Vietnam: March 2022

On this new and exciting tour, we will visit some of the fascinating national parks in this rarely visited country. Despite not being on the birding radar for many people, Vietnam has much to offer including the highest number of avian endemics of any mainland southeast Asian nation. As well as some spectacular species such as Germain’s Peacock-Pheasant and Green Peafowl, there are colourful pittas and broadbills, as well as endemic primates and much more besides.

We will begin our trip in the Northern city of Hanoi from where we travel to the Van Long Nature Reserve. The dramatic limestone cliffs are home to more than 50% of the entire population of the critically endangered Delacour’s Langur (one of the world’s most endangered primates) with the surrounding lakes and swamps also holding a rich variety of waterfowl and other species.


We will then spend two nights at the Cuc Phuong National Park, where there are a number of exciting forest trails to explore. Our targets include three denizens of the forest: Bar-bellied, Blue-rumped & Eared Pittas, however, there are plenty of other special species including Scaly-breasted Partridge, Red-collared Woodpecker, Pied Falconet, White-winged Magpie, Fujian Niltava, Limestone Leaf-warbler and Greyish Limestone-babbler.


Our next destination will be the Dalat Plateau which is home to a good percentage of Vietnam’s endemic bird species, as well as many highly distinctive subspecies, some of which are likely to soon be ‘upgraded’ to full species. We will have three full days to explore a variety of habitats including Mount Lang Bian, a 2,169 metre peak and Ho Tuyen Lam Lake, both of which are only a short drive from our hotel.


There are six Vietnamese endemics we will be hoping to find including the spectacular orange, grey and black Collared Laughingthrush. We will also look for Dalat Shrike-babbler, Vietnamese Greenfinch, Black-crowned Fulvetta, Orange-breasted Laughingthrush and Grey-crowned Crocias (all endemic) as well as Indochinese Cuckooshrike, Slender-billed Oriole, Manipur Treecreeper and Yellow-billed Nuthatch. For those keen on pittas, there are more possibilities including both Blue and Rusty-naped.


Heading South, our next destination will be a forested mountain pass at Deo Soui Lanh which is another great place for Dalat specialities including Black-hooded and White-cheeked Laughingthrushes and the near endemic Black-headed Parrotbill. Blue Pitta, Indochinese Green Magpie and Green Cochoa are amongst the other possibilities we will search for before we reluctantly leave the Dalat Plateau for our finally destination, the Cat Tien National Park, where we have three full days to explore.


This reserve contains the largest remaining area of lowland tropical forest in Southern Vietnam and there is a truly incredibly diversity of birds and mammals. Threatened species include the near endemic Germain’s Peacock-pheasant, as well as Green Peafowl and Orange-necked Partridge, whilst the beautiful Siamese Fireback can often be seen in the early morning on one of the trails. Should we have not seen them already, there will be further opportunities to look for both Blue-rumped and Bar-bellied Pittas and the mouth-watering list of woodpeckers includes White-bellied, Great Slaty, Pale-headed, Black-and-buff and Heart-spotted.


Two endangered primates are also present, Black-shanked Douc Langur and Buff-cheeked Gibbon, along with Leopard Cat, Lesser Mousedeer, Sambar and Gaur, so our last destination will have plenty of new possibilities before we reluctantly leave for Ho Chi Minh City where our tour will conclude.


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