Trip Report: Southern Vietnam, March 13-27, 1999
David Fischer, Essendon, Victoria, Australia;
My 11-year old son and I went on a birding trip to southern Vietnam for a
couple of weeks in March. This was our first journey to Vietnam. We spent
most of our time in Nam Bai Cat Tien National Park (Cat Tien) and in the
Dalat area. Cat Tien is located in the hot lowlands and supports mostly
tropical deciduous forest with some tropical evergreen and bamboo forests.
Dalat is situated in the cool central highlands and is surrounded by hills
with scented pines and patches of tropical montane forest. Cat Tien is
approximately 160 kms north and Dalat about 300 kms north of Ho Chi Minh
We saw very little forest remaining in southern Vietnam, and none of what we
visited was pristine. Cat Tien still shows the effects of defoliants that
were sprayed during the Vietnam War. Large trees were present but these did
not form a closed canopy. As a result, the undergrowth was dense, and
visibility was reduced to a few meters off the trails. The tropical forests
around Dalat have receded to the upper slopes of the mountains where they
are still under continuous attack. We saw woodcutters in the forests every
day and observed the felling of several large trees. Pits for making
charcoal were a frequent sight. The future of the Dalat endemics does not
Our transport consisted of a car with driver arranged at our hotel in Ho Chi
Minh City. The car took us to Cat Tien and returned a few days later to
take us to Dalat. The total cost for this service was US$130. Around
Dalat, we used motorcycle taxis that could be found everywhere. All that
was necessary was to write down the name of the desired destination and then
hand the paper to the driver to receive an initial quote. We returned to Ho
Chi Minh City from Dalat by bus, and this cost US$20 for the two of us.
Southern Vietnam is unlike any place that I have previously visited. The
people are exceptionally friendly and often came up to speak with us or at
least smiled and waved to us. Although we do not speak Vietnamese, we did
not have problems organizing transport, food, or accommodation.
13 Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh City.
14 Ho Chi Minh City to Nam Bai Cat Tien National Park.
15-17 Nam Bai Cat Tien National Park.
18 Nam Bai Cat Tien National Park to Dalat.
19 Ho Tuyen Lam.
20 Ho Tuyen Lam.
21 Datanla Falls.
22 Lang Bian.
23 Datanla Falls.
24 Ho Tuyen Lam.
25 Datanla Falls.
26 Dalat to Ho Chi Minh City.
27 Ho Chi Minh City to Melbourne.
Notes On Sites
Nam Bai Cat Tien National Park
We had difficulty finding the national park. We mistakenly turned off the
main highway at Ma Da Gui and travelled for more than an hour along a dusty
road to the small village of Dong Nai. Our driver stopped and talked with
the locals to ascertain the correct route into the park. After a couple of
hours of further driving, we finally reached the park headquarters. We did
not have reservations, and since it was a Sunday, we were lucky to find an
empty cabin. One of the administrative staff provided me we the following
email address where reservations may be made:
(telephone 84-8820-3995). The accommodation was nearly empty during the
week but was heavily booked each weekend. Food at the national park was
excellent with many courses served at both lunch and dinner for a total of
Most early mornings were foggy, so we birded along the road from the
headquarters towards Dac Lua. We found a variety of birds perched in the
leafless treetops including Orange-breasted and Pompadour Green Pigeons,
Linneated and Red-vented Barbets, Long-tailed Broadbill, Gold-crested Mynas
and Vinous-breasted Starlings. Later, as the day became hot, we ventured
along various trails that passed through the interior of the deciduous
forest. One day, we found a single male and several female Siamese
Firebacks, a pair of Germain's Peacock-Pheasants, a pair of Scaly-breasted
Partridges and a flock of Jungle Fowl along the trail that connects the Dac
Lua road with the loop trail near the headquarters. Another good area
during the hot hours of the day was the evergreen forest in the vicinity of
the waterfall. Not only was it cooler there, but bird activity remained
good throughout the day. Some of the highlights in the evergreen forest
included Asian Barred-Owlets, Orange-breasted Trogon, Bar-bellied Pitta, and
We spent the last hour of most days watching a small pool in a streambed
that was located near the loop trail. Many birds flew to the pool to bathe.
The greatest surprise was the stealthy approach and bathing by a
Slaty-legged Crake. The bird was extremely shy and darted back to cover on
4 occasions. We had terrific views of this secretive rail. Some of the
other species that used this pool included numerous Siberian Robins,
Puff-throated Babblers, Scaly-crowned Babblers, Tickell's Blue Flycatchers,
Puff-throated Bulbuls, White-rumped Shamas, and a Stork-billed Kingfisher.
