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Field Guides Tour Report
Vietnam 2018
Nov 24, 2018 to Dec 14, 2018
Dave Stejskal & Doug Gochfeld

We found the beautiful and range-restricted Black-crowned Barwing at Lo Xo Pass. Photo by participant Myles McNally.

Vietnam today is not the country many envision when they think back on the war newsreels of the 1960s and 1970s. Nowadays, it is known for its bustling cities filled with motorbikes transporting people from every walk of life (and seemingly in every uniform!) from place to place, and for its rapid modernization, which has led to a healthily growing economy. Despite the business boom in the country, there are still some phenomenally productive wild places, and friendly and welcoming locals (as most of the populace is towards foreigners these days) at each of them. On our 2018 tour we had the good fortune of sampling a wide variety of the still-wild habitats in the country, with great success.

We started off in Hanoi, the capital, with a bit of a cultural orientation, some light birding, and some excellent food (including the Hanoi specialty of Bun Cha for many folks). From there we departed for birdier pastures, heading towards the strikingly scenic limestone karst region to the south. En route to Cuc Phuong National Park, we stopped at a community-run nature reserve at Van Long Reservoir. While we didn’t see the rare Delacour’s Langur (the main reason for the establishment of the reserve), we did get an excellent introduction to the avifauna, including our only experiences with several freshwater marsh-dwelling birds, a group that is very underrepresented in this country where subsistence hunting is still widespread. Add to that the breathtakingly beautiful karst backdrop, and we had a recipe for a splendid first morning birding. Featured birds here included White-browed Crake, Yellow Bittern, Purple Heron, Greater Coucal, and Blue Rock Thrush, all under the sentinel gaze of a Peregrine Falcon perched up atop the sharp karst ridge.

We then moved on to Cuc Phuong, the oldest national park in Vietnam. Cuc Phuong held quite a few species which we wouldn’t run into again on the tour, and we started off with a bang upon our arrival there, netting the scarce and patchily distributed Red-collared Woodpecker in the afternoon. We got two full days to explore the park, and our dawn drives netted us Rufous-tailed Robin, Indochinese Green-Magpie, Orange-headed Thrush, Black-breasted Thrush, and White-rumped Shama. Among our many bird highlights while on foot were Hainan Blue-Flycatcher, Limestone Wren-Babbler, Bar-bellied Pitta, White-bellied Green Pigeon, Red-vented Barbet (nasal tufts and all!), Red-headed Trogon, Limestone Leaf-Warbler, Black-browed and Rufous-throated fulvettas, Mountain Scops-Owl, Collared Scops-Owl, Large Scimitar-Babbler (babbling about its large scimitars), Lesser Shortwing, and a great little Pied Falconet teed up in full view. We even got to see a Toad performing a very odd dance-walk one morning, which brought us to teary-eyed laughter.

Once we had had our fill in the north, it was time to explore the central part of the country, so we left the limestone of the north and flew down to Da Nang. Our first birding location here was Lo Xo Pass, where we eventually connected with our primary target, the range-restricted and only recently discovered Black-crowned Barwing. Once we had had our fill of a spectacularly cooperative pair, we continued down to Mang Den, arriving in time for some evening birding which produced a big surprise is a group of Silver Pheasants! We spent the next two and a half days birding Mang Den’s productive evergreen forests. We enjoyed the mixed-species flocks that we encountered everywhere we went, each one seeming to hold a new gem which we hadn’t previously encountered. Lesser Racket-tailed Drongos and Ratchet-tailed Treepies flew back and forth, their long tails flowing behind them. Yellow-billed Nuthatches clambered up and down at the tops of the flocks, while show-stopping Rufous-faced Warblers got in our faces at eye level. There were confiding Black-chinned Yuhinas, and the more reserved and sneaky Black-hooded Laughingthrushes. We got repeated good looks at Green-billed Malkohas (one of Judy’s birds of the trip!), Chestnut-eared Laughingthrushes played hard to get, but Coral-billed and Red-billed Scimitar-Babblers showed very well, and we even got excellent looks at tiny sprites such as the gaudy Clicking Shrike-Babbler and the understated but crisp-looking White-browed Piculet. Short-tailed Scimitar-Babbler and Eyebrowed Wren-Babbler played nice as well, allowing most folks to see these normally skulking species. To top it off, a wonderful Brown Hornbill experience was the capper to an excellent couple of days birding there. Having added seventy-some-odd species in the center of the country, we made our way down to Ho Chi Minh City.

As there were more birds to be seen, we spent but one night in the notorious (and now very modern) metropolis that even most locals still call Saigon. We then made our way to the most biodiverse park in the country (and one of the most biodiverse in all of Southeast Asia), Nam Cat Tien National Park. Spending four nights here in the midst of lush lowland tropical forest was a real treat, and the biomass was almost overwhelming. Before we had even hit our beds on our first night we had amassed an impressive mammal list that included Wild Boar, Sambar, Red Muntjac, and the big highlight: a small group of Gaur! The bird show on the mammal drive rivaled the mammal show as well, with Great Eared-Nightjar, Lineated Barbet, Burmese Shrike, Racket-tailed Treepie, and the headliner: several Green Peafowl. The next three days were jam-packed with birds and other wildlife, and even the midday breaks and evening vigils at our wonderful lodging along the Dong Nai River were productive, with the dusk procession of Great Eared-Nightjars being especially mindboggling. We had big waterbirds such as Lesser Adjutant and Woolly-necked Stork, and we had several species of kingfishers, highlighted by Stork-billed and Black-capped along the watercourses, and the oft-elusive Banded in the forest. We also did well on our target trifecta of broadbills here, with Banded, Dusky, and Black-and-Red both showing very well. Blue-winged Leafbirds and Yellow-vented Flowerpeckers showed daily right next to our deck overlooking the river where we ate lunch every day, and we also saw the tiny but deadly (to winged insects, anyway!) Collared Falconet from here multiple times. We got great views of Green Peafowl twice more after our first evening’s encounter with them, and we even got some fleeting looks at the shy and retiring Germain’s Peacock-Pheasant. Other show stoppers here were Van Hasselt’s Sunbird, Forest Wagtail (one of Bob’s top 3), Gray-headed Fish-Eagle, Black-and-buff Woodpecker, Vernal Hanging-Parrots (affectionately named “vern” by our group), Orange-breasted Trogon, Crested Serpent-Eagle (we didn’t see it feasting on any crested serpents, alas), Violet Cuckoo, Siamese Fireback, and a quick look at a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo!

We departed from this wonderland of wildlife after a final morning’s birding, and headed towards the mountain range to the NE, and we were at Deo Nui San Pass by early afternoon. We had an incredibly successful stroll along the road here, netting a couple of front-page-worthy birds in a trio of very vocal and showy Vietnamese Cutia (a top 3 bird for at least four folks, including Minh!), and a pair of Orange-breasted Laughingthrushes which were as shy as the cutias were showy. Striated Swallow and Speckled Piculet were other highlights here before nightfall. We came back the next morning to clean up even more of the species there, with the highlights on day two being a huge and very cooperative flock of Black-headed Parrotbills, a couple of Alstrom’s Warblers, Streaked Spiderhunters, Mugimaki Flycatcher, excellent views (complete with great audio) of Black-headed Sibia, some more of the “Gray-crowned” subspecies of Black-throated Tits, and a young Rufous-bellied Eagle just as we boarded the bus the depart.

This year, we saved arguably the best for last, with the final region of the tour being Da Lat, home to the highest rate of endemism in the country. From the bird-filled Tanung Valley to the gusty but scenic saddle of Mt. Langbian, to the wet, misty environs around Bidoup National Park, the (bird) hits just kept on coming. Gray-crowned Crocias is perhaps the most emblematic bird of the country, having been rediscovered in the 1990s after being lost to science for more than seventy years, and we got some stellar views of it during our morning at Tanung. Tanung also provided us with Jerdon’s Baza, Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Mountain Tailorbird, Pin-tailed Pigeon, Wedge-tailed Pigeon, Rufous-backed Sibia, and the strikingly white-faced Asian subspecies of the already visually striking Eurasian Jay.

