A report of the birds seen during a two and a half week trip to three sites in North Vietnam and one in Central Vietnam between 13th April and 2nd May 2001.
A comprehensive report covering the sites visited key species seen, travel and accommodation details and a complete checklist of birds recorded.
Since opening its doors to tourism in the mid 1990's, Vietnam has become an increasingly popular destination for birding.
Three of us took part in the trip, John Gregory (JG), Mark Sutton (MS) and myself (JW). JG and MS are very experienced South East Asia birders while I have only ever been to the region once before. This is reflected in the species list seen individually!
JG and MS had already booked their flights through Wildwings (Swiss Air £620) by the time I decided to tag along. I tried unsuccessfully to book myself onto the flight, also through Wildwings a few weeks later, but they had sold all their tickets in the similar price bracket. Consequently, I booked onto the same flight through Trailfinders in Manchester and ended up paying around £690. It must be noted that our trip did coincide with the Easter Holidays ( our departure date was Good Friday ) and it wouldn't be hard to find much cheaper flights at other times of the year.
For all our travel arrangements in Vietnam, we used Mr Viet and his organisation, Vietnam Travel. He booked us internal flights and also mini buses to and from the major sites, he can also book or recommend hotels in the major cities. We found this service to be absolutely excellent, although obviously a lot more expensive than if you use public transport.
For myself the cost of the whole trip was approx £1400, but this did include three internal flights and we treated ourselves to relatively luxurious three star hotels in the major cities.
I have not included any maps in this report for the reason that I am not very good at drawing them!! There are excellent maps in some of the other easily available reports, and my scrawlings would only confuse the issue!!
HEALTH & MONEY
We all had the major immunisations to visit Vietnam, seek advice through your GP. We were all separately advised to ensure we took preventative steps against Malaria. JG and MS both took Doxycyclin and I took Larium. None of us suffered any health problems at all which could be attributed in any way to taking these drugs. In fact I was the only one who suffered any sort of problem, a minor stomach upset at Tam Dao for one night and the following morning. All three of us took money in the form of American Dollars and changed some to Vietnamese Dong on arrival in the airport. We didn't have any problems with people preferring one currency or the other.
13/04/01: Departure from Manchester Airport in the afternoon via Zurich and Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City ( Saigon ).
14/04/01: Arrived Ho Chi Minh in evening and stayed in 3 star Palace Hotel.
15/04/01: 7am flight from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi where we met up with JG's wife Jane and dumped our bags in the lobby of her hotel. Spent part of the afternoon birding in Hanoi Botanical Gardens. It must be mentioned that to get here we hailed a taxi driven by a driver with two significant professional flaws - he couldn't drive, and he didn't have a clue where he was going, apparently not unusual in the Hanoi taxi driving fraternity! The gardens themselves had quite a few birds, seemingly on passage; Yellow browed and Eastern crowned, Radde's and Arctic Warblers, Olive Backed Pipit, Red Throated, Asian Brown and Yellow Rumped Flycatchers, Japanese White Eye, Black Winged Cuckoo Shrike, White Throated Fantail, Great Tit and Tree Sparrow. We also saw three of four finches here, but due to their height in the trees, we had to leave them unidentified.
That night, we took the overnight train to Lao Chai, arranged by Mr Viet. The only complaint we could have against him, was that we requested tickets in a sleeper compartment and when we got to the train, we found they were for the seats. This cost us an extra 350000 VND each to get us into sleepers. I will never know if this was official or a bribe, but there were certainly two incredibly irate Vietnamese in my and MS's cabin that night, probably because we had their beds! If you are booking, it would be a good idea to make certain you specify exactly what sort of tickets you want.
16/04/01: Arrived Lao Chai early am after a relatively sleepless night on the train to be met by a mini bus which took us up to the beautiful town of Sa Pa. Here we booked into the excellent Auberge Hotel ( $20 per night ) and sorted out our return train tickets. Spent late morning / early afternoon birding the Ham Rong gardens which overlook the town. Bird density in the semi-cultivated gardens is low, but they are most definitely worth a look especially at peak migration times, we saw; Germain's Swiflet, Striated Swallow, OBP, Brown Breasted Bulbul, Siberian Stonechat, Grey Bushchat, Blue Rock Thrush, Brownish Flanked Bush Warbler, Bianchi's Warbler ( recently split from the Golden Spectacled group ) Mountain Tailorbird, Yellow Browed & Eastern Crowned Warblers, Red Throated Flycatcher, Verditer, Small Niltava, Spectacled Barwing, Blue Winged Minla, White Collared Yuhina, Vinous Throated Parrotbill, Black Throated Tit, Black Throated Sunbird, Black Headed Greenfinch, Little Bunting.
In the evening we arranged, through the hotel, for a jeep and driver to take us up towards the Tram Ton pass for a evening checking out the areas for birding the next day. This gave us chance to have a quick spot of birding by the two waterfalls 2-3 kms after the pass, where we managed to catch up with Plumbeous Water Redstart and the beautiful, White Capped Water Redstart.
17/04/01: Spent the early morning birding from the road a couple of kms below the pass surrounded by relatively decent forest. We stopped off by the large waterfall on the way up and scored Little Forktail from the steps to the left of the fall. Other species recorded from the road were; ( h in brackets means heard only ) Large Hawk & Plaintive Cuckoos (h), Grey Nightjar, Pacific Swift, OBP, Long Tailed Minivet, Hill Prinia, Mountain Tailorbird, Dusky Warbler, White Tailed Leaf Warbler, Peking Robin, Spectacled Barwing, Blue Winged Minla, Golden Breasted Fulvetta, Whiskered Yuhina, Yellow Cheeked Tit, Mrs Gould's Sunbird, Common Rosefinch.