We hired (US$20) the park jeep one day to take us out to the bamboo forests
in the vicinity of Dac Lua. We wanted to leave at 5 am but the driver was
not ready until 5:45 am. We arrived too late to see the Green Peafowl fly
from the bamboo hills, but we did hear a single peafowl calling. We also
heard a partridge (not Scaly-breasted) calling from a bamboo-covered hill
near Dac Lua. This is an area where the endangered Orange-necked Partridge
may be found. We had great views of a Blue-bearded Bee-eater that sallied
from bamboo stalks. Our driver took us a few kilometers from Dac Lua to a
wetland known as Bao Beo. Unfortunately, the marsh was nearly dry. In the
remaining wet area, we found a Red-wattled Lapwing, a Cinnamon Bittern, a
Green Sandpiper and many breeding-plumaged Chinese Pond-Herons.
Dalat was well worth a visit. Not only was the birding good, but the city
was interesting to explore. As usual, there was a large central market
where a variety of strange tropical fruits could be purchased. One of our
favorites was the large, beautifully patterned (magenta and green) Dragon
Fruit. While exploring the market, we encountered a man whose bicycle was
covered with cages containing birds for sale. Several of the cages were
filled with White-shouldered and Vinous-breasted Starlings that had been
dyed canary yellow. Other unfortunate birds included some of the Dalat
endemics such as Black-hooded and White-cheeked Laughingthrushes and the
beautiful grey-backed race of the Black-backed Sibia.
The social event of the day seemed to be kite-flying. Between 4 and 5 p.m.
every day, a few hundred people would gather near the reservoir in town to
fly kites that were shaped like sharks, birds, butterflies or of more
familiar designs. The kites often become tangled together and would then
crash into the water to the amusement of the many onlookers. My son had a
great time here.
The best birding in the Dalat area was on the forested slopes behind Ho
Tuyen Lam. We usually left our hotel at 5:45 and then used a motorcycle
taxi to take us on the 15-minute journey to the boat dock. A 30 minute boat
ride (US$15 return) was then required to reach the far end of the reservoir.
The main trail that should be followed is visible from a fair distance out
on the water, and it progresses up a hillside that is covered with pine
forest. In theses pines, we found Vietnamese Greenfinches, Red Crossbills,
Chinese Francolins, Grey Bushchats, Brown-throated Creepers and
Chestnut-vented Nuthatches on every visit. Several Slender-billed Orioles
were sighted one day, and Cutias were seen twice.
The main trail continues through pine forest before branching and dropping
down to a bay of the reservoir. It then follows a gully with a remnant patch
of wet tropical forest before emerging at a small farm. This wet forest was
good for Lesser Shortwings, Grey-bellied Tesia and White-spectacled Warbler.
The trail passes through the middle of the farm and then forks. The trail to
the left is Brian Gee's "Crocias" trail. We found the trail to the right to
be better with more intact forest. This trail initially passes through
disturbed habitat along a small creek before reaching a coffee plantation.
It then continues through good forest for perhaps a couple of kilometers
before reaching a ridgetop. The slope beyond the ridgetop was totally
This forest was very productive. We found the endangered Grey-crowned
Crocias on two occasions. The first sighting was of a single bird that was
travelling with a mixed-species flock near the ridgetop. On the second
occasion, a pair was located with another mixed-species flock just above the
coffee plantation. Other good birds included Bar-backed Partridges, a few
flocks of the very shy Black-hooded Laughingthrushes, Grey-headed
Parrotbills, Black-throated Tits, Yellow-billed Nuthatches and Gould's
Sunbirds. The clearing beyond the ridgetop also produced a few interesting
species such as Changeable Hawk-Eagles, Chestnut Buntings, and three
Yellow-billed Nuthatches. We also glimpsed a few mammals (macaques, tree
shrews, and squirrels including Giant Black) but these were exceptionally
wary probably due to hunting pressures. We heard a few distant gunshots
during our visits.
We climbed Mt. Lang Bian on one occasion. We hired motorbikes at 5:30 a.m.
for the 40 minute journey to the trailhead. At first, the trail climbs
through pine forest before dropping a little to a saddle between the
pine-covered mountain and the tropical forest that grows on the upper slopes
of Lang Bian. It took us about 2 hours to reach the saddle and then another
hour to climb up the steep and slippery trail to the peak. Most of the trees
on the upper slope were covered with moss. Birds in this mossy forest
included Rufous-gorgeted Flycatchers, Black-throated Tits, Grey-bellied
Tesia, Chestnut-fronted Shrike-Babblers, Rufous-winged Fulvetta,
Rufous-fronted Babblers and a Black Eagle that soared over the summit.