We had to cope with some big-time gusts during our scenic hike at Mt. Langbian, but we were able to find a few well-sheltered spots in the montane forest which provided plenty of birds, including a couple of very intimate encounters with a couple of high quality and much sought after species. After a long wait and game of cat and mouse, a pair of the notoriously skulky and difficult-to-see Collared Laughingthrush showed themselves, and we were even able to get everyone views of this sneaky species through a scope while it was singing- Wow! At the other end of the spectrum of difficulty was Pygmy Cupwing. After not seeing it on our first attempt, we went back after our tasty field lunch to try for it one more time, and this time we almost immediately got stellar up close and personal views of this usually shy, tiny little tailless thimble of a bird. In addition to these two highly memorable ones (both made several folks’ top 3 lists), we also saw Hume’s Treecreeper, Dalat Shrike-Babbler, and Black-crowned Fulvetta. Our final bit of birding at Bidoup National Park netted us more prolonged views of Black-crowned Fulvetta, the local race of Lesser Shortwing, White-spectacled Warbler, Kloss’s Leaf-Warbler, and a phenomenal encounter with a Spotted Forktail that actually came down onto the trail itself three times as it moved on past our stunned assemblage of birders!

Dalat was a great way to put a bow on what was a great two and a half weeks with a gregariously fun and congenial group. Our biggest thanks are due to our most important player of all: our local guide Le Quy Minh, who in addition to having top notch bird finding skills, was unflappable and unfailingly sensitive, generous, and effective at making everything happen smoothly. His great sense of humor was always on display, and could add levity to any situation (even in the early mornings before coffee was served), which was much appreciated by all. Thanks to all of you who came along on the trip- you really did make it an enjoyable one for Minh, Dave, and myself. Cheers, until next we meet, somewhere in this wide world of birds!

-Doug Gochfeld

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Participant Stan Lilley got this photo of our group birding on the Van Long Reservoir.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (EURASIAN) (Anas crecca crecca) – We rarely see any ducks at all on this tour, especially near Hanoi.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
RUFOUS-THROATED PARTRIDGE (Arborophila rufogularis) [*]
SCALY-BREASTED PARTRIDGE (Arborophila chloropus tonkinensis) – This was the form that we heard very nearby at Cuc Phuong NP. [*]
SCALY-BREASTED PARTRIDGE (Arborophila chloropus cognacqi) – We worked hard on this one at Cat Tien NP, with most coming away with some sort of a look.
GREEN PEAFOWL (Pavo muticus) – Our drives out to the cut fields at Cat Tien yielded some fine looks of this scarce and range-fragmented species.
GERMAIN'S PEACOCK-PHEASANT (Polyplectron germaini) – Another one that we tried hard to see at Cat Tien; if you blinked or looked down, you may have missed it as it dashed across the park road. Our second try in the park saw it walk through a couple of openings in the dense vegetation - briefly - for some folks.
RED JUNGLEFOWL (Gallus gallus) – These were along the main road at Cat Tien one morning, but they disappeared into the forest before everyone had a chance to see them.
SILVER PHEASANT (Lophura nycthemera) – A couple of shy males dashed across the trail a couple of times late one afternoon near Mang Den. Rarely seen now on this tour.
SIAMESE FIREBACK (Lophura diardi) – The hikers in the group that walked in to Crocodile Lake at Cat Tien NP got some good looks at this one, and the rest of us caught up with a couple of females crossing the road the following day.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LITTLE GREBE (Tachybaptus ruficollis) – Daily around the lakes near Dalat, and also at the start of the tour at Van Long Reserve. These eastern birds have pale eyes, unlike the birds that you see in Europe.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
WOOLLY-NECKED STORK (Ciconia episcopus) – Daily at Cat Tien NP.
LESSER ADJUTANT (Leptoptilos javanicus) – Less often seen at Cat Tien NP than the above species; our looks came mostly from the deck at the lodge.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LITTLE CORMORANT (Microcarbo niger) – A couple of flybys along the drive north of Ho Chi Minh City.

We were not able to find any of the rare Delacour's Langurs at Van Long Reserve, but we did see the Black-shanked Douc Langur at Cat Tien. It looks like it got into someone's makeup! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
YELLOW BITTERN (Ixobrychus sinensis) – A couple of birds flushed at the Van Long Reserve.
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea) – Surprisingly scarce on this tour.
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea) – Nice looks in the karst at Van Long Reserve.
GREAT EGRET (AUSTRALASIAN) (Ardea alba modesta)
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Ardea intermedia)
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)
CATTLE EGRET (EASTERN) (Bubulcus ibis coromandus)
CHINESE POND-HERON (Ardeola bacchus) – Our most frequently-seen heron on this tour.
STRIATED HERON (OLD WORLD) (Butorides striata javanica)
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – A regular wintering bird along the Dong Nai River.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
ORIENTAL HONEY-BUZZARD (Pernis ptilorhynchus) – Just a couple of birds en route to Cat Tien from HCMC.
JERDON'S BAZA (Aviceda jerdoni) – Great views of at least a couple of birds in the Ta Nung Valley near Dalat.
BLACK BAZA (Aviceda leuphotes) – Always a bit of a surprise to see, especially on consecutive days on this tour.

Blue-winged Leafbird was common in the forests; it's easy to see from this photo how they got their name! Photo by participant Stan Lilley.

CRESTED SERPENT-EAGLE (Spilornis cheela) – Cat Tien is a reliable spot for this one on this tour.
MOUNTAIN HAWK-EAGLE (Nisaetus nipalensis) – A distant perched bird at Ta Nung Valley was the only one that we were sure about.
RUFOUS-BELLIED EAGLE (Lophotriorchis kienerii) – A very pale juv. bird at Deo Nui San Pass, and then a distant adult bird on our final morning at Bidoup NP.
BLACK EAGLE (Ictinaetus malaiensis) – Very distinctive in flight.
GRAY-FACED BUZZARD (Butastur indicus) – I'm not sure if the birds that I see in SE Asia at this season are late migrants or birds attempting to winter.
CRESTED GOSHAWK (Accipiter trivirgatus) – One of the most frequently-seen raptors on this tour.
BESRA (Accipiter virgatus) – A couple of fleeting looks in our forested venues.
GRAY-HEADED FISH-EAGLE (Haliaeetus ichthyaetus) – Seen attending a nest by those who hiked to Crocodile Lake. [N]
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
WHITE-BROWED CRAKE (Amaurornis cinerea) – Nicely in the open at Van Long Reserve.
RUDDY-BREASTED CRAKE (Zapornia fusca) [*]
GRAY-HEADED SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio poliocephalus) – Purple Swamphen was recently split up into several species.
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus) – Now split from our familiar Common Gallinule in the New World.
EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra) – Only at Van Long Reserve.

Yellow-vented Flowerpecker showed well at a fruiting tree at Cat Tien NP. Photo by participant Myles McNally.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
RED-WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus indicus atronuchalis) – Common in the plowed fields at Cat Tien.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
BRONZE-WINGED JACANA (Metopidius indicus) – Very distant views at Crocodile Lake for some.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
RED COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia tranquebarica) – Abundant in the cut fields at Cat Tien.
SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis) – Not as common as one would expect it to be here.
BARRED CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia unchall) – A quick flyby at Deo Nui San Pass.
ASIAN EMERALD DOVE (Chalcophaps indica) – Another quick flyby at Deo Nui San Pass.
ZEBRA DOVE (Geopelia striata) – This one is on the move northward in Vietnam and we saw most of ours around Cat Tien NP. I heard one as far north as Lo Xo Pass north of Mang Den on our morning of birding there. [I]
ASHY-HEADED GREEN-PIGEON (Treron phayrei) – A recent split from Pompadour Pigeon; we saw ours nicely at Cat Tien NP.
THICK-BILLED PIGEON (Treron curvirostra) – One of the most common and widespread species of 'green-pigeons' in SE Asia.
PIN-TAILED PIGEON (Treron apicauda) – These birds blended in well to the foliage of the fruiting tree at Ta Nung Valley near Dalat.
WEDGE-TAILED PIGEON (Treron sphenurus) – We found three species of Treron 'green-pigeons' in the fruiting trees at Ta Nung Valley.