The next site visited was the degraded forest just below the pass. This can be accessed by parking by two wooden houses viewable from the road ( on the left on the way up ) just below the pass and following the obvious trails off through the bamboo. After the bamboo you enter a couple of kms of decent forest and then you come to a large cleared area, if you cross over this there is access to other areas of degraded forest just beyond. Species recorded from this area were; Grey Bellied Tesia, Red Throated Flycatcher, Snowy Browed Flycatcher, Chestnut Tailed & Red Tailed Minlas, Stripe Throated Yuhina, Black Throated Tit, White Tailed Nuthatch.
This area is very frustrating, from the road it looks like a large area of untouched forest, when you actually get in, you realise it is very badly degraded. It was like looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, you can see decent forest, you just can't get into it!!
The final site visited in the late afternoon / evening was the site we christened KM8. To find it, look for a large white house on the right of the road before a sharp left hand bend about 8km up from Sa Pa. The house is to the right of a driveable rough track with two large white signs on the left of the track. Follow the track for a couple of kms and you start to come into some relatively good forest. Stop here and walk down the track. The fields either side of the track can hold a few species too; Mountain Bamboo Partridge, Large Hawk Cuckoo (h), Greater Coucal (h), White Vented Needletail, Pacific Swift, Great Barbet (h), White Crowned Forktail, Brownish Flanked Bush Warbler, Hill Prinia, Mountain Tailorbird, Rufous Capped Babbler, Peking Robin, Rusty Capped Fulvetta, Spot Breasted & Ashy Throated Parrotbill.
18/04/01: Birded KM8 from dawn to midday in the fog and cloud. Oriental & Large Hawk Cuckoos (h), Greater Coucal (h), White Vented Needletail, Golden Throated Barbet (h), Collared Finchbill, Brown Breasted Bulbul, Grey Bushchat, Mountain Tailorbird, Yellow Browed Warbler, Red Throated Flycatcher, White Throated Fantail, Small Niltava, White Browed Laughingthrush, Streak Breasted Scimitar Babbler, Rufous Capped Babbler, Spectacled Barwing, Peking Robin, Golden Breasted & Streak Throated Fulvetta, Spot Breasted Parrotbill, Mrs Gould's Sunbird, Tree Sparrow, Little Bunting.
The total cost of jeep and driver hire worked out at $89 for four trips.
The afternoon was spent doing a little sightseeing in Sa Pa, including buying a few things off the Black H'mong people who constantly try and press their goods everywhere you go in Sa Pa.
In the evening we were met by our mini bus and taken down to Lao Chai for the overnight train journey back to Hanoi.
19/03/01: When we arrived in Hanoi and got off the train, we realised that two bags had been stolen overnight, we had the door to our cabin locked all night, and we presume that someone leaned in through the open window at one of the stops and took the bags. MS was particularly unlucky, all his optics, sound equipment and video camera were in his bag. Make sure that you stash everything out of site under the bottom bunks or in the overhead cupboards!!!
We were met by another mini bus driver who took us to sort out the losses with the authorities in Hanoi, he then took us on a tour of camera shops / department stores to see if MS could buy himself a decent pair of bins. We finally left Hanoi at about 10 am to arrive at Cuc Phuong National Park for 12.30 pm. We booked ourselves in at the HQ and sorted out the food and accommodation for our stay at Bong Substation, we had been warned that food here can be a bit dodgy, but we found it perfectly adequate. Luckily for MS there just happened to be a group of British birders departing who we know well, one of them kindly lent him a pair of bins for the rest of the trip. We swapped info on sightings and which rooms to avoid due to the rats, dropped off our gear and headed for the trails. JW and MS did the valley trail, JG headed off up the loop trail. Birds recorded as follows; Crested Serpent Eagle (h), Scaly Breasted Partridge (h), Red Junglefowl (h), Thick Billed Green Pigeon, Indian Cuckoo (h), White Vented Needletail, Red Headed Trogon, Green Eared Barbet, Bay Woodpecker, Bar Bellied Pitta (h), Blue Rumped Pitta (h), OBP, Forest Wagtail, Light Vented, Stripe Throated, Black Crested & Red Whiskered Bulbuls, Fairy Bluebird, Plain Prinia, Maroon Oriole, Arctic & Yellow Browed Warblers, Narcissus & Red Throated Flycatchers, Black Naped Monarch, White Crested Laughingthrush (h), Grey Throated Babbler, Striped Tit Babbler, Buff Breasted Babbler, White Bellied Yuhina, Ashy & Crow Billed Drongos, Green Billed Malkoha, Hill Myna.