In the early morning, the saddle area and upper slopes of Lang Bian were
windy and few birds here heard or seen. On our descent at noon, there was
greater activity. As we walked down the mountain, I played a tape of the
Collared Laughingthrush and obtained responses at 4 locations. All of these
birds were calling from thick cover on the saddle or the adjacent lower
slope of Lang Bian. This species was shy, and only a single bird was briefly
sighted. Other birds in the saddle area included Red Crossbills and
Vietnamese Greenfinches that bathed in a pool of water on the trail,
numerous Olive-backed Pipits and Grey Bushchats. After descending the
mountain, we walked into the Lak village where we were able to arrange a car
to drive us back to Dalat.
The other area near Dalat that we visited on three occasions was Datanla
Falls. The site was not large, but we enjoyed the scenery and found quite a
number of interesting birds. The valley along the river supported tropical
forest, but pines covered the surrounding slopes. We tried to arrive before
7 am so that we were the first to walk down the trails each morning. Blue
Whistling-Thrushes were easy to see at this time of the morning along the
track to the falls. White-cheeked Laughingthrushes were also easy to find
and were not nearly as shy as the other species of Laughingthrushes recorded
on the trip. Other good birds included a pair of Slaty-backed Forktails at
the falls, a pair of Red-headed Trogons, Lesser Shortwings and a stunning
male Blue-and-White Flycatcher in good light. Many Vietnamese tourists visit
the falls but birding usually remained good through the day. A number of
beautiful butterflies was also sighted in the area including one the
delicately patterned Asian Map Butterflies and an amazing Lacewing.
Systematic List Of Birds
- Little Grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis - common Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Little Cormorant, Phalacrocorax fusicollis - 1 Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Little Egret, Egretta garzetta - a few Bao Beo, Cat Tien.
- Great Egret, Ardea alba - a few Bao Beo, Cat Tien.
- Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis - a few each day, Cat Tien.
- Chinese Pond-Heron, Ardeola bacchus - up to 15 each day, Cat Tien.
- Cinnamon Bittern, Ixobrychus cinnamomeus - 1 Bao Beo, Cat Tien, and 1 Ho
- Malaysian Night-Heron, Goraschius melanolophus - 1 along trail connecting
Dac Lua road with loop trail, Cat Tien.
- Woolly-necked Stork, Ciconia episcopus - 3 soaring near Dac Lua, Cat Tien
- Osprey, Pandion haliaetus - pair each day at Ho Tuyen Lam and once at Cat
- Black Baza, Aviceda leuphotes - several in transit to Cat Tien, and a few
near the waterfall, Cat Tien.
- Black-shouldered Kite, Elanus caeruleus - 2 seen while driving from Dalat to
- Crested Serpent-Eagle, Spilornis cheela - Pair near waterfall, Cat Tien and
from ridgetop, Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Crested Goshawk, Accipiter trivirgatus - displaying pair, Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Shikra, Accipiter badius - Pair seen near headquarters and another lone bird
near the waterfall, Cat Tien.
- Grey-faced Buzzard, Butastur indicus - 1 at Lang Bian, and 1 at Datanla
- Black Eagle, Ictinaetus malayensis - 1 over summit of Lang Bian.
- Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Spizaetus cirrhatus - 1 adult and 1 young, Datanla
Falls. 1 adult with dark barring in wings and tail from ridgetop, Ho Tuyen
(Bonnelli's Eagle, Hieraaetus fasciatus - an immature large raptor that was
mostly reddish brown below with barring on wings and tail was seen near Bao
Beo, Cat Tien. It was thought to be this species.)
- Chinese Francolin, Francolinus pintadeanus - frequently heard and 1 seen at
Ho Tuyen Lam. Others were heard on the pine slope below Lang Bian.
- Bar-backed Partridge, Arborophila brunneopectus - several heard or seen each
day at Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Scaly-breasted Partridge, Arborophila chloropus - several heard or seen each
day at Cat Tien.
- Red Junglefowl, Gallus gallus - common at Cat Tien, particularly at Bao Beo.
- Siamese Fireback, Lophura diardi - a flock consisting of 1 male and several
females was sighted along the track between the Dac Lua road and the loop
track. The male reared and drummed its wings after running from the trail.
A female was also sighted on the road early in the morning when driving to
- Germain's Peacock-Pheasant, Polyplectron germaini - a pair was sighted along
the track between the Dac Lua road, (Cat Tien), with the loop track. Both
birds were vocal.
- Green Peafowl, Pavo muticus - 1 heard calling from a bamboo-covered hill
near Dac Lua, Cat Tien.
- Slaty-legged Crake, Rallina eurizonoides - 1 observed bathing in a small
pool in a nearly dry streambed, Cat Tien. Superb views were obtained with a
telescope from 5 m.
