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Susan Myers reports from Vietnam



May 15: Susan Myers reports from Vietnam

Once again, the Vietnam tour exceeded expectations, showcasing diverse birdlife, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural encounters. Beginning in Hanoi and ending in Saigon, each step revealed varied ecosystems, picturesque vistas, and fabulous birds. Our journey southward started at Cuc Phuong, Vietnam's premier national park, established in 1960, and led to remarkable bird sightings amidst limestone karst mountains and verdant valleys. Exploring Van Long Nature Reserve, we marvelled at its labyrinthine waterways and diverse bird species. Phong Nha, with its vast karst system and caves, provided sightings of elusive birds like the Sooty Babbler. In Khe Sanh area, site of an historic battle, we spotted many excellent birds, including Silver-eared Mesia and Black-crowned Barwing, and pursued the elusive Rufous-cheeked Laughingthrushes. Ngoc Linh offered sightings of Grey-bellied Tesia and Brown-crowned Scimitar-Babbler, while Yok Don showcased a mosaic of forests with species like the Black-headed Woodpecker. Di Linh’s unique fauna included the Blue Pitta and Bar-backed Partridge. Cat Tien National Park provided a finale with diverse habitats and remarkable bird sightings, rewarding us with encounters with endemic species like the Germain’s Peacock-Pheasant and Indochinese Green Magpie. From vibrant cities to remote villages, Vietnam offered an unforgettable birding experience, showcasing its rich biodiversity and natural wonders.

Black-breasted Thrush (female)
A widespread but uncommon and shy forest floor dweller, this thrush is very reliably seen in Cuc Phuong NP in North Vietnam where we begin our tour.

Fujian Niltava
This non-breeding migrant to Vietnam is a shy and unobtrusive forest dweller that we were very lucky to observe in N Vietnam.

Puff-throated Babbler
Although common and widespread throughout much of Asia, it’s always a delight to see this, and hear, this lovely little babbler whose favourite food is cockroaches! 

Indochinese Green Magpie
This captivating corvid is always a big hit! Although found in China and parts of Thailand, it’s most reliably found in Vietnam.

Blue Pitta
The Blue Pitta population in Vietnam and Laos, isolated from other populations, has led to the emergence of an endemic subspecies known as willoughby, distinguished by the distinct blush of red adorning its breast.

Collared Laughingthrush
Even amongst the wonderful laughingthrushes, the endemic Collared Laughingthrush stands out as a real beauty!

Germain’s Peacock-Pheasant
Germain’s Peacock-Pheasant, a shy ground-dweller, is found only in South Vietnam and just into Cambodia. Although typically considered rare elsewhere, it thrives in Cat Tien National Park, where it is happily still quite common.

Indochinese Blue Flycatcher
Despite its widespread presence throughout Southeast Asia, the charming Indochinese Blue Flycatcher never fails to be a welcome sight wherever it is found.

Scaly-breasted Partridge
The population of Scaly-breasted Partridge we encountered in South Vietnam is sometimes spilt as Green-legged Partridge.

Bar-bellied Pitta
Surely one of the most stunning birds in the world!

Posted: May 15, 2024