Siamese Fireback was one of our prizes at Cat Tien NP. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

WHITE-BELLIED PIGEON (Treron sieboldii) – A bit of a surprise in the big trees at Bong Substation at Cuc Phuong NP. A scarce bird that I don't see that often.
GREEN IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula aenea) – I see fewer and fewer of these big pigeons each subsequent year that I visit Cat Tien NP.
MOUNTAIN IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula badia) – Its deep, resonant call was frequently heard in the highlands during this tour.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER COUCAL (Centropus sinensis) – A few good looks at this big, non-parasitic cuckoo.
LESSER COUCAL (Centropus bengalensis) – Very different looking at this season compared to the above species.
GREEN-BILLED MALKOHA (Phaenicophaeus tristis) – We found this one primarily in the Cat Tien NP area. The only Malkoha along our route.
VIOLET CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus) – After hearing a few of these calling overhead at Cat Tien, it was a relief to get a lovely male in the scope for prolonged looks.
BANDED BAY CUCKOO (Cacomantis sonneratii) – Finally tracked this one down at the Ta Nung Valley for some scope views.
SQUARE-TAILED DRONGO-CUCKOO (Surniculus lugubris) – A couple of excellent studies at Cat Tien NP. Formerly called the Drongo Cuckoo before this one was split into at least four look-alike species.
Strigidae (Owls)
MOUNTAIN SCOPS-OWL (Otus spilocephalus) – I wasn't all that hopeful that we'd ever see this difficult species, but our persistence paid off with an excellent look at Cuc Phuong NP.
COLLARED SCOPS-OWL (Otus lettia) – Briefly overhead at Cuc Phuong NP.
COLLARED OWLET (Glaucidium brodiei) [*]
ASIAN BARRED OWLET (Glaucidium cuculoides) – Nice views at dusk in the lights on our first evening at Cat Tien NP.
BROWN WOOD-OWL (Strix leptogrammica ticehursti) [*]

Long-tailed Shrikes were seen in the northern part, from Mang Den to Danang. Photo by participant Stan Lilley.

BROWN BOOBOOK (Ninox scutulata burmanica) [*]
Podargidae (Frogmouths)
BLYTH'S FROGMOUTH (INDOCHINESE) (Batrachostomus affinis continentalis) [*]
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
GREAT EARED-NIGHTJAR (Lyncornis macrotis) – Doug counted a whopping 78 birds from the deck one evening at Cat Tien NP!
GRAY NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus jotaka jotaka) – My hat's off to Minh for being able to spot this cryptic critter sitting on a pine limb high above the ground at sunset near Dalat!
LARGE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus macrurus) – A few flushed from the road at Cat Tien NP on our first evening there.
Apodidae (Swifts)
BROWN-BACKED NEEDLETAIL (Hirundapus giganteus) – This one was recorded on a few occasions, but we never really nailed it as a group.
HIMALAYAN SWIFTLET (Aerodramus brevirostris) – The birds that we saw near Lo Xo Pass surely must have been this species, and not the lowland Germain's.
GERMAIN'S SWIFTLET (Aerodramus germani) – Very common around Danang and also from HCMC north to the Di Linh area. The i.d. of the swiftlets at Deo Nui San Pass and in the Dalat area is unknown at this time.
PACIFIC SWIFT (Apus pacificus) – One bird overhead at Cat Tien NP one morning from the truck was a late migrant individual.
COOK'S SWIFT (Apus cooki) – Some folks saw a few of these foraging near the HQ buildings at Cuc Phuong NP. Fork-tailed Swift was recently split into several species, and this is the only one that likely breeds in Vietnam.
HOUSE SWIFT (Apus nipalensis) – Mostly in the Dalat area.
ASIAN PALM-SWIFT (Cypsiurus balasiensis) – Almost all of these were in the south.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
RED-HEADED TROGON (Harpactes erythrocephalus) – We found a particularly shy pair of these beauties at Cuc Phuong near the Bong Substation.

The tiny Pygmy Cupwing had to be coaxed out, but eventually we got a great look at it. What a charmer! Photo by participant Myles McNally.

ORANGE-BREASTED TROGON (Harpactes oreskios) – I've never recorded this one north of Cat Tien NP in Vietnam.
Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
GREAT HORNBILL (Buceros bicornis) – Doug and others had this one fly overhead along the Crocodile Lake trail at Cat Tien NP.
BROWN HORNBILL (Anorrhinus austeni) – It had been a really long time since I'd seen this noisy hornbill in Vietnam – and what great looks! Now split from the similar and closely related Rusty-cheeked Hornbill to the west.
ORIENTAL PIED-HORNBILL (Anthracoceros albirostris) – We recorded this one daily at Cat Tien NP; it's the most expected hornbill species in the park.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
BLUE-EARED KINGFISHER (Alcedo meninting) – After playing hide-and-seek with us at Cat Tien, we finally got this little gem perched in the open!
BANDED KINGFISHER (Lacedo pulchella) – A forest kingfisher that isn't at all associated with water. We had decent views of a female in the scope at Cat Tien as it perched quietly in the sub-canopy.
STORK-BILLED KINGFISHER (Pelargopsis capensis) – The first stream crossing near our lodging was the place for this big kingfisher this year, but it proved to be more timid than usual.
WHITE-THROATED KINGFISHER (Halcyon smyrnensis) – Most of our sightings were of birds on telephone wires next to the road.
BLACK-CAPPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon pileata) – Cat Tien was again the best spot for this migrant from China this year.
PIED KINGFISHER (Ceryle rudis) – One next to the road on our drive from Danang to Kham Duc was the only one seen.
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
BLUE-BEARDED BEE-EATER (Nyctyornis athertoni) – Most had a look of some sort of this big forest bee-eater, but those who didn't make the hike to Crocodile Lake were treated to an excellent scope view right above the road near our lodging.
BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATER (Merops philippinus) – Several in the fields at Cat Tien NP.

Our view of the shy Germain's Peacock-Pheasant was not the best, but we did get to see the "eyes" on this one, briefly! Guide Doug Gochfeld managed to get a shot of part of the bird as it ducked between vegetation.

CHESTNUT-HEADED BEE-EATER (Merops leschenaulti) – Cat Tien NP was the place to see bee-eaters this year! We had excellent scope looks in the bamboo forest there one morning.
Coraciidae (Rollers)
INDIAN ROLLER (Coracias benghalensis) – Not much to look at until he flies!
DOLLARBIRD (Eurystomus orientalis) – Fewer this year than usual at Cat Tien NP.
Megalaimidae (Asian Barbets)
COPPERSMITH BARBET (Psilopogon haemacephalus) – Some saw this one briefly, but the rest of us had to be content with a distant calling bird.
BLUE-EARED BARBET (Psilopogon duvaucelii) – We called in one of these for some great scope views at Cat Tien on our final morning there.
RED-VENTED BARBET (Psilopogon lagrandieri) – Nicely from the parking lot at Bong Substation at Cuc Phuong NP. A regional specialty.
GREEN-EARED BARBET (Psilopogon faiostrictus) – Decent scope views at Cuc Phuong NP.
LINEATED BARBET (Psilopogon lineatus) – The best was the bird sitting with the numerous Ashy Woodswallows at Cat Tien NP.
GOLDEN-THROATED BARBET (VIOLET-EARED) (Psilopogon franklinii auricularis) – This distinctive and beautiful race was seen quite well on a couple of occasions in the Mang Den area. Actually quite similar in appearance to the Indochinese Barbet. [N]
INDOCHINESE BARBET (Psilopogon annamensis) – After hearing it a few times around Mang Den, we nailed it in the scopes in the Dalat area. A relatively recent split from the Black-browed Barbet.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
SPECKLED PICULET (Picumnus innominatus) [*]
WHITE-BROWED PICULET (Sasia ochracea) – We tracked this one down as it hammered away in the bamboo near Mang Den.
GRAY-CAPPED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos canicapillus) – Not much bigger than a White-breasted Nuthatch.
STRIPE-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos atratus) – We found a couple of birds associating with some of the mixed flocks in the area.