20/04/01: We spent the morning birding from the road and in the afternoon we split up, I did the road again, JG and MS started out from opposite ends of the loop trail; Chinese Pond Heron, Black Baza, Crested Serpent Eagle, Shikra, Crested Goshawk, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Black Eagle, Scaly Breasted Partridge (h), Red Junglefowl (h), Thick Billed Green Pigeon, Indian & Drongo Cuckoos (h), Asian Koel (h), Green Billed Malkoha, Mountain Scops Owl (h), Spot Bellied Eagle Owl, Collared Owlet (h), Needletail sp, Red Headed Trogon, Black Backed Kingfisher, Blue Tailed Bee Eater, Dollarbird, Red Vented Barbet, Bay Woodpecker, Greater Yellownape, Lesser Yellownape, Long Tailed Broadbill, Bar Bellied Pitta, Blue Rumped Pitta, OBP, Long Tailed Minivet, Stripe Throated, Puff Throated & Black Bulbuls, Fairy Bluebird, Magpie Robin, White Rumped Shama, Plain Prinia, Yellow Browed & Yellow Bellied Warblers, Narcissus, Yellow Rumped & Red Throated Flycatchers, Small Niltava, Black Naped Monarch, Buff Breasted & Scaly Crowned Babblers, Limestone & Eye Browed Wren Babblers, Grey Throated & Striped Tit Babblers, Rufous Throated & Black Browed Fulvettas, White Bellied Yuhina, Fork Tailed & Olive Backed Sunbirds, Streaked Spiderhunter, Grey Backed Shrike, Crow Billed & Greater Racked Tailed Drongo, Green Magpie, Ratchet Tailed Treepie, Hill Myna. Also 3 Yellow Throated Martens.
21/04/01: Split up again in am, JW and JG started at opposite ends of loop, MS did the road. In pm, JW & MS did loop trail clearing to look for JG's Eagle Owl from night before. JG did the road. Changeable Hawk Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Oriental Hobby, Scaly Breasted Partridge (h), Thick Billed Green Pigeon, Indian Cuckoo, Banded Bay Cuckoo (h), Drongo Cuckoo, Asian Koel (h), Collared Owlet (h), Grey & Great Eared Nightjar, Needletail sp, Pacific Swift, Red Headed Trogon, Black Backed Kingfisher, Dollarbird, Red Vented & Green Eared Barbet, Silver Breasted Broadbill, Blue Rumped Pitta, Bar Bellied Pitta, OBP, Bar Winged Flycatcher Shrike, Black Crested, Red Whiskered, Light Vented, Puff Throated & Black Bulbul, Fairy Bluebird, Orange Bellied Leafbird, White Rumped Shama, White's Thrush, White Crowned Forktail, Plain Prinia, Common Tailorbird, Yellow Streaked Warbler, Hainan Blue Flycatcher, Black Naped Monarch, Buff Breasted, Limestone Wren, Eyebrowed Wren, Grey Throated & Striped Tit Babblers, Rufous Throated Fulvetta, White Bellied Yuhina, Sultan Tit, Crimson & Olive Backed Sunbirds, Streaked Spiderhunter, Maroon & Black Naped Oriole, Crow Billed Drongo, Ratchet Tailed Treepie, Hill Myna.
22/04/01: Split up again and variously did the road and loop trail, birding hampered by rain and low cloud, species seen today as follows. Pied Falconet, Scaly Breasted Partridge (h), Grey Peacock Pheasant (h), Thick Billed Pigeon, Drongo Cuckoo, Asian Koel, Collared Owlet, Needletail sp, Black Capped Kingfisher, Dollarbird, Brown Hornbill (h), Red Vented Barbet, Green Eared Barbet, Greater Yellownape, Lesser Yellownape, Bay Woodpecker, Grey Capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Silver Breasted Broadbill, Long Tailed Broadbill, Bar Bellied Pitta (h), Forest Wagtail, Scarlet Minivet, Black Crested, Red Whiskered, Stripe Throated, Puff Throated & Black Bulbuls, Fairy Bluebird, White Rumped Shama, Oriental Magpie Robin, Siberian Stonechat, Plain & Rufescent Prinias, Golden Spectacled Warbler, Common Tailorbird, Yellow Streaked, Yellow Browed & White Tailed Leaf Warblers, Dark Sided, Brown, Yellow Rumped, Mugimaki & Red Throated Flycatchers, Buff Breasted, Scaly Crowned & Puff Throated Babblers, Limestone Wren Babbler, Striped Tit Babbler, Rufous Throated Fulvetta, White Bellied Yuhina, Sultan Tit, Olive Backed & Crimson Sunbirds, Streaked Spiderhunter, Maroon Oriole, Brown Shrike, Ashy, Crow Billed & Bronzed Drongos, Green Magpie, Hill Myna, Yellow Breasted Bunting.
23/04/01: Spent the morning birding the road together at Cuc Phuong, and were picked up by mini bus at midday for slow journey to Tam Dao, where we spent the early evening birding the start of the Water Tank Trail. Both sites were again afflicted by low cloud and rain making visibility poor, particularly at Tam Dao, although this seemed to have affected the birds and we appeared to land in the middle of a large fall of migrants. Hunting is a serious problem here, one of the first sites upon arriving was a grinning local waving a dead Lesser Coucal at us out of his window and we were only able to identify the Buttonquails we saw here by being shown a dead one by another local!!
Species logged on the final morning at Cuc Phuong as follows. Crested Goshawk, Pied Falconet, Scaly Breasted Partridge (h), Red Junglefowl (h), Thick Billed Pigeon, Indian Cuckoo (h), Collared Owlet (h), Dollarbird, Red Vented and Green Eared Barbets (h), Grey Capped Pygmy & Bay Woodpeckers, Greater Yellownape, Bar Bellied Pitta, Barn Swallow, OBP, Forest Wagtail, Black Crested, Red Whiskered, Puff Throated & Black Bulbuls, Common Iora, Yellow Rumped , Hainan Blue & Asian Paradise Flycatchers, Scaly Crowned & Grey Throated Babblers, Striped Tit Babbler, Rufous Throated Fulvetta, White Browed Yuhina, Streaked Spiderhunter, Maroon Oriole, Ashy, Crow Billed, Black & Greater Racket Tailed Drongos, Hill Myna.