- White-breasted Waterhen, Amaurornis phoenicurus - 1 observed bathing each
evening in a small pool in a nearly dry streambed, Cat Tien. 1 flushed from
flooded, grassy area, Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Green Sandpiper, Tringa ochrops - 1 Bao Beo, Cat Tien
- Common Sandpiper, Tringa hypoleucos - 1 at waterfall, Cat Tien.
- Red-wattled Lapwing, Vanellus indicus - 1 Bao Loc, Cat Tien
- Spotted Dove, Streptopelia chinensis - common Cat Tien, a few at Ho Tuyen
- Red Collared-Dove, Streptopelia tranquebarica - several along dirt track to
- Barred Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia unchall - small numbers flying over forest at
Ho Tuyem Lam and Lang Bian on each visit.
- Emerald Dove, Chalcophaps indica - 2 each day, Cat Tien.
- Orange-breasted Pigeon, Treron bicincta - a few each morning in treetops,
- Pompadour Green-Pigeon, Treron pompadora - a few each morning in treetops,
- Thick-billed Pigeon, Treron curvirostra - common at Cat Tien.
- Green Imperial-Pigeon, Ducula aenea - 2 at headquarters, Cat Tien.
- Mountain Imperial-Pigeon, Ducula badia - several seen or heard each trip to
Ho Tuyen Lam, Lang Bian, and Datanla Falls.
- Vernal Hanging-Parrot, Loriculus vernalis - common Cat Tien.
- Grey-headed Parakeet, Psittacula finschii - 4 Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Red-breasted Parakeet, Psittacula alexandri - common at Cat Tien
- Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Cuculus sparverioides - 1 heard at Cat Tien.
- Indian Cuckoo, Cuculus micropterus - 1 heard at Datanla Falls.
- Banded Bay Cuckoo, Cacomantis sonneratii - a few by call each day at Cat
Tien, Ho Tuyen Lam and Datanla Falls.
- Plaintive Cuckoo, Cacomantis merulinus - 1 Cat Tien.
- Violet Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus - 1 Cat Tien.
- Drongo Cuckoo, Surniculus lugubris - Heard daily at Cat Tien and Ho Tuyen
- Asian Koel, Eudynamys scolopacea - 1 heard at Cat Tien and 1 heard at
- Green-billed Malkoha, Phaenicophaeus tristis - several daily at Cat Tien and
- Greater Coucal, Centropus sinensis - 1 seen and others heard at Cat Tien.
- Lesser Coucal, Centropus bengalensis - several each day at Cat Tien.
- Collared Scops-Owl, Otus lempiji - 1 pair heard and sighted in the pine
forest, Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Asian Barred Owlet, Glaucidium cuculoides - at least 2 birds sighted Cat
- Great Eared-Nightjar, Eurostopodus macrotis - Up to 6 heard or seen near
headquarters and 1 flushed from trail, Cat Tien. Very large nightjar.
- Large-tailed Nightjar, Caprimulgus macrurus - several heard each morning and
evening, Cat Tien.
- Silver-backed Needletail, Hirundapus cochinchinensis - a few at Cat Tien.
- Asian Palm-Swift, Cypsiurus balasiensis - several each day, Cat Tien.
- House Swift, Apus nipalensis - common Dalat, a few Cat Tien.
- Orange-breasted Trogon, Harpactes oreskios - seen twice near waterfall, Cat
- Red-headed Trogon, Harpactes erythrocephalus - one or two seen daily at Ho
Tuyen Lam or Datanla Falls.
- Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis - 1 at small pool in a nearly dry
streambed, Cat Tien. 1 at Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Banded Kingfisher, Lacedo pulchella - 1 male heard and seen in woodland
beyond the bamboo hills near Dac Lua, Cat Tien.
- Stork-billed Kingfisher, Pelargopsis capensis - 1 at small pool in a nearly
dry streambed, Cat Tien.
- White-throated Kingfisher, Halcyon smyrnensis - 1 seen daily at Cat Tien.
- Pied Kingfisher, Ceryle rudis - 1 near Dong Nai.
- Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Nyctyornis athertoni - pair along loop trail near
headquarters and 1 in bamboo forest near Dac Lua.
- Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Merops leschenaulti - several each day at Cat
- Indian Roller, Coracias benghalensis - several each day at Cat Tien
- Dollarbird, Eurystomus orientalis - several each day at Cat Tien
- Oriental Pied-Hornbill, Anthracoceros albirostris - a maximum of 6 at Cat
Tien. One evening, we saw a cloud of dust arising from the road as returned
from the waterfall to the headquarters. With the telescope, we could see 6
of these birds dust-bathing. They covered themselves with so much dust that
a puff of dust arose from them when they flew and landed in a nearby tree
and later when the left this tree to fly to another.