The Purple-rumped subspecies of Gould's Sunbird should probably be split as a distinct species. Photo by participant Stan Lilley.

WHITE-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus javensis) – Seen by those who hiked to Crocodile Lake – and heard by the rest of us.
GREATER YELLOWNAPE (Picus flavinucha) [*]
STREAK-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Picus viridanus) – As far as surprises on this tour, nothing topped this one, in my opinion. This is essentially a Malayan species that regularly gets as far north as the Kaeng Krachan NP area of Thailand (at the northern base of the Malay Peninsula). Minh, our local guide, said that he had seen one back in 2014 near the park HQ, and, two years later, the author of the Birds of Vietnam app claims to have seen another near the HQ as well. It's, obviously, very similar to the common Laced Woodpecker in the park, but the bird that we saw was finely streaked on the entire underparts, unlike that species. Hopefully, this species will be documented here by some lucky birder sometime soon.
LACED WOODPECKER (Picus vittatus) – Good looks at this one at Cat Tien NP and recorded there daily.
RED-COLLARED WOODPECKER (Picus rabieri) – Groan. The first bird that we encountered when we exited the bus that first afternoon in Cuc Phuong NP just wouldn't cooperate for us, as is usual with this shy species.
COMMON FLAMEBACK (Dinopium javanense) – In the cut fields at Cat Tien NP.
PALE-HEADED WOODPECKER (Gecinulus grantia) – Doug got a quick look, but the rest of us had to settle with the audio. [*]
BLACK-AND-BUFF WOODPECKER (Meiglyptes jugularis) – We found a very cooperative pair of this strange, nearly tailless woodpecker high in the canopy at Cat Tien NP.
GREATER FLAMEBACK (Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus) – Often one of the most common woodpecker voices in Cat Tien NP.
BAY WOODPECKER (Blythipicus pyrrhotis) – Some saw this one perched briefly at Ta Nung Valley, but most had to settle with flight views. Yet another shy SE Asian woodpecker!
HEART-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Hemicircus canente) [*]
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
COLLARED FALCONET (Microhierax caerulescens) – A couple of sightings of this tiny falcon from the deck at Cat Tien.
PIED FALCONET (Microhierax melanoleucos) – We waited just long enough at the roadside pond in Cuc Phuong for this one to make an appearance.
EURASIAN KESTREL (Falco tinnunculus)

This Asian Barred Owlet was another one that behaved well at Cat Tien, and allowed us a nice look. Photo by participant Myles McNally.

PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)
Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
RED-BREASTED PARAKEET (Psittacula alexandri) – We had this one daily at Cat Tien, but we've typically seen more on previous trips than we did this year.
VERNAL HANGING-PARROT (Loriculus vernalis) – A frequent flyby in the south – but it was rarely seen perched.
Eurylaimidae (Asian and Grauer's Broadbills)
BLACK-AND-RED BROADBILL (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos) – We eventually ran across a responsive pair of these along the road to the cut fields at Cat Tien.
SILVER-BREASTED BROADBILL (Serilophus lunatus) – We scored on this little beauty on our first afternoon at Cuc Phuong NP – and never detected it again on the trip after that.
BANDED BROADBILL (Eurylaimus javanicus) – We actually had a three broadbill day on that first full day at Cat Tien, and this was the first one that we saw out on the Heaven Rapids road.
DUSKY BROADBILL (Corydon sumatranus) – Nicely on our first morning at Cat Tien; generally the toughest of the three broadbill species to get in the park.
Pittidae (Pittas)
EARED PITTA (Hydrornis phayrei) [*]
BLUE-RUMPED PITTA (Hydrornis soror) [*]
BLUE PITTA (Hydrornis cyaneus) [*]
BAR-BELLIED PITTA (Hydrornis elliotii) – All of the pittas are difficult, and this is the only one that surrendered a view to us. Beautiful!
Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)
LARGE WOODSHRIKE (Tephrodornis virgatus) – Very shrike-like in appearance.
BAR-WINGED FLYCATCHER-SHRIKE (Hemipus picatus) – Once we got to Mang Den, we recorded this one daily for the remainder of the tour. One of the more vocal and conspicuous members of mixed canopy flocks.
Artamidae (Woodswallows)
ASHY WOODSWALLOW (Artamus fuscus) – I'd never seen a congregation of this species like the one we saw at Cat Tien. It makes me think that this was a wintering flock from farther north.

Guide Doug Gochfeld got this flight shot of the distinctive Black Eagle.

Aegithinidae (Ioras)
COMMON IORA (Aegithina tiphia) – Not the most common Iora of the trip.
GREAT IORA (Aegithina lafresnayei) – A bit reminiscent of a female Scarlet Tanager in plumage, but more vireo-like in behavior.
Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
GRAY-CHINNED MINIVET (Pericrocotus solaris) – This one was perhaps the most common of the minivets in the Mang Den area. Both male and female sport that nice ashy gray throat.
SHORT-BILLED MINIVET (Pericrocotus brevirostris) – Typically found only in the mid- to high-elevation evergreen broadleaf forest, such as the forest around Mang Den.
LONG-TAILED MINIVET (Pericrocotus ethologus annamensis) – The race that we saw is the southernmost of this widespread highland species, and it's also the most isolated population.
SCARLET MINIVET (Pericrocotus speciosus) – Our most widespread minivet. The big flock that we saw at Bong Substation was likely comprised of wintering birds from farther north.
ASHY MINIVET (Pericrocotus divaricatus) – Only a few of these wintering birds around Cat Tien this year.
BROWN-RUMPED MINIVET (Pericrocotus cantonensis) – Another migrant from farther north, this one seemed to outnumber the similar Ashy Minivet at Cuc Phuong this year.
LARGE CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina macei) – A couple of good looks at this one in flight. Note that the cuckooshrikes are no longer all in Coracina (like this one) – the smaller birds, in general, have been placed in the Triller genus Lalage.
BLACK-WINGED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Lalage melaschistos) – Singing in the couple of spots where we recorded it.
INDOCHINESE CUCKOOSHRIKE (Lalage polioptera) – Quite similar to the above Black-winged Cuckooshrike but perhaps best separated by voice.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
BROWN SHRIKE (Lanius cristatus) – Surprisingly scarce on this tour this year.
BURMESE SHRIKE (Lanius collurioides) – The Di Linh area has to be the epicenter for abundance for this species in Vietnam!
LONG-TAILED SHRIKE (Lanius schach) – Almost all of our sightings came from the Mang Den area north to Danang.

Several Rufous-faced Warblers were seen in the Mang Den area, where participant Myles McNally got this nice portrait.