Birds recorded at Tam Dao in the evening: Chinese Pond Heron, Hen Harrier, Asian Koel, Greater Coucal, Lesser Coucal, Mountain Scops Owl (h), Black & Chestnut Bulbuls, Blue Rock Thrush, Rufescent Prinia, Brown Flycatcher, Silver Eared Mesia, Oriolus sp, Brown Shrike.
24/04/01 Spent morning birding on the Water Tank Trail, rain and low cloud were again a problem, but again did seem to produce a large fall of migrants. Leeches were also very common here, but a good dose of mosquito repellent ( Jungle Formula containing 50% DEET ) completely deterred a full scale attack!! Be very careful walking this trail, in the rain it can be extremely slippery with some long steep slopes off to the side. During our stay, a Dutch entomologist went missing while walking along here. We met his search party and were actively discouraged from going any further i.e. threatened!! Needless to say we let them walk on for a few minutes and then pressed on. Chinese Pond Heron, Yellow Legged Buttonquail, Large Hawk Cuckoo (h), Asian Koel, Lesser Coucal, Mountain Scops Owl (h), Collared Owlet (h), Indochinese Swiftlet, White Vented Needletail, Red Vented (h) & Golden Throated Barbets, Greater Yellownape, Rusty Naped Pitta, Blue Naped Pitta (h), OBP, Grey Chinned Minivet, Puff Throated, Chestnut & Black Bulbuls, Siberian Rubythroat, Siberian Blue Robin, Siberian Stonechat, Blue Rock Thrush, Rufescent Prinia, Bianchi's Warbler, Common Tailorbird, Raddes Warbler, Dark Sided & Yellow Rumped Flycatchers, Grey Laughingthrush, Spot Throated Babbler, Sreak Breasted & Red Billed Scimitar Babblers, Golden & Grey Throated Babblers, Striped Tit Babbler, White Hooded Babbler, Grey Cheeked Fulvetta, Striated, Black Chinned & White Bellied Yuhinas, Fork Tailed Sunbird, Brown & Tiger Shrikes, Thick Billed, Paddyfield & Blunt Winged Warblers.
25/04/01: I was laid up with a stomach upset, so left MS and JG to do the Water Tank Trail and see the Pitta!! Black Eagle, Thick Billed Green Pigeon (h), Large Hawk Cuckoo (h), Lesser Coucal, Mountain Scops Owl (h), Collared Owlet (h), White Vented Needletail, Red Vented Barbet (h), Greater Yellownape, Bay Woodpecker, White Browed Piculet, Blue Naped Pitta, OBP, Black Bulbul, Stub Tailed Bush Warbler (h), Streak Breasted Scimitar Babbler, Streaked Wren Babbler, Golden Babbler, Brown Shrike, Thick Billed Warbler, Yellow Legged Buttonquail, White Gorgetted Flycatcher.
Our mini bus arrived to collect us in the early afternoon and dropped us off for an overnight stay in Hanoi.
26/04/01: Took early morning flight to Hue where we were met by another mini bus to take us on the one and a half hour journey to Bach Ma. We booked accommodation and food again at the headquarters and were taken up to the accommodation near the summit of the mountain. There is still a lot of development going on here with a view to attracting more eco tourists. We had the late afternoon and early evening birding up the road, seeing the following.
Black Eagle, Large Hawk Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Mountain Scops Owl (h), Collared Owlet (h), Golden Throated Barbet, Red Headed Trogon, Barn Swallow, Whites Thrush, White Gorgetted Flycatcher, White Throated Fantail, Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush, Streak Breasted Scimitar Babbler, Golden Babbler, White Browed Shrike Babbler, Striated Yuhina, Ratchet Tailed Treepie, Black Throated Tit.
27/04/01: JW and MS spent the morning on the road and Five Lake Trail, JG got a lift for the 11km down to the Pheasant Trail. Spent the afternoon birding on the road, between us we recorded the following species. Crested Argus (h), Annam Partridge (h), Rufous Throated Partridge, Thick Billed Green Pigeon, Large Hawk Cuckoo (h), Common Cuckoo, Green Eared (h) & Golden Throated Barbets, Long Tailed Broadbill, OBP, Red Whiskered & Puff Throated Bulbuls, Leafbird sp, Slaty Backed Forktail, Grey Cheeked Warbler, Dark Necked Tailorbird, Pale Legged Leaf Warbler, White Gorgetted & Grey Headed Canary Flycatchers, White Throated Fantail, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Lesser Necklaced & Black Throated Laughingthrushes, Buff Breasted, Scaly Crowned & Golden Babblers, Striped Tit Babbler, White Browed Shrike Babbler, Striated & White Bellied Yuhinas, Indochinese Green Magpie, Ratchet Tailed & Racket Tailed Treepies, Red Headed Trogon.
28/04/01: JG spent the morning on the Five Lakes Trail, JW and MS got a lift down to the Pheasant Trail. We spent the afternoon on the road. Crested Argus (h), Large Hawk Cuckoo (h), Common Cuckoo, Mountain Scops Owl (h), Collared Owlet (h), Red Headed Trogon, Common Kingfisher, Golden Throated Barbet (h), Long Tailed Broadbill, Red Whiskered Bulbul, White's Thrush, Plain Prinia, Grey Cheeked Warbler, Grey Headed Canary & Blue Throated Flycatchers, Golden Babbler, Striated Yuhina, Crimson Sunbird, Ratchet Tailed Treepie, Blue Rumped Pitta, White Browed Scimitar Babbler, Indochinese Green Magpie.