(Great Hornbill, Buceros bicornis - heard a few times at Cat Tien. Seen by
other birders during our visit.)
- Wreathed Hornbill, Aceros undulatus - flock of 10 seen flying over a
forested gorge of the escarpment near Bao Loc (transit from Cat Tien to
Dalat). We would have missed the birds had it not been for our overheating
- Red-vented Barbet, Megalaima lagrandieri - 2 seen Cat Tien.
- Lineated Barbet, Megalaima lineata - the most common barbet at Cat Tien.
- Golden-throated Barbet, Megalaima franklinii - seen once at Ho Tuyen Lam,
and heard at Lang Bian.
- Black-browed Barbet, Megalaima oorti - commonly heard and seen at Ho Tuyen
Lam, Lang Bian and Datanla Falls.
- Blue-eared Barbet, Megalaima australis - several heard and seen each day at
- Coppersmith Barbet, Megalaima haemacephala - commonly heard and seen at Cat
- White-browed Piculet, Sasia ochracea - one seen with a mixed species flock
in bamboo near Bao Beo. Another seen near the loop trail, Cat Tien.
- Grey-capped Woodpecker, Dendrocopos canicapillus - several in pines at Ho
- Rufous Woodpecker, Celeus brachyurus - pair in bamboo near Dac Lua, Cat
- Greater Yellownape, Picus flavinucha - 1 along loop trail, Cat Tien. Active
nest found in a dead pine at Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Laced Woodpecker, Picus vittatus - 1 along road, Cat Tien, and 1 at Datanla
- Common Flameback, Dinopium javanense - a few each day at Cat Tien.
- Greater Flameback, Chrysocolaptes lucidus - a few sightings at Cat Tien and
Ho Tuyen Lam. These birds were easier to recognize than I originally
expected. The bills are distinctly larger than those of Common Flamebacks,
and the three white-malar stripes could easily be seen with a telescope.
- Bay Woodpecker, Blythipicus pyrrhotis - pair heard and seen at Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Hemicircus canente - a pair of these beautiful
woodpeckers was seen most days near the checkstation that is located about a
km from the headquarters of Cat Tien.
- Great Slaty Woodpecker, Mulleripicus pulverulentus - heard near the
waterfall and from isolated trees in the bamboo forest at Bao Beo, Cat Tien.
- Black-and-Buff Woodpecker, Meiglyptes jugularis - pair sighted near the
trail that connects the Dac Lua road and the loop trail, Cat Tien.
- Bar-bellied Pitta, Pitta elliotii - 1 briefly sighted as it flushed from the
trail which follows the bank of the Dong Nai River near the waterfall, Cat
- Long-tailed Broadbill, Psarisomus dalhousiae - seen once in a leafless
treetop near the headquarters, Cat Tien.
- Black-and-Red Broadbill, Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos - seen near the trail
that connects the Dac Lua road and the loop trail, and near Dac Lua, Cat
- Banded Broadbill, Eurylaimus javanicus - heard on a few occasions along the
loop trail and the trail that connects the Dac Lua road and the loop trail,
- White-throated Fantail, Rhipidura albicollis - fairly common at Ho Tuyen Lam
and Datanla Falls.
- Black-naped Monarch, Hypothymis azurea - One near the headquarters and
another in bamboo forest near Dac Lua, Cat Tien.
- Asian Paradise-Flycatcher, Terpsiphone paradisi - Males seen twice at Cat
- Black Drongo, Dicrurus macrocercus - common in the rice fields near Dong
- Ashy Drongo, Dicrurus leucophaeus - at least 2 each day in the pine forest
at Ho Tuyen Lam. Also seen at Lang Bian.
- Bronzed Drongo, Dicrurus aeneus - seen twice at Cat Tien.
- Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Dicrurus remifer - common in the tropical
forest at Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Dicrurus paradiseus - common at Cat Tien.
- Eurasian Jay, Garrulus glandarius - 1 at Ho Tuyen Lam, 1 at Lang Bian, and a
pair on all days at Datanla Falls.
- Racket-tailed Treepie, Crypsirina temia - a few at Cat Tien and along the
road when driving to/from Cat Tien.
- Large-billed Crow, Corvus macrorhynchos - 1 in Ho Chi Minh City.
- Ashy Woodswallow, Artamus fuscus - several over rice fields near Dong Nai
and others in transit along the escarpment near Bao Loc.
- Common Iora, Aegithina tiphia - a pair each day along the Dong Nai River
near the headquarters, Cat Tien.
- Great Iora, Aegithina lafresnayei - a pair each day along the road near the
headquarters, Cat Tien.
- Black-naped Oriole, Oriolus chinensis - seen twice at Cat Tien.