GRAY-BACKED SHRIKE (Lanius tephronotus) – Cuc Phuong NP seems to be a reliable spot for this one in the winter months.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
DALAT SHRIKE-BABBLER (Pteruthius annamensis) – A recent split from the White-browed Shrike-Babbler and confined to the southern highlands of Vietnam. [E]
CLICKING SHRIKE-BABBLER (Pteruthius intermedius) – A bit Wood-warbler-like in appearance.
WHITE-BELLIED ERPORNIS (Erpornis zantholeuca) – Formerly known as the White-bellied Yuhina.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
BLACK-NAPED ORIOLE (Oriolus chinensis) – Just a few of these wintering in the Cat Tien NP area.
SLENDER-BILLED ORIOLE (Oriolus tenuirostris) – Great views of a pair of these in the pines near Dalat on our first afternoon in the area. I don't think I've ever seen this species away from native pines.
BLACK-HOODED ORIOLE (Oriolus xanthornus) – A couple of sightings only in Cat Tien NP. This seems to be a very quiet season for them.
MAROON ORIOLE (Oriolus traillii) – The resident race that we saw from the Mang Den area southward is O.t. robinsoni, which is much darker in plumage than the birds we saw at Cuc Phuong and much more like the birds I see in Thailand.
MAROON ORIOLE (Oriolus traillii nigellicauda) – This bright race is the one that we saw at Cuc Phuong NP. I'm still uncertain whether these birds are resident or if they're wintering/migrant birds.
Dicruridae (Drongos)
BLACK DRONGO (Dicrurus macrocercus) – On our drives in open country in the north.
ASHY DRONGO (Dicrurus leucophaeus) – Most of the birds that we saw from Mang Den southward were all-dark birds – probably a mix of residents and wintering birds from elsewhere.
ASHY DRONGO (CHINESE WHITE-FACED) (Dicrurus leucophaeus leucogenis) – A number of the birds that we saw at Cat Tien NP were these white-faced migrants from China.
BRONZED DRONGO (Dicrurus aeneus) – Mostly in the Cat Tien NP area at clearing edges.
LESSER RACKET-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus remifer) – Most of the mixed flocks that we saw in the Mang Den area had a pair of these.

Some of the highlights of the tour were our sightings of Green Peafowl near Cat Tien. Photo by participant Stan Lilley.

HAIR-CRESTED DRONGO (Dicrurus hottentottus) – This is a species that is probably in need of some taxonomic revision – there are, almost surely, more than one species involved here.
GREATER RACKET-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus paradiseus) – This one tends to occur at lower elevations than the similar Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, but there is some overlap.
Rhipiduridae (Fantails)
WHITE-THROATED FANTAIL (Rhipidura albicollis) – The only fantail encountered on the tour, it occurs both at high and at low elevations in Vietnam.
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
BLACK-NAPED MONARCH (Hypothymis azurea) – Only at Cat Tien NP this year.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
EURASIAN JAY (WHITE-FACED) (Garrulus glandarius leucotis) – Very unlike the birds that you may have seen previously in w. Europe!
WHITE-WINGED MAGPIE (Urocissa whiteheadi) – Some fleeting looks at a flock near Mang Den. This one is always disappointingly shy.
COMMON GREEN-MAGPIE (Cissa chinensis) [*]
INDOCHINESE GREEN-MAGPIE (Cissa hypoleuca) – One that came down to the road edge at Cuc Phuong proved to be this species after Doug examined his photos. We heard others farther south.
RACKET-TAILED TREEPIE (Crypsirina temia) – Good views at Cat Tien NP at this unusual species.
RATCHET-TAILED TREEPIE (Temnurus temnurus) – Briefly for some near Mang Den.
LARGE-BILLED CROW (LARGE-BILLED) (Corvus macrorhynchos macrorhynchos)
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica) – Most of the Cecropis swallows that we saw on the tour turned out to be this species.
STRIATED SWALLOW (Cecropis striolata) – Several birds in the Deo Nui San Pass area looked to be this one, with bolder streaking below and reduced chestnut on the face and nape.

The mammal highlight of our tour was a sighting of these Gaur at Cat Tien. This is a wild "cow" found in the forests of Vietnam, and seldom seen. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

ASIAN HOUSE-MARTIN (Delichon dasypus) – The birds at Deo Nui San Pass were low enough to see the various field marks well.
Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)
GRAY-HEADED CANARY-FLYCATCHER (Culicicapa ceylonensis) – One of the most widespread birds on this tour.
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
SULTAN TIT (Melanochlora sultanea) – The birds that we saw near Bong Substation were clearly yellow-crested birds.
SULTAN TIT (Melanochlora sultanea gayeti) – This was the black-crested 'race' that we saw with all of the mixed flocks in the Mang Den area. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this distinctive form gets split off from the yellow-crested birds to the north and west.
GREEN-BACKED TIT (Parus monticolus legendrei) – Another distinctive Langbian Plateau race that probably ought to be split off as a good species.
JAPANESE TIT (Parus minor nubicolus) – Formerly part of Great Tit, this gray eastern form was split off from the western birds relatively recently.
YELLOW-CHEEKED TIT (Machlolophus spilonotus) – This one seemed to be with most of the mixed flocks that we saw in the Mang Den area.
Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)
BLACK-THROATED TIT (GRAY-CROWNED) (Aegithalos concinnus annamensis) – Another potential split and a pretty common bird from the Mang Den area southward through the highlands.
Sittidae (Nuthatches)
CHESTNUT-VENTED NUTHATCH (Sitta nagaensis) – We found this one only in the Dalat area, and mostly in the native pine forest there.
VELVET-FRONTED NUTHATCH (Sitta frontalis) – Our best looks were in the nice forest below Deo Nui San Pass.
YELLOW-BILLED NUTHATCH (Sitta solangiae) – This scarce and local species was with nearly every mixed species flock that we encountered near Mang Den.
Certhiidae (Treecreepers)
HUME'S TREECREEPER (Certhia manipurensis meridionalis) – A little 'fishing' brought us some exceptional views of this treecreeper along the Mt. Langbian trail. Despite its isolation, birds of this endemic race sound exactly like the Hume's Treecreepers elsewhere in the range.
Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)
BLACK-CRESTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus flaviventris) – Recorded on more days on this tour than any other bulbul species.
RED-WHISKERED BULBUL (Pycnonotus jocosus) – Now extremely rare and local in Vietnam, the easiest place to see them is in downtown Hanoi at Ho Hoan Kiem Lake.

We spent time at the Dong Nai River, where this Stork-billed Kingfisher put in an appearance. Photo by participant Myles McNally.

SOOTY-HEADED BULBUL (Pycnonotus aurigaster) – Perhaps most common at Cat Tien NP.
STRIPE-THROATED BULBUL (Pycnonotus finlaysoni) – One of the most common bulbul species at Cat Tien NP.
FLAVESCENT BULBUL (Pycnonotus flavescens) – Found at higher elevations throughout its range.
STREAK-EARED BULBUL (Pycnonotus conradi) – Common in disturbed habitats in the lowlands of the south.
PUFF-THROATED BULBUL (Alophoixus pallidus) [*]
OCHRACEOUS BULBUL (Alophoixus ochraceus) – Seen by most from the deck at our lodging at Cat Tien NP.
GRAY-EYED BULBUL (Iole propinqua) – I'm not sure which race we had in the north, but it sounded like the birds I see and hear at Khao Yai NP in c. Thailand (I.p. simulator?)
GRAY-EYED BULBUL (INNECTENS) (Iole propinqua innectens) – This was the race that we had in Cat Tien NP, which sound very different than the birds we recorded before we flew to HCMC form Pleiku.
BLACK BULBUL (Hypsipetes leucocephalus) – Most of the Black Bulbuls that we had were the all-black residents.
BLACK BULBUL (LEUCOCEPHALUS GROUP) (Hypsipetes leucocephalus leucothorax) – We did have a number of white-headed migrants from outside Vietnam, both H.l. leucocephalus and H.l. leucothorax.
ASHY BULBUL (Hemixos flavala) – This includes the birds that we had in the Mang Den area.
ASHY BULBUL (ASHY) (Hemixos flavala remotus) – These birds are resident on the Langbian Plateau and there's talk of splitting this endemic race.
CHESTNUT BULBUL (Hemixos castanonotus) – A couple of birds were rare wanderers to Cuc Phuong NP from farther north.
MOUNTAIN BULBUL (Ixos mcclellandii) – Only in the highlands on this tour.
Pnoepygidae (Cupwings)
PYGMY CUPWING (Pnoepyga pusilla annamensis) – One of the many highlights of the tour was coaxing this little cutie into view along the side trail on Mt. Langbian. Formerly called the Pygmy Wren-Babbler, but now the Pnoepyga wren-babblers are all in their own family, the Cupwings.
Scotocercidae (Bush Warblers and Allies)
ASIAN STUBTAIL (Urosphena squameiceps) [*]
GRAY-BELLIED TESIA (Tesia cyaniventer) – A difficult little bird to see well.
YELLOW-BELLIED WARBLER (Abroscopus superciliaris) – This bamboo specialist was seen quite well at Cat Tien NP.
RUFOUS-FACED WARBLER (Abroscopus albogularis) – Several unforgettable looks at this adorable warbler in the Mang Den area.
MOUNTAIN TAILORBIRD (Phyllergates cucullatus) – Nicely in the Ta Nung Valley. No longer aligned with the true tailorbirds, this one is much closer to Yellow-bellied Warbler than it is to them.
Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)
DUSKY WARBLER (Phylloscopus fuscatus) – A few brief looks at this wintering skulker.
YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER (Phylloscopus inornatus) – Recorded on every single day of the tour, the only species that achieved that milestone. Formerly known as the Inornate Warbler.
TWO-BARRED WARBLER (Phylloscopus plumbeitarsus) – Certainly one of the most common Phylloscopus warblers at Cat Tien NP, at least by voice.