29/04/01: Decided this would be our last day as we found out that this was the start of the weekend before Liberation Day and consequently the park would be incredibly busy. This proved to be very true, so we spent the first couple of hours of daylight birding the road before returning to Hue. Birds recorded as follows. Rufous Throated Partridge, Large Hawk Cuckoo (h), Common Cuckoo, Red Headed Trogon, Golden Throated Barbet (h), Long Tailed Broadbill, Blue Rumped Pitta, Grey Chinned Minivet, Red Whiskered Bulbul, Grey Cheeked Warbler, White Gorgetted & Blue Throated Flycatchers, Lesser Necklaced & Black Throated Laughingthrushes, White Browed Scimitar Babbler, Golden Babbler, Mountain Fulvetta, Sultan Tit, Ratchet Tailed Treepie, Eye Browed Thrush.
1. Yellow Legged Buttonquail - Up to 8, probably passage birds on the on the water tank trail Tam Dao.
2. Rufous Throated Partridge - 6 identified at Bach Ma.
3. Partridge sp - 5 indeterminate "Arborphilas" at Bach Ma. A call resembling Bar Backed heard at Bach Ma, when played to Rufous Throated produced no response.
4. Scaly Breasted Partridge - Heard commonly at Cuc Phuong.
5. Annam Partridge - Heard on the pheasant trail at Bach Ma.
6. Mountain Bamboo Partridge - 2 flushed preceding a heavy storm on the KM8 trail at Sa Pa.
7. Red Junglefowl - Commonly heard at Cuc Phuong. None seen.
8. "Lophura" Pheasants - 2 female birds surprised at Bach Ma gave inconclusive views.
9. Grey Peacock Pheasant - Heard on 2 dates at Cuc Phuong.
10. Crested Argus - Commonly heard around the pheasant trail at Bach Ma. Also heard from below KM 14. None seen. You would need a lot of luck to see this species from the pheasant trail!!
11. White Browed Piculet - Singles seen at Tam Dao & Bach Ma.
12. Grey Capped Pygmy Woodpecker - Small numbers recorded at Cuc Phuong.
13. Lesser Yellownape - 2 seen at Cuc Phuong.
14. Greater Yellownape - Small numbers at Cuc Phuong & 2 seen at Tam Dao.
15. Bay Woodpecker - Common at Cuc Phuong & recorded at Tam Dao.
16. Great Barbet - Commonly heard calling from high forests at Sa Pa. None seen.
17. Red Vented Barbet - Commonly heard and seen at Cuc Phuong & heard only at Tam Dao.
18. Green Eared Barbet - Commonly heard and seen at Cuc Phuong & heard only at Bach Ma.
19. Golden Throated Barbet - Common at Bach Ma.
20. Red Headed Trogon - Common at Cuc Phuong and Bach Ma.
21. Blue Tailed Bee Eater - 20+ Presumably passage birds recorded from Cuc Phuong.
22. Common Kingfisher - A few birds recorded "en route" plus one seen on the pheasant trail river section at Bach Ma.
23. Black Backed Kingfisher - Up to 5 seen at Cuc Phuong including 1 rescued from the canteen after flying into a window!!!
24. White Throated Kingfisher - Seen "en route".
25. Black Capped Kingfisher - 1 at Cuc Phuong.
26. Large Hawk Cuckoo - Commonly heard at Sa Pa, Tam Dao & Bach Ma. 2 birds seen at Tam Dao & 1 seen at Bach Ma.
27. Indian Cuckoo - Several heard & one or two seen at Cuc Phuong. 1 heard on pheasant trail at Bach Ma.
28. Eurasian Cuckoo - Common at Bach Ma.
29. Oriental Cuckoo - Heard at Sa Pa and Tam Dao.
30. Plaintive Cuckoo - Commonly heard at Sa Pa. Also 1 calling from island in the lake in the centre of Hanoi.
31. Drongo Cuckoo - Commonly heard and a couple seen at Cuc Phuong. 1 heard on pheasant trail at Bach Ma.
32. Asian Koel - Heard at Cuc Phuong. Heard and 2 birds seen at Tam Dao.
33. Green Billed Malkoha - 1 bird seen at Cuc Phuong.
34. Greater Coucal - Heard and seen at Sa Pa, Cuc Phuong & Tam Dao.
35. Lesser Coucal - Common at Tam Dao.
36. Dollarbird - Common at Cuc Phuong.
37. Germain's Swiftlet - Recorded at Sa Pa & Tam Dao.
38. Silver Backed Needletail - Small numbers at Sa Pa & Tam Dao.
39. Asian Palm Swift - Single figures in Hue.
40. House Swift - Recorded in Ho Chi Minh City & Hue.
41. Pacific Swift - Common at Sa Pa. Recorded at Cuc Phuong & Bach Ma.
42. Mountain Scops Owl - Heard at Cuc Phuong, Tam Dao & Bach Ma.
43. Collared Scops Owl - 2 birds heard from the road at Cuc Phuong at 7pm one evening.
44. Collared Owlet - Commonly heard at Cuc Phuong, Tam Dao & Bach Ma.
45. Forest Eagle Owl - 1 seen by JG in response to tape playback in the loop trail clearing at Cuc Phuong at 6.30pm.
46. Great Eared Nightjar - 1 over the loop trail clearing at Cuc Phuong.
47. Grey Nightjar - 2 seen & several heard up the mountain road at Sa Pa. 2 seen & several heard around KM3 at Cuc Phuong.
