Birds of Vietnam, the most wanted species of all birders around the World

The three recently discovered species in Kon Tum, Vietnam
Recently discovered species in Vietnam © Birdlife Indochina


Birds of Vietnam, the most wanted species of all birders around the World

(A review on distribution and status)

by Nguyen Hoai Bao

© Vietnam Wildlife Tours & Research LTD - 2018

Download printable PDF file


Checklist of the Birds of Vietnam

1. Ten true endemic birds of Vietnam

Tonkin Partridge (Arborophila tonkinesis) - LC

Distributes from Northern Central to East Tonkin, this species was being complicated in taxonomy. Arborophila charltonii, A. tonkinensis, and A. graydoni (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as A. charltonii following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

Edward's Pheasant (Lophura edwardsi) - CR

Formerly distributed from Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri & Thua Thien Hue provinces and considered as locally fairly common. However, recently there was no sighting, probably more than 20 years.

  • Vietnamese Pheasant (Lophura hatinhensis) - unrecognised, was previous split from L. edwardsi following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993) but now is lumped back.
  • Imperial Pheasant (Lophura imperialis) - unrecognised,  a study suggested this species is actually a hybrid between Vietnamese Pheasant x Silver Pheasant.

Black-crowned Fulvetta (Alcippe klossi) - LC

A split from Rufous-winged confined to south Annam. Fairly common and easy to see on Langbian and Bidoup moutains

White-throated Wren-Babbler (Rimator pasquieri) - EN

A recent split from Long-billed and confined to Mt Fan Si Pan in west Tonkin. It has also been recorded in recent years at Mu Cang Chai Species and Habitat Conservation Area (Yen Bai Province) and Van Ban Nature Reserve (Lao Cai Province)

Orange-breasted Laughingthrush (Garrulax annamensis) - LC

Now split from Spot-breasted and endemic to south Annam. Locally common in Di Linh ad Da Lat.

Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush (Garrulax konkakinhensis) - VU

Only known from Mt Kon Ka Kinh in central Annam until it located and photographed it at Mang Canh in 2010, this place become a popular destination for birding nowadays.

Golden-winged Laughingthrush (Garrulax ngoclinhensis) - VU

So far only known from Mt Ngoc Linh in central Annam, Mang Ri forest near Tu Mo Rong is the most accessible site to see this species.

Collared Laughingthrush (Garrulax yersini) - EN

Only found in south Annam, centred round Mt Langbian, Bidoup Nui Ba national park and Chu Yang Sin national park

Grey-crowned Crocias (Crocias langbianis) - EN

New genus name is Laniellus, endemic to south Annam and very localized, it can be found at Ta Nung, Tuyen Lam and a site at Dam Rong on the road 28 Da Lat  to Ban Me Thuot. Recently found in Mang Den and Ngoc Linh (Wildtour, 2014).

Vietnamese Greenfinch (Carduelis monguilloti) - LC

Confined to pine forest in south Annam, common in Da Lat and Di Linh

2. Near-endemic birds of Vietnam, meaning that they can be found near border of Vietnam with its neighbour

White-eared Night-Heron (Gorsachius magnificus) - EN

Long thought endemic to south China and at one time considered as a breeding bird only on Hainan Island it is only recently that the colony at Ba Be has reached the keen of western birders. Unfortunately during last two years (2016-2017), there was no sighting in Ba Be anymore.

Orange-necked Partridge (Arborophila davidi) - NT

Used to endemic to northeast Cochinchina but recently found in east Cambodia, and now very rarely seen in its former stronghold at Cat Tien National park. Tan Phu forest is one of the best sites for this species.

Germain's Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron germaini) - NT

Occurs in east Cambodia but Vietnam is its stronghold especially at Cat Tien national park

Red-vented Barbet (Megalaima lagrandieri) - LC

Although it occurs in Cambodia and Laos as well as Vietnam it is usually most easy to see here

Indochinese Barbet (Megalaima annamensis) - LC

Recently finally split from Black-browed and confined south Laos and south Annam

Red-collared Woodpecker (Picus rabieri) - NT

Although it occurs in Laos, Vietnam is the only logical place to search for this bird. Astonishingly elusive for a Woodpecker it totally eluded us as it does most tour groups

Blue-rumped Pitta (Pitta soror) - LC

Allegedly widespread in Indo-China and occurring as far west as west Thailand, it is rarely seen outside Vietnam (and often missed within as well)

Bar-bellied Pitta (Pitta elliotii) - LC

Like Blue-rumped Pitta, it is occurring as far west as Thailand and again rarely seen outside of Vietnam

White-winged Magpie (Urocissa whiteheadi) - LC

Fairly widespread but rarely seen outside of Vietnam or southwest China

Grey-crowned Tit (Aegithalos annamensis) - LC

Confined to south Laos and Annam. Now generally recognised as distinct from Black-throated Tit

Yellow-billed Nuthatch (Sitta solangiae) - NT

Although it occurs outside of Vietnam, only really findable within its borders

Limestone Warbler (Phylloscopus calciatilis) - LC

Occurring in limestone country in central Laos and central Annam, but again only realistically findable in Vietnam. A recent split from Sulphur-breasted Warbler

Black-headed Parrotbill (Paradoxornis margaritae) - NT

Now recognised as distinct from Grey-headed and confined to south Annam, rare in Muldukiri, Cambodia.

Black-hooded Laughingthrush (Garrulax milleti) - NT

Just reaching into Laos otherwise confined to Vietnam

Rufous-cheeked Laughingthrush (Garrulax castanotis) - LC

Occurs on Hainan Island and central Laos. Most reliable sites are on Mt Ba Vi and the forest on west Ho Chi Minh road at Samu pass 

White-cheeked Laughingthrush (Garrulax vassali) - LC

Fairly widespread in highland of Laos and Vietnam

Short-tailed Scimitar-Babbler (Jabouilleia danjoui) - NT

Virtually confined to Annam and Tonkin, target bird at Da Lat, Mang Den, Bach Ma.  Also call Indochinese Wren Babbler

Sooty Babbler (Stachyris herberti) - LC

Formerly considered endemic to limestone country in central Laos but now known to be thriving in central Annam. Locally common in Phong Nha Ke Bang national park

Pale-throated Wren Babbler (Spelaeornis kinneari) - NT

Confined to Fansipan mt, recently recorded in NW Wangxi, Yunan, China

Grey-faced Tit-Babbler (Macronous kelleyi) - LC

An exciting Indochinese endemic! Very common and widespread in southern of Vietnam  

Vietnamese Cutia (Cutia legalleni) - NT

Now split from Himalayan and confined to south Annam. Found fairly common in Da Lat, Di Linh, Mang Den and Central Laos

Black-crowned Barwing (Actinodura sodangoram) - LC

Only recently described and confined to southeast Laos and southern central Annam. Best site is Mang Ri forest but also able to see at Lo Xo pass by the roadside

Indochinese Fulvetta (Alcippe danisi) - LC

A Laos speciality but also found in central and south Annam. Found on Bidoup mt and Ngoc Linh mt above 1,800m

3. New endemic species by recently split

Dalat Shrike Babbler (Pteruthius flaviscapis)

4. Possible endemisms in the future

These are local subspecies found only in Da Lat plateau

Blue-winged Minla (Minla cyanouroptera orientalis)

Rufous-backed Sibia (Heterophasia annectens eximia)

Black-throated Sunbird (Aethopyga saturata johnsi)

Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra meridionalis)

Brown Bullfinch Pyrrhula nipalensis ssp