Trip Reports

South Vietnam & Cambodia - March, 2013

(by Rirchard Knapton and