This large group of Ashy Woodswallows was possibly a wintering flock. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

PALE-LEGGED LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus tenellipes) – Mostly heard only at Cat Tien, but Bob (and maybe others?) got a look there.
EASTERN CROWNED WARBLER (Phylloscopus coronatus) – One at Cuc Phuong was a very late migrant there.
BLYTH'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus reguloides ticehursti) – A couple of responsive birds at Bidoup NP on our final morning were the first (and only) of the trip.
KLOSS'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus ogilviegranti klossi) – A rather recent split from the White-tailed Leaf Warbler, this is the very brightly-colored member of that group, and the race here, P.o. klossi, is the brightest of the three recognized races.
LIMESTONE LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus calciatilis) – Brief looks for some at this recently described species at Cuc Phuong NP.
PLAIN-TAILED WARBLER (Seicercus soror) – We called this one Plain-tailed Warbler on the tour, but the English name was recently changed to Alström's Warbler (it's now in the genus Phylloscopus along with all of the other Seicercus warblers).
BIANCHI'S WARBLER (Seicercus valentini) – Rather common, by voice at least, at Cuc Phuong NP.
WHITE-SPECTACLED WARBLER (Seicercus affinis affinis) – Nicely at both Mt. Langbian and at Bidoup NP.
CHESTNUT-CROWNED WARBLER (Seicercus castaniceps) – It's tough to keep up with these beautiful warblers when they're darting around like that!
Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)
THICK-BILLED WARBLER (Iduna aedon) [*]
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
PALLAS'S GRASSHOPPER-WARBLER (Locustella certhiola) [*]
LANCEOLATED WARBLER (Locustella lanceolata) [*]
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
COMMON TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus sutorius)
DARK-NECKED TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus atrogularis) – This one is more of a forest border species than the above species, which can be found in any bush in any open habitat or town.
HILL PRINIA (Prinia superciliaris klossi) – Nicely in the open pine forest near Dalat on our first afternoon in the area.

Participant Stan Lilley got a nice shot of this Indochinese Cuckooshrike.

RUFESCENT PRINIA (Prinia rufescens) – A very close study at Bong Substation in Cuc Phuong NP.
YELLOW-BELLIED PRINIA (Prinia flaviventris) [*]
PLAIN PRINIA (Prinia inornata) – Easily seen in the marshy habitat at Van Long Reserve.
Paradoxornithidae (Parrotbills, Wrentit, and Allies)
GRAY-HEADED PARROTBILL (Psittiparus gularis) – This one eluded most folks in the Mang Den area.
BLACK-HEADED PARROTBILL (Psittiparus margaritae) – The big flock that we ha at Deo Nui San Pass was pretty amazing! They just kept coming, and coming, and coming... A relatively recent split from the above Gray-headed Parrotbill. [E]
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
BLACK-CHINNED YUHINA (Yuhina nigrimenta) – We missed this one entirely in 2016, but we recorded them on five different days this year.
ORIENTAL WHITE-EYE (Zosterops palpebrosus) – This is the only White-eye that breeds in the country – the others are migrants from the north.
JAPANESE WHITE-EYE (Zosterops japonicus) – Rather dull-plumaged, compared with the above Oriental White-eye.
Timaliidae (Tree-Babblers, Scimitar-Babblers, and Allies)
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BABBLER (Timalia pileata) – Glimpsed in the weeds at Cat Tien.
PIN-STRIPED TIT-BABBLER (Mixornis gularis) – The book calls this one the Striped Tit-Babbler, but it's been split into two species since that was published. This is the more widespread species.
GRAY-FACED TIT-BABBLER (Mixornis kelleyi) – Very similar to the above Pin-striped Tit-Babbler, and they occur together in many places in s. Vietnam (like Cat Tien NP). This one seems to favor bamboo.
GOLDEN BABBLER (Cyanoderma chrysaeum) – Decent looks at this beauty near Mang Den.
RUFOUS-CAPPED BABBLER (Cyanoderma ruficeps) – I think that the best look that we had was on the last morning when we were heading back to Dalat from Bidoup NP. The songs of this and the above Golden Babbler are very similar.
RED-BILLED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Pomatorhinus ochraceiceps) – Deo Nui San Pass has always been a reliable spot for this striking species.

We had a great encounter with this Brown Hornbill. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

CORAL-BILLED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Pomatorhinus ferruginosus) – Excellent views of a pair of these one afternoon near Mang Den. The race here, P.f. dickinsoni, almost completely lacks the rich buff on the underparts that other races have, making it look quite similar to the above Red-billed Scimitar-Babbler.
WHITE-BROWED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Pomatorhinus schisticeps) [*]
LARGE SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Megapomatorhinus hypoleucos) – We got this one in the scope at Cuc Phuong NP.
GRAY-THROATED BABBLER (Stachyris nigriceps) – Seen well at Bong Substation with one of the few mixed species flocks that we ran across there.
SPOT-NECKED BABBLER (Stachyris strialata) – It was really difficult to get a look at this one as it skulked through the tall canegrass at Cuc Phuong.
Pellorneidae (Ground Babblers and Allies)
BLACK-CROWNED FULVETTA (Schoeniparus klossi) – A recent split from the Rufous-winged Fulvetta, we finally nailed this one in the drizzle on the final morning at Bidoup NP. [E]
RUFOUS-THROATED FULVETTA (Schoeniparus rufogularis) – A couple of small groups of these showed well for us at Cuc Phuong NP.
PUFF-THROATED BABBLER (Pellorneum ruficeps) – Seen ridiculously well at both Cuc Phuong and at Cat Tien NP.
SPOT-THROATED BABBLER (Pellorneum albiventre) [*]
BUFF-BREASTED BABBLER (Pellorneum tickelli) [*]
EYEBROWED WREN-BABBLER (Napothera epilepidota) – Very common , by voice, in the Mang Den area, but a real pain to try and see well!
SHORT-TAILED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Napothera danjoui) – After a long hike in the forest, with this as one of our main targets, we found one right where the bus was parked along the road – but it proved to be quite difficult to see well. This one was recently taken out of the monotypic genus Jabouilleia and placed with the wren-babbler genus Napothera.
ABBOTT'S BABBLER (Turdinus abbotti) – We finally found a cooperative pair at Cat Tien NP.
LIMESTONE WREN-BABBLER (GRAYISH) (Turdinus crispifrons annamensis) – Great looks along the trail to the Cave of Prehistoric Man (or – the Prehistoric Man Cave). There's been talk of splitting up the three races that make up Limestone Wren-Babbler, so keep track of these...

The Gray-crowned race of the Black-throated Tit was pretty common in the highlands south of Mang Den. Photo by participant Myles McNally.