48. Large Tailed Nightjar - 1 heard at Cuc Phuong.
49. Feral Pigeon - Present.
50. Thick Billed Green Pigeon - Good numbers seen at Cuc Phuong, heard at Tam Dao & Bach Ma.
51. Barred Cuckoo Dove - Heard at Bach Ma.
52. Crested Serpent Eagle - Recorded daily at Cuc Phuong.
53. Black Eagle - Recorded at Cuc Phuong & Bach Ma.
54. Hen Harrier - 1 ring tail out of the mist at Tam Dao.
55. Crested Goshawk - Recorded at Cuc Phuong.
56. Besra - 1 seen twice at close range at the lower entrance to the 5 lakes trail at Bach Ma.
57. Shikra - Present at Cuc Phuong.
58. Black Baza - 30+ birds circling over the road at 10am one morning at Cuc Phuong.
59. Changeable Hawk Eagle - 2 at Cuc Phuong.
60. Pied Falconet - Singles seen on 2 mornings from the road at Cuc Phuong.
61. Eurasian Hobby - 1 over Hanoi Botanical Gardens.
62. Oriental Hobby - 1 hunting over the loop trail clearing early morning at Cuc Phuong.
63. Chinese Pond Heron - 3 - 4 birds at Cuc Phuong. Others seen en route & migrants seen at Tam Dao.
64. Cinnamon Bittern - 1 in paddyfields en route from Bach Ma to Hue.
65. Blue Naped Pitta - 1 seen & heard on the water tank trail at Tam Dao, plus another 2 heard. Call reminiscent of Rusty Naped Pitta but is a single up-slurred whistle, not unlike a longer, louder Eurasian Chiffchaff / Willow Warbler contact call!!! "Huuuuueep"
66. Rusty Naped Pitta - 1 seen on the water tank trail at Tam Dao.
67. Blue Rumped Pitta - 2 seen & 1 or 2 more heard at Cuc Phuong from the loop trail. 1 seen at the start of the loop trail ( the end nearest the clearing ) plus another further on, on the trail that runs down to the stream off the main loop trail. At Bach Ma one whistled out just before the top of the five lakes trail. Others heard at KM18.5 in gully with old villa in it. 2 birds heard just below main accommodation at KM17 in first gully. Also 2 heard along pheasant trail.
68. Bar Bellied Pitta - 2 pairs between KM1 & 2 on the road were seen regularly, including 1 of the males feeding out on the road for 10 minutes early one morning!!!! 3 more birds were seen briefly from the loop trail. A pair were heard calling about 1KM along the valley trail, & other birds were heard from the loop trail.
69. Long Tailed Broadbill - 10+ at Cuc Phuong with another 5 seen at Bach Ma.
70. Silver Breasted Broadbill - Up to 6 at Cuc Phuong.
71. Asian Fairy Bluebird - Regularly heard & seen at Cuc Phuong.
72. Orange Bellied Leafbird - Subspecies 'melliana' seen at Bach Ma, otherwise 'hardwickii' recorded at Cuc Phuong.
73. Tiger Shrike - 1 male at Tam Dao.
74. Brown Shrike - Good numbers passing through Tam Dao. Also recorded from Cuc Phuong.
75. Grey Backed Shrike - 1 male at Cuc Phuong.
76. Black Drongo - Common en route.
77. Ashy Drongo - Small numbers at Cuc Phuong.
78. Crow Billed Drongo - Common at Cuc Phuong.
79. Bronzed Drongo - 4 at Cuc Phuong.
80. Greater Racket Tailed Drongo - Common at Cuc Phuong.
81. Common Green Magpie - Singles at Cuc Phuong & Tam Dao.
82. Indochinese Green Magpie - Family party between KM17 & 18 plus 1 bird on a nest of 4 fledglings at the start of the rhododendron trail at Bach Ma. The birds here are very yellow on the underparts and easily distinguished from Common Green Magpie.
83. Racket Tailed Treepie - 1 at Bach Ma.
84. Ratchet Tailed Treepie - Common at Cuc Phuong & Bach Ma.
Oriolus sp. - Passage of Orioles at Tam Dao with flocks of up to 15 seen daily & not specifically identified. They were either Black Naped or Slender Billed.
85. Black Naped Oriole - Common at Cuc Phuong.
86. Maroon Oriole - Common at Cuc Phuong.
87. Black Winged Cuckooshrike - 1 in Hanoi Botanical Gardens.
88. Bar Winged Flycatcher Shrike - 2 at Cuc Phuong.
90. Long Tailed Minivet - Recorded at Sa Pa.
91. Scarlet Minivet - Recorded at Cuc Phuong.
92. White Throated Fantail - 1 in Hanoi Botanical Gardens, 1 at KM8 at Sa Pa & recorded at Bach Ma.
93. Black Naped Monarch - Common at Cuc Phuong.
94. Asian Paradise Flycatcher - 3 Cuc Phuong & 1 seen at Bach Ma.
95. Blue Rock Thrush - 1 Sa Pa, 6 Tam Dao & 2 Bach Ma.
96. Blue Whistling Thrush - 1 Bach Ma.
97. White's Thrush - 2 Bach Ma from minibus on way up and down & 1 on the road at Cuc Phuong.
98. Eye Browed Thrush - 3 Bach Ma. Flocks of Thrushes at Tam Dao were probably this species too.
99. Dark Sided Flycatcher - 1 Cuc Phuong, 2 Tam Dao.
100. Asian Brown Flycatcher - Recorded in Hanoi Botanical Gardens, at Cuc Phuong & Tam Dao.
101. Red Throated Flycatcher - Common at Sa Pa, Cuc Phuong & in Hanoi Botanical Gardens.
102. White Gorgetted Flycatcher - 1 Tam Dao & seen daily at Bach Ma.
103. Verditer Flycatcher - Recorded in the gardens at Sa Pa.
104. Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher - Common at Bach Ma & recorded at Sa Pa.
