhipidura albicollis

Black Drongo

Dicrurus macrocercus

Ashy Drongo

Dicrurus leucophaeus

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

Dicrurus paradiseus

Common Iora

Aegithina tiphia

Great Iora

Aegithina lafresnayei

Asian Fairy-bluebird

Irena puella

Blue-winged Leafbird

Chloropsis cochinchinensis

Brown Shrike

Lanius cristatus

Burmese Shrike

Lanius collurioides

Grey-backed Shrike

Lanius tephronotus

Grey-backed Thrush

Turdus hortulorum

Japanese Thrush

Turdus cardis

Asian Brown Flycatcher

Muscicapa dauurica

Red-breasted/Red-throated Flycatcher

Ficedula/Muscicapa parva

Little Pied Flycatcher

Ficedula westermanni

Verditer Flycatcher

Eumyias thalassina

Golden-crested Myna

Ampeliceps coronatus

Hill Myna

Gracula religiosa

Black-collared Starling

Sturnus nigricollis

Vinous-breasted Starling

Sturnus burmannicus

Hainan Blue Flycatcher

Cyornis hainanus

Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher

Culicicapa ceylonensis

Orange-flanked Bush Robin/Red-flanked Bluetail

Tarsiger cyanurus

Oriental Magpie-Robin

Copsychus saularis

White-rumped Shama

Copsychus malabaricus

Common Stonechat

Saxicola torquata

Grey Bushchat

Saxicola ferrea

Chestnut-vented Nuthatch

Sitta nagaensis

Black-throated Tit

Aegithalos concinnus

Barn Swallow

Hirundo rustica

Pacific Swallow

Hirundo tahitica

Red-rumped Swallow

Hirundo daurica

Black-crested Bulbul

Pycnonotus melanicterus

Red-whiskered Bulbul

Pycnonotus jocosus

Sooty-headed Bulbul

Pycnonotus aurigaster

Stripe-throated Bulbul

Pycnonotus finlaysoni

Flavescent Bulbul

Pycnonotus flavescens

Streak-eared Bulbul

Pycnonotus blanfordi

Puff-throated Bulbul

Alophoixus pallidus

Ochraceous Bulbul

Alophoixus ochraceus

Black Bulbul

Hypsipetes leucocephalus

Rufescent Prinia

Prinia rufescens

Plain Prinia

Prinia inornata

Japanese White-eye

Zosterops japonicus

Common Tailorbird

Orthotomus sutorius

Dark-necked Tailorbird

Orthotomus atrogularis

Ashy-throated Warbler

Phylloscopus maculipennis

White-tailed Leaf-Warbler

Phylloscopus davisoni

White-crested Laughingthrush

Garrulax leucolophus

Puff-throated Babbler

Pellorneum ruficeps

Scaly-crowned Babbler

Malacopteron cinereum

Large Scimitar Babbler

Pomatorhinus hypoleucos

Rufous-capped Babbler

Stachyris ruficeps

Striped Tit-Babbler

Macronous gularis

Chestnut-capped Babbler

Timalia pileata


Cutia nipalensis

Rufous-throated Fulvetta

Alcippe rufogularis

Black-browed Fulvetta

Alcippe grotei

Striated Yuhina

Yuhina castaniceps

White-bellied Yuhina

Yuhina zantholeuca

Green-backed Tit

Parus monticolus

Sultan Tit

Melanochlora sultanea

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

Dicaeum cruentatum

Ruby-cheeked Sunbird

Anthreptes singalensis

Olive-backed Sunbird

Nectarinia jugularis

Mrs. Gould's Sunbird

Aethopyga gouldiae

Fork-tailed Sunbird

Aethopyga christinae

Black-throated Sunbird

Aethopyga saturata

Crimson Sunbird

Aethopyga siparaja

Little Spiderhunter

Arachnothera longirostra

Streaked Spiderhunter

Arachnothera magna

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Passer montanus

White Wagtail

Motacilla alba

Grey Wagtail

Motacilla cinerea

Olive-backed Pipit

Anthus hodgsoni

White-rumped Munia

Lonchura striata

Vietnamese Greenfinch

Carduelis monguilloti

Forward to Malaysia birding diary
Back to Thailand birding diary
Back to Birding pages
Back to Home