STREAKED WREN-BABBLER (Turdinus brevicaudatus) – Fleeting looks near Mang Den.
Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)
MOUNTAIN FULVETTA (Alcippe peracensis) – One of the most common understory birds in the Mang Den and Dalat areas.
BLACK-BROWED FULVETTA (Alcippe grotei) – The expected Alcippe fulvetta in Cuc Phuong NP.
VIETNAMESE CUTIA (Cutia legalleni) – A bit of 'fishing' at Deo Nui San Pass produced some really memorable views of this recently-split Vietnamese endemic. Beautiful! [E]
WHITE-CRESTED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Garrulax leucolophus) – This was the only laughingthrush that we recorded at Cat Tien NP.
BLACK-HOODED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Garrulax milleti) – Found this year at both Mang Den and at Deo Nui San Pass – but not particularly easy to see!
ORANGE-BREASTED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Garrulax annamensis) – This endemic laughingthrush, recently split from Spot-breasted Laughingthrush, was particularly difficult to see well at Deo Nui San Pass. [E]
WHITE-CHEEKED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Ianthocincla vassali) – Quite a few of these were mixed in with that giant flock of Black-headed Parrotbills at Deo Nui San Pass.
COLLARED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Trochalopteron yersini) – In the scope no less! Minh knew precisely where to go try for this lovely endemic laughingthrush. [E]
BLACK-HEADED SIBIA (LANG BIAN) (Heterophasia desgodinsi robinsoni) – I suspect that this very range-restricted and distinctive race will one day be split from the very different Black-headed Sibia to the north and west.
SILVER-EARED MESIA (Leiothrix argentauris) – Heard exceptionally well, but difficult to see at all off the roadside near Mang Den.
RUFOUS-BACKED SIBIA (Minla annectens) – Great views of this one in the Ta Nung Valley near Dalat.
GRAY-CROWNED CROCIAS (Crocias langbianis) – We had even better views of this fancy endemic babbler in the Ta Nung Valley! Fantastic! Rediscovered here after a long period of being thought possibly extinct, more and more visiting birders are finding this one, which had near-mythical status when I first birded Vietnam in the 90's! [E]

We saw some gorgeous butterflies, including this fabulous White Dragontail. Photo by participant Stan Lilley.

BLACK-CROWNED BARWING (Actinodura sodangorum) – Lo Xo Pass didn't disappoint us with this recently described species, though we did get a little discouraged after we didn't find it in the spot where I'd seen it the previous year with my tour group! [E]
BLUE-WINGED MINLA (Actinodura cyanouroptera) – The race around Mang Den looks more 'typical' of the birds that I've seen elsewhere in SE Asia.
BLUE-WINGED MINLA (Actinodura cyanouroptera orientalis) – This isolated endemic race is larger, duller, and lacks any visible blue in the plumage, making it a good candidate for a split, in my opinion.
Irenidae (Fairy-bluebirds)
ASIAN FAIRY-BLUEBIRD (Irena puella) – What a striking bird!
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa dauurica) – After our first on the first afternoon in Hanoi, we didn't encounter this migrant again until we got to Cat Tien NP.
ORIENTAL MAGPIE-ROBIN (Copsychus saularis) – Surprisingly scarce here!
WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA (Copsychus malabaricus) – Nothing could beat our looks of this one at that shrinking forest pool next to the road at Cat Tien NP!
RUFOUS-BROWED FLYCATCHER (Anthipes solitaris) [*]
HAINAN BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis hainanus) – A very common roadside bird at Cat Tien NP – but not always easy to see.
PALE BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis unicolor) – Heard very well at Deo Nui San Pass. [*]
HILL BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis banyumas) [*]
TICKELL'S BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis tickelliae) – A bamboo specialist at Cat Tien NP.
LARGE NILTAVA (Niltava grandis decorata) – This one is probably a good candidate for a split given that it's isolated, it sounds quite different from other 'races', and the female plumage is quite distinct.
FUJIAN NILTAVA (Niltava davidi) – A couple of brief birds at Cuc Phuong NP, where they winter.

The White-rumped Shama that we saw at Cat Tien NP posed for this lovely portrait by guide Doug Gochfeld.

VERDITER FLYCATCHER (Eumyias thalassinus) – Quite widespread on this tour.
LESSER SHORTWING (Brachypteryx leucophris carolinae) – This was the bird that most of us saw next to the road at Cuc Phuong NP.
LESSER SHORTWING (Brachypteryx leucophris langbianensis) – This is the endemic race found in the Dalat area that some folks have talked about splitting off as a separate species. Some of us got a look at it on our final morning at Bidoup NP.
RUFOUS-TAILED ROBIN (Larvivora sibilans) – Seeing this one foraging on the road at Cuc Phuong at first light is a good strategy for actually seeing this shy species.
SIBERIAN BLUE ROBIN (Larvivora cyane) [*]
BLUE WHISTLING-THRUSH (YELLOW-BILLED) (Myophonus caeruleus eugenei) [*]
WHITE-CROWNED FORKTAIL (Enicurus leschenaulti) [*]
SPOTTED FORKTAIL (Enicurus maculatus robinsoni) – The final big birding surprise of the tour was seeing this incredible bird fly in and land on the road that we were birding on at Bidoup NP. After hearing a couple of other forktail species during the trip, it was a real treat to finally see one!
SLATY-BACKED FORKTAIL (Enicurus schistaceus) [*]
SIBERIAN RUBYTHROAT (Calliope calliope) [*]
WHITE-TAILED ROBIN (Myiomela leucura) – A male briefly on the Cuc Phuong NP road for some.
MUGIMAKI FLYCATCHER (Ficedula mugimaki) – We had several wintering birds throughout the tour.
SNOWY-BROWED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula hyperythra) – A single male briefly for some on the final morning.
LITTLE PIED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula westermanni) – Only in the Dalat area on this tour.
TAIGA FLYCATCHER (Ficedula albicilla) – Inexplicably scarce on this tour.

The male Gray Bushchat is an Old World flycatcher that looks a lot like a shrike. Photo by participant Stan Lilley.

PLUMBEOUS REDSTART (Phoenicurus fuliginosus) – A pair at Lo Xo Pass performed well for the group below our perch on the highway bridge.
WHITE-THROATED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola gularis) – A couple of wintering males at Cat Tien NP and near Dalat.
BLUE ROCK-THRUSH (PANDOO) (Monticola solitarius pandoo) – All of the males that we saw appeared to be this all-blue race.
SIBERIAN STONECHAT (SIBERIAN) (Saxicola maurus maurus) – Scarce on this tour, even in what looks to be perfect wintering habitat.
GRAY BUSHCHAT (Saxicola ferreus) – We had the expected birds high in the pine forest near Dalat, but the birds at Cuc Phuong NP seemed quite low to me.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
ORANGE-HEADED THRUSH (Geokichla citrina) – We sort of expected the birds along the road in Cuc Phuong, but the pair of birds at Cat Tien NP were a surprise.
BLACK-BREASTED THRUSH (Turdus dissimilis) – A single female-plumaged bird along the road at Cuc Phuong.
JAPANESE THRUSH (Turdus cardis) – These beautiful thrushes were around Cuc Phuong NP in good numbers this year, showing us all of the plumage variants possible.
CHINESE BLACKBIRD (Turdus mandarinus mandarinus) – A recent split from Eurasian Blackbird, we found this one around in small numbers at Cuc Phuong NP.
EYEBROWED THRUSH (Turdus obscurus) – Not many this year, but most of us got some sort of look at a wintering flock in the forest near Mang Den.
GREEN COCHOA (Cochoa viridis) – Heard calling upslope from the road on our final morning at Bidoup NP. [*]
Sturnidae (Starlings)
GOLDEN-CRESTED MYNA (Ampeliceps coronatus) – Some saw this one perched up early in the morning from the deck at Cat Tien NP.
COMMON HILL MYNA (Gracula religiosa) – Mostly heard only, but we did manage to see a pair along the Heaven Rapids road at Cat Tien NP.

Participant Robert Pacheco took this photo of our group birding at sunset in Cat Tien NP.