105. Yellow Rumped Flycatcher - 2 Hanoi Botanical Gardens & up to 6 at Cuc Phuong.
106. Mugimaki Flycatcher - 1 Cuc Phuong.
107. Narcissus Flycatcher - 3 at Cuc Phuong.
108. Snowy Browed Flycatcher - 1 singing male at the pass area, Sa Pa.
109. Small Niltava - Common at Sa Pa.
110. Hainan Blue Flycatcher - Recorded in small numbers at Cuc Phuong.
111. Blue Throated Flycatcher - 1 or 2 small family parties seen at Bach Ma.
112. Siberian Rubythroat - 1 male skulking at Tam Dao in grass at the start of the water tank trail.
113. Siberian Blue Robin - Male and female on the water tank trail Tam Dao.
114. Oriental Magpie Robin - 1 at Sa Pa & present at Cuc Phuong.
115. White Rumped Shama - Common at Cuc Phuong.
116. Little Forktail - 1 at Sa Pa.
117. Slaty Backed Forktail - Conspicuous along the rivers on the five lakes trail Bach Ma.
118. White Capped Water Redstart - 1 beyond the pass at Sa Pa.
119. Plumbeous Redstart - 3 beyond the pass at Sa Pa.
120. Siberian Stonechat - Common at Sa Pa & recorded at Tam Dao.
121. Grey Bushchat - Common at Sa Pa.
122. Hill Myna - Common at Cuc Phuong with flocks of up to 20 being seen.
123. White Tailed Nuthatch - 1 in the forest near the pass at Sa Pa.
124. Great Tit - 1 in Hanoi Botanical Gardens.
125. Yellow Cheeked Tit - Common at Sa Pa.
126. Sultan Tit - A few seen at Cuc Phuong, Tam Dao & Bach Ma. Birds at Bach Ma were of the race 'gayeti'.
127. Black Throated Tit - Small flocks at Sa Pa & common at Bach Ma. The race seen at Bach Ma was 'annamensis' which shows no hint of rusty coloration.
128. Barn Swallow - Several seen en route.
129. Striated Swallow - 25+ seen at Sa Pa.
130. Nepal House Martin - 1 at KM8 & 1 over the hotel, both Sa Pa.
131. Crested Finchbill - 2 at KM8 trail Sa Pa in cultivated areas.
132. Collared Finchbill - As Crested Finchbill.
133. Black Crested Bulbul - Recorded at Cuc Phuong.
134. Red Whiskered Bulbul - Common in Hanoi, Cuc Phuong & Bach Ma.
135. Stripe Throated Bulbul - Common at Cuc Phuong in degraded areas.
136. Light Vented Bulbul - Migrants recorded at Cuc Phuong, 3 flocks of 10, 10 & 20+.
137. Brown Breasted Bulbul - Common in cultivated areas at Sa Pa.
138. Puff Throated Bulbul - Common at Cuc Phuong & recorded at Bach Ma.
139. Chestnut Bulbul - Frequently heard at Tam Dao, with up to 8 birds seen.
140. Mountain Bulbul - 1 seen at Sa Pa.
141. Black Bulbul - Recorded at Cuc Phuong & Tam Dao.
142. Hill Prinia - Commonly seen & heard at Sa Pa.
143. Rufescent Prinia - Recorded at Cuc Phuong & Tam Dao.
144. Plain Prinia - Few seen at Cuc Phuong.
145. Mountain Tailorbird - Commonly heard & a few seen at Sa Pa.
146. Common Tailorbird - Recorded in Hanoi Botanical Gardens & common at Cuc Phuong.
147. Dark Necked Tailorbird - 1 at Bach Ma.
148. Asian Stubtail - 1 heard at Tam Dao.
149. Brownish Flanked Bush Warbler - Common in cultivated areas at Sa Pa.
150. Russet Bush Warbler - 1 seen in fields off the KM8 trail at Sa Pa.
151. Paddyfield Warbler - 2 at Tam Dao in fall of migrants.
152. Blunt Winged Warbler - 1 at Tam Dao in fall of migrants.
153. Thick Billed Warbler - 6+ seen at Tam Dao.
154. Striated Grassbird - 1 en route to Bach Ma.
155. Dusky Warbler - 1 at Sa Pa.
156. Yellow Streaked Warbler - A fall of up to 8 birds at Cuc Phuong.
157. Radde's Warbler - 1 in Hanoi Botanical Gardens & 1 at Tam Dao.
158. Yellow Browed Warbler - Seen & heard in Hanoi Botanical Gardens, Sa Pa & Cuc Phuong.
159. Arctic Warbler - 1 in Hanoi Botanical Gardens.
160. Greenish Warbler - 1 at Bach Ma.
161. Pale Legged Leaf Warbler - Probably seen in Hanoi Botanical Gardens & 1 on the pheasant trail at Bach Ma on 2 dates.