- Slender-billed Oriole, Oriolus tenuirostris - at least 3 one morning in the
pine forest at Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Black-hooded Oriole, Oriolus xanthornus - A pair on most days along the road
near the headquarters, Cat Tien.
- Large Cuckoo-shrike, Coracina macei - seen twice at Ho Tuyen Lam and once at
- Indochinese Cuckoo-shrike, Coracina polioptera - one in mixed species flock
near the waterfall, Cat Tien. Several each day in the pine forest of Ho
Tuyen Lam. Often singing.
- Ashy Minivet, Pericrocotus divaricatus - 2 seen near the headquarters, Cat
- Long-tailed Minivet, Pericrocotus ethologus - several at Ho Tuyen Lam and at
- Scarlet Minivet, Pericrocotus flammeus - a pair along the road near the
headquarters of Cat Tien. Another pair was sighted in the pine forest of Ho
- Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Hemipus picatus - pair at Cat Tien, and
another pair sighted during each visit to Datanla Falls.
- Asian Fairy Bluebird, Irena puella - seen once near the waterfall of Cat
- Blue-winged Leafbird, Chloropsis cochinchinensis - a few each day at Cat
- Brown Shrike, lanius cristatus - 1 at Datanla Falls and 1 at Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Burmese Shrike, Lanius collurioides - several each in the pine forest of Ho
Tuyen Lam. Unless the light angle is very good, the cap appears to be
- Blue Rock-Thrush, Monticola solitarius - a single bird with a chestnut belly
was repeatedly sighted on the rooftops of the buildings at the headquarters
of Cat Tien. Another seen in pine forest while climbing Lang Bian.
- Blue Whistling-Thrush, Myiophonus caeruleus - 2 pairs of these large
thrushes were seen early in the morning along the walkways and garden beds
near Datanla Falls. One male occasionally sang.
- Lesser Shortwing, Brachypteryx leucophrys - fairly common by call in
streamside forest at Ho Tuyen Lam. These birds were very easy to see with
tape assistance. Others were heard at Lang Bian and at Datanla Falls.
- Black-collared Starling, Sturnus nigricollis - 1 pair in transit to Cat
Tien. Common in the agricultural fields around Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Vinous-breasted Starling, Sturnus burmannicus - common early in the mornings
in the treetops near the headquarters and near Dac Lua, Cat Tien.
- Golden-crested Myna, Ampeliceps coronatus - common early in the mornings in
the treetops near the headquarters, Cat Tien.
- Hill Myna, Gracula religiosa - a few each day, Cat Tien, and 1 pair, Ho
- Red-throated Flycatcher, Ficedula parva - a few along the roadsides, Cat
Tien. Seen once at Ho Tuyen Lam and at Datanla Falls.
- Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Ficedula strophiata - pair in the mossy forest
near the peak of Lang Bian
- Little Pied Flycatcher, Ficedula westermanni - pair at Datanla Falls, and 1
sighting at Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Blue-and-White Flycatcher, Cyanoptila cyanomelana - spectacular male seen in
good light in scrub along upper walkway, Datanla Falls.
- Verditer Flycatcher, Eumyias thalassina - Single birds sighted at Ho Tuyen
Lam especially along the edge of the clearing at the ridgetop. Single birds
also sighted at Datanla Falls, and Lang Bian. Pleasant song.
- Large Niltava, Niltava grandis - Seen twice at Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Tickell's Blue-Flycatcher, Cyornis tickelliae - seen a number of times at
- Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher, Culicicapa ceylonensis - a few at Cat Tien,
Ho Tuyen Lam and Datanla Falls.
- Siberian Blue Robin, Luscinia cyane - seen once in the forest and many times
in the evening at a roadside pool, Cat Tien. All birds were immature males
- Oriental Magpie-Robin, Copsychus saularis - a few each morning at Cat Tien.
- White-rumped Shama, Copsychus malabaricus - common in the undergrowth, Cat
- Slaty-backed Forktail, Enicurus schistaceus - a pair was sighted each
morning along the walkway to the waterfall or on rocks along the river,
- Siberian Stonechat, Saxicola maura - 1 pair in the open, marshy area of Bao
Beo, Cat Tien.
- Grey Bushchat, Saxicola ferrea - 1 pair at Datanla Falls and in the pine
forest of Ho Tuyen Lam. Several sighted in pine forests while ascending
- Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, Sitta nagaensis - common in the pine forest of Ho
Tuyen Lam, Datanla Falls and Lang Bian.
- Yellow-billed Nuthatch, Sitta solangiae - 3 birds sighted as they flew to an
isolated tree in the clearing at the ridgetop, Ho Tuyen Lam. Another lone
bird was sighted as it travelled with a mixed species flock near the
ridgetop on a different date.