BLACK-COLLARED STARLING (Gracupica nigricollis) – The largest of the starlings on the tour, and around in good numbers in the agricultural fields near Mang Den.
COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) – Only in Danang and Dalat.
VINOUS-BREASTED STARLING (Acridotheres burmannicus) – There seemed to be a pretty good evening flight of these in the fields at Cat Tien NP, but our best looks were at Lo Xo Pass.
Chloropseidae (Leafbirds)
BLUE-WINGED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis cochinchinensis) – We found this one at most of our major forested venues.
GOLDEN-FRONTED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis aurifrons) – Cat Tien NP again proved to be the best spot for this one on the tour.
ORANGE-BELLIED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis hardwickii) – The female of this subspecies (C.h. melliana) lacks the orange on the belly of other races to the north and west, so it could be confused with a female Blue-winged Leafbird.
Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)
THICK-BILLED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum agile) – Nice looks at a bird visiting the fruiting tree at our lodging at Cat Tien NP.
YELLOW-VENTED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum chrysorrheum) – A regular at the same fruiting tree off of the deck at Cat Tien NP.
FIRE-BREASTED FLOWERPECKER (FIRE-BREASTED) (Dicaeum ignipectus ignipectus) – A few fancy males seen in the highlands near Mang Den and Dalat.
SCARLET-BACKED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum cruentatum) – Usually the most common of the flowerpeckers in the lowlands.
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
RUBY-CHEEKED SUNBIRD (Chalcoparia singalensis) – A gorgeous little sunbird – that doesn't really look like a sunbird!
VAN HASSELT'S SUNBIRD (Leptocoma brasiliana emmae) – A rather recent split form Purple-throated Sunbird and seen fairly well at Cat Tien by most.
OLIVE-BACKED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris jugularis) – One of the most widespread of all of the sunbirds.

In Cat Tien NP, we also found several Barking Deer, or Muntjac. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

BLACK-THROATED SUNBIRD (Aethopyga saturata ochra) – These were the Black-throated Sunbirds (the REAL ones) that we saw in the Mang Den area. They pretty much look the same in Thailand, s. China, Nepal, etc.
BLACK-THROATED SUNBIRD (Aethopyga saturata johnsi) – This was the endemic 'race' that we first saw at Deo Nui San Pass and then in the Dalat area. Looking more like a Gould's Sunbird than the nearest subspecies of Black-throated Sunbird in Vietnam, it's high time that this one be split from Black-throated (at least make it a separate 'subspecies group', eBird!).
GOULD'S SUNBIRD (Aethopyga gouldiae) – The birds that we saw around Mang Den area certainly different from the the ones we saw in the Dalat area, but I don't think that these birds have been assigned to a known Gould's Sunbird subspecies (they may be a new subspecies, given their isolation from the others).
GOULD'S SUNBIRD (PURPLE-RUMPED) (Aethopyga gouldiae annamensis) – Like the above Black-throated Sunbirds, it's time to split off this isolated and endemic 'race' as a good species separate from Gould's.
CRIMSON SUNBIRD (Aethopyga siparaja) – The adult males sure are easy to pick out...
FORK-TAILED SUNBIRD (Aethopyga christinae) – We encountered this one most commonly in Cuc Phuong NP, but they were certainly present as far south as Mang Den.
LITTLE SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera longirostra) – Good views of a few responsive birds at Cat Tien NP.
PURPLE-NAPED SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera hypogrammicum) – We finally got a decent view of this one at Cat Tien NP. Called Purple-naped Sunbird in the books and placed in the monotypic genus Hyprogramma. (before it was merged with the spiderhunters)
STREAKED SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera magna) – We recorded this one virtually everywhere, including my first ever at Cat Tien NP.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
FOREST WAGTAIL (Dendronanthus indicus) – After flushing a few off of the dirt roads at Cat Tien, we got one to return to the road, giving all a decent look as it foraged ahead of the park vehicle.
GRAY WAGTAIL (Motacilla cinerea)
WHITE WAGTAIL (Motacilla alba) – Only on our first afternoon in Hanoi.
OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT (Anthus hodgsoni) – Right on cue, we found a few of these foraging in the path ahead of us as we hiked along the Mount Langbian trail near Dalat.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
VIETNAMESE GREENFINCH (Chloris monguilloti) – Excellent looks at several birds in the pines on our first afternoon in the Dalat area. [E]

A small toad provided some comic relief one day; guide Doug Gochfeld got this video as it slowly walked through the frame.
RED CROSSBILL (DA LAT) (Loxia curvirostra meridionalis) – Good scope studies of this very large-billed 'race' in the pines near Dalat.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Mostly in the Dalat area.
Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)
ASIAN GOLDEN WEAVER (Ploceus hypoxanthus) – A few at Crocodile Lake for those who made the hike.
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
WHITE-RUMPED MUNIA (Lonchura striata) – Gathering nesting material in the Ta Nung Valley near Dalat. [N]
SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura punctulata) – A.k.a – Nutmeg Mannikin.

NORTHERN TREESHREW (Tupaia berlangeri) – At Cuc Phuong, and at Cat Tien NP, where it occurs with the next species.
NORTHERN SMOOTH-TAILED TREESHREW (Dendrogale murina) – The high-pitched trills coming from the understory at Cat Tien turned out to be this treeshrew species.
RHESUS MONKEY (Macaca mulatta) – A few of these introduced primates were spotted along the main road at Cat Tien NP. [I]
BLACK-SHANKED DOUC LANGUR (Pygathrix nigripes) – Found rather easily this year at Cat Tien NP. This is the only one of the three recognized douc langurs that occupies lowland forest.
YELLOW-CHEEKED GIBBON (Nomascus gabriellae) [*]
BLACK GIANT SQUIRREL (Ratufa bicolor) – For some folks in the Dalat area and at Deo Nui San Pass. When you first see it, you think you've got a weird primate!
RED-BELLIED SQUIRREL (Callosciurus erythraeus) – Also called the Pallas's Squirrel.
FINLAYSON'S SQUIRREL (Callosciurus finlaysoni) – These were the squirrels that we saw in Hanoi on our first afternoon.
CAMBODIAN STRIPED SQUIRREL (Tamiops rodolphii) – The chipmunk-like squirrels that we saw at Cat Tien NP.
FORMOSAN STRIPED SQUIRREL (Tamiops maritimus) – Another name for this one is Eastern Striped Squirrel.
ASIAN RED-CHEEKED SQUIRREL (Dremomys rufigenis) – On the road one morning at Cuc Phuong NP.
NORWAY (BROWN) RAT (Rattus norvegicus) – One of the more expected mammals to be seen in downtown Hanoi.
WILD BOAR (Sus scrofa) – We ran across a big group of these next to the road at Cat Tien as we headed back to the lodge.
LESSER MOUSE DEER (Tragulus javanicus) – We saw one of these tiny forest deer cross the road ahead of our vehicle one morning at Cat Tien NP.
MUNTJAC (BARKING DEER) (Muntiacus muntjak) – Several of these in the cut fields late in the afternoon at Cat Tien NP.
SAMBAR (Cervus unicolor) – These seemed to come out only after sunset at Cat Tien NP.
GAUR (Bos gaurus) – One of the best mammal surprises of the trip was seen a group of these at dusk at Cat Tien NP. There can't be many places left in Vietnam where this native wild forest 'cow' occurs!
COMMON HOUSE GECKO (Hemidactylus frenatus)
SIAMESE CROCODILE (Crocodylus siamensis) – A treat for those who made the hike into Crocodile Lake at Cat Tien NP. They're doing quite well at this site.
TOKAY GECKO (Gekko gecko) – Mostly heard on this tour, but seen by some at Cat Tien NP at our lodging.
Other Creatures of Interest
BROWN LEECH (Haemadipsa zyelanica) – Everybody got to know this one pretty well by the end of the trip...
COMMON BIRDWING (Tioides helena (Papilionidae)) – This was the big, black butterfly with the yellow hindwing that we saw mostly at Cat Tien NP.
GREEN DRAGONTAIL (Lamproptera meges) – This fantastic little butterfly with the long 'tails' was seen only at Cat Tien NP this year.
TARANTULA, SP. (Chilobrachys dyscalus) – Somebody had a close encounter with this one at Cat Tien, I believe. Sometimes called the Vietnamese Blue Tarantula.


Totals for the tour: 345 bird taxa and 17 mammal taxa