162. Eastern Crowned Warbler - Recorded in Hanoi Botanical Gardens & at Sa Pa.
163. White Tailed Leaf Warbler - Recorded at Sa Pa, Cuc Phuong and Bach Ma.
164. Japanese White Eye - Common around Hanoi & recorded at Sa Pa.
165. Grey Bellied Tesia - Commonly heard at Sa Pa, but very hard to see, we only managed to get views of 1 or 2.
166. Bianchi's Warbler - Identified at Sa Pa & Tam Dao.
'Seicereus' Warbler sp. - Several sporting good eye rings seen at Cuc Phuong, these birds also had grey heads.
167. Grey Hooded Warbler - Up to 8 seen at Bach Ma.
168. Black Faced Warbler - 1 in the pass area at Sa Pa.
169. Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush - Common at Bach Ma.
170. Black Throated Laughingthrush - 2 birds recorded at Bach Ma.
171. Grey Laughingthrush - Commonly heard & up to 8 seen at Tam Dao.
172. Buff Breasted Babbler - Common at Cuc Phuong & on the pheasant trail Bach Ma.
173. Puff Throated Babbler - Common at Cuc Phuong.
174. Scaly Crowned Babbler - Recorded at Cuc Phuong & on the pheasant trail at Bach Ma.
175. Large Scimitar Babbler - 1 Bach Ma.
176. Streak Breasted Scimitar Babbler - Several heard & 2 seen at Tam Dao.
177. White Browed Scimitar Babbler - 5 seen at Bach Ma.
178. Limestone Wren Babbler - 1 bird sat on eggs on loop trail at Cuc Phuong plus a singing male seen in same area.
179. Eye Browed Wren Babbler - 2 seen near Limestone Wren Babbler territory on the loop trail.
180. Streaked Wren Babbler - 2 seen very well at Tam Dao & another 5 birds seen from the road at Bach Ma.
181. Rufous Capped Babbler - Recorded at Sa Pa.
182. Golden Babbler - Common at Tam Dao & Bach Ma.
183. Grey Throated Babbler - Recorded almost daily at Cuc Phuong.
184. Spot Necked Babbler - Recorded daily at Cuc Phuong.
185. Striped Tit Babbler - Recorded at Cuc Phuong, Tam Dao & Bach Ma.
186. White Browed Shrike Babbler - Common at Bach Ma.
187. Blue Winged Minla - Common at Sa Pa.
188. Chestnut Tailed Minla - Small numbers seen at the pass area at Sa Pa.
189. Red Tailed Minla - 2 - 4 at the pass area Sa Pa.
190. Silver Eared Mesia - 1 at Tam Dao, 2 at Bach Ma.
191. Peking Robin - Common at Sa Pa.
192. Golden Breasted Fulvetta - Small numbers at Sa Pa.
193. Rufous Winged Fulvetta - Recorded at Sa Pa.
194. Streak Throated Fulvetta - 1 on the KM8 trail at Sa Pa.
195. Rufous Throated Fulvetta - Common at Cuc Phuong.
196. Rusty Capped Fulvetta - 2 seen on the KM8 trail at Sa Pa.
197. Mountain Fulvetta - Common at Bach Ma.
198. Grey Breasted Fulvetta - Recorded at Tam Dao.
199. Black Browed Fulvetta - Seen on pheasant trail at Bach Ma. Also recorded from Cuc Phuong.
200. White Hooded Babbler - 2 birds seen after a titanic struggle on the water tank trail at Tam Dao.
201. Spectacled Barwing - Common at Sa Pa.
202. Striated Yuhina - Common at Bach Ma & Sa Pa.
203. Whiskered Yuhina - 2 seen at Sa Pa.
204. Stripe Throated Yuhina - 1 at the pass area Sa Pa.
205. White Collared Yuhina - 2 in the gardens at Sa Pa.
206. Black Chinned Yuhina - 5 on the water tank trail at Tam Dao.
207. White Bellied Yuhina - Small numbers seen at Cuc Phuong, Sa Pa, Bach Ma & Tam Dao.
208. Spot Breasted Parrotbill - 2 showed well on the KM8 trail at Sa Pa.
209. Vinous Throated Parrotbill - Up to 10 seen in the gardens at Sa Pa.
210. Ashy Throated Parrotbill - 2+ on KM8 trail Sa Pa.
211. Golden Parrotbill - 2 parties of at least 4 birds at Sa Pa.
212. Olive Backed Sunbird - Common at Cuc Phuong.
213. Gould's Sunbird - Small numbers at Sa Pa.
214. Black Throated Sunbird - Small numbers at Sa Pa.
215. Crimson Sunbird - 3 on valley trail at Cuc Phuong & 1 on pheasant trail at Bach Ma.
216. Fork Tailed Sunbird - 3 birds seen at Cuc Phuong & 1 at Tam Dao.
217. Streaked Spiderhunter - Common at Cuc Phuong.
218. Olive Backed Pipit - Recorded at all sites visited.
219. Forest Wagtail - 1 in Hanoi Botanical Gardens & recorded daily at Cuc Phuong.
220. Tree Sparrow - Common in towns & villages.
221. Common Rosefinch - Up to 6 seen at Sa Pa.
222. Black Headed Greenfinch - Common around the gardens at Sa Pa.
223. Little Bunting - Small numbers seen at Sa Pa.