- Brown-throated Treecreeper, Certhia discolor - 1 at Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Black-throated Tit, Aegithalos concinnus - a small flock was found along the
upper slopes of Lang Bian, and another flock was found along the trail to
the ridgetop, Ho Tuyen Lam. This race has a white cap and white throat.
- Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica - fairly common along the Dong Nai River, Cat
Tien and at Lang Bian.
- Red-rumped Swallow, Hirundo daurica - A few over Bao Beo and others near the
headquarters, Cat Tien.
- Black-headed Bulbul, Pycnonotus atriceps - a few each day at Cat Tien.
- Black-crested Bulbul, Pycnonotus melanicterus - common at Cat Tien, Ho Tuyen
Lam and Datanla Falls.
- Red-whiskered Bulbul, Pycnonotus jocosus - common at Ho Tuyen Lam, Lang Bian
and Datanal Falls.
- Stripe-throated Bulbul, Pycnonotus finlaysoni - the most common bulbul at
- Flavescent Bulbul, Pycnonotus flavescens - fairly common at Ho Tuyen Lam,
Lang Bian and Datanla Falls.
- Streak-eared Bulbul, Pycnonotus blanfordi - common only in the vicinity of
Dac Lua, Cat Tien.
- Puff-throated Bulbul, Alophoixus pallidus - a pair seen once along the loop
trail and once in the evening at the roadside pool, Cat Tien.
- Grey-eyed Bulbul, Iole propinqua - a few in mixed species flocks near the
waterfall, Cat Tien.
- Ashy Bulbul, Hemixos flavala - fairly common at Ho Tuyen Lam, Lang Bian and
- Black Bulbul, Hypsipetes leucocephalus - common at Ho Tuyen Lam, Lang Bian
and Datanla Falls.
- Hill Prinia, Prinia atrogularis - common in grassy areas of Ho Tuyen Lam,
Lang Bian and Datanla Falls.
- Rufescent Prinia, Prinia rufescens - 1 only at Cat Tien.
- Grey-breasted Prinia, Prinia hodgsonii - several each day in the tall grass
near the headquarters, Cat Tien.
- Grey-bellied Tesia, Tesia cyaniventer - the loud song of this species (like
Australian Pilotbird) was often heard at Ho Tuyen Lam and Lang Bian, but the
birds were only occasionally seen.
- Oriental Reed-Warbler, Acrocephalus orientalis - 1 in marshy area of Bao
Beo, Cat Tien.
- Mountain Tailorbird, Orthotomus cuculatus - common at Ho Tuyen Lam, Lang
Bian, and Datanla Falls.
- Dark-necked Tailorbird, Orthotomus atrogularis - fairly common near
headquarters, Cat Tien.
- Inornate Warbler, Phylloscopus inornatus - one or two each day, Cat Tien.
- Two-barred Greenish Warbler, P. (trochiloides) plumbeitarsus - commonest
Phylloscopus at Ho Tuyen Lam and Lang Bian.
- White-tailed Leaf-Warbler, Phylloscopus davisoni - a few sighted at Ho Tuyen
Lam, Lang Bian and Datanla Falls.
- White-spectacled Warbler, Seicercus affinis - pair seen twice in wet gully
of Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Seicercus castaniceps - a few near the ridgetop,
Ho Tuyen Lam and in moss forest at Lang Bian.
- White-crested Laughingthrush, Garrulax leucolophus - common by call at Cat
Tien, but only obtained brief views of this shy species. Often fed on the
- Black-hooded Laughingthrush, Garrulax milleti - a Dalat endemic. This
species was extremely shy. I once watched a flock from a distance of 10 m.
The birds were actively digging and probing into the leaf litter. One of
the birds spotted me and gave an alarm call. Almost immediately, the entire
flock flew to the lower branches of a tree and then quickly vanished into
thick cover. Small groups of these birds were seen at Ho Tuyen Lam on 3
- White-cheeked Laughingthrush, Garrulax vassali - a Dalat endemic. This
species was not nearly as shy as the other laughingthrushes. The birds were
quite easy to see early in the morning at Datanla Falls.
- Collared Laughingthrush, Garrulax yersini - a Dalat endemic. One briefly
sighted when it responded to a taped call, and others were heard but not
seen. All birds were either on the saddle or the adjacent slope of Lang
Bian. The call of this species was deceptively soft.
- Abbott's Babbler, Malacocincla abbotti - a pair was twice seen bathing in a
roadside pool, Cat Tien.
- Puff-throated Babbler, Pellorneum ruficeps - a pair seen bathing in roadside
pool, Cat Tien.
- Scaly-crowned Babbler, Malacopteron cinereum - fairly common at Cat Tien
- White-browed Scimitar-Babbler, Pomatorhinus schisticeps - a single bird was
seen as it foraged at the base of a tree that was growing in a partially
flooded area along the main trail, Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Pygmy Wren-Babbler, Pnoepyga pusilla - 1 heard on Lang Bian
- Rufous-capped Babbler, Stachyris ruficeps - several pairs at Ho Tuyen Lam
and Lang Bian.
- Striped Tit-Babbler, Macronous gularis - several at Cat Tien.
- Grey-faced Tit-Babbler, Macronous kelleyi - several along road near
headquarters, Cat Tien.
- White-browed Shrike-Babbler, Pteruthius flaviscapis - common by call, Ho
Tuyen Lam and Lang Bian.
- Chestnut-fronted Shrike-Babbler, Pteruthius aenobarbus - several at Ho Tuyen
Lam including a nesting pair. Others seen at Datanla Falls.
- Blue-winged Minla, Minla cyanouroptera - a few each day at Ho Tuyen Lam,
Lang Bian and Datanla Falls.
- Cutia, Cutia nipalensis - A pair of these magnificent birds was sighted on
two occasions in the pines near the trailhead at Ho Tuyen Lam. They slowly
ascended the pines and spent much time probing into cracks in the bark
especially at the base of the branches. One afternoon, the pair flew to an
open branch where they perched side-by-side and the male preended the
feathers of the female.
- Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Alcippe castaneceps - a single bird was observed as
it crept along a moss-covered branch in the forest just below the peak of
- Mountain Fulvetta, Alcippe peracensis - common Ho Tuyen Lam, Lang Bian, and
- Grey-crowned Crocias, Crocias langbianis - a Dalat endemic. 1 was sighted
as it fed with a mixed species flock (minivets, minlas, shrike-babblers,
Phylloscopus) near the ridgetop of Ho Tuyen Lam. A pair was found on a
different day again moving with a mixed species flock (Black-throated Tits,
Phylloscopus, fulvettas). The Crocias remained high in the canopy during
- Rufous-backed Sibia, Heterophasia annectens - seen on two occasions in mixed
species flocks along the boundary of the tropical and pine forest, Ho Tuyen
Lam. Birds were of the black-backed race.
- White-bellied Yuhina, Yuhina zantholeuca - singles sighted at Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Grey-headed Parrotbill, Paradoxornis gularis - 4 of the black-capped race
sighted at Ho Tuyen Lam. They were active and noisy birds and fed in the
upper branches of a large tree.
- Green-backed Tit, Parus monticolus - common in the pines of Ho Tuyen Lam,
Lang Bian and Datanla Falls.
- Yellow-cheeked Tit, Parus spilonotus - One pair with a mixed species flock
in the trees behind the last coffee plantation before the trail rises up to
the ridgetop, Ho Tuyen Lam. A single bird was sighted on the upper slope of
- Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Passer montanus - surprisingly few in most towns and
- White-rumped Munia, Lonchura striata - a few each day at Cat Tien and Ho
- Scaly-breasted Munia, Lonchura punctulata - a few each day at Ho Tuyen Lam.
- Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea - 1 near the waterfall, Cat Tien, and 1 at
the reservoir opposite the market in Dalat.
- Oriental Pipit, Anthus rufulus - 1 in marshy grassland, Bao Beo, Cat Tien.
- Olive-backed Pipit, Anthus hodgsoni - fairly common in the pine forests of
- Thick-billed Flowerpecker, Dicaeum agile - 1 near the headquarters, Cat
- Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, Dicaeum chrysorrheum - a few most days near the
headquarters, Cat Tien.
- Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Dicaeum ignipectus - 1 Cat Tien.
- Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Dicaeum cruentatum - several each day near the
headquarters and along the walk to the waterfall, Cat Tien.
- Purple-throated Sunbird, Nectarinia sperata - 1 male seen in good light
along the road near the headquarters, Cat Tien.
- Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Anthreptes singalensis - several each day at Cat Tien.
- Gould's Sunbird, Aethopyga gouldiae - common at Ho Tuyen Lam, Lang Bian and
- Crimson Sunbird, Aethopyga siparaja - 1 seen along road near headquarters,
- Streaked Spiderhunter, Arachnothera magna - several each day at Ho Tuyen Lam
and Datanla Falls.
- Vietnamese Greenfinch, Carduelis monguilloti - a Dalat endemic. These birds
were seen daily at Ho Tuyen Lam, Lang Bian and Datanla Falls.
- Red Crossbill, Loxia curvirostra - a few at Ho Tuyen Lam and Lang Bian in
- Chestnut Bunting, Emberiza rutila - 1 male and 3 females were seen on the
cleared hillside beyond the ridgetop, Ho Tuyen Lam.
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This page served with permission of the author
by Urs Geiser; email@example.com;
April 17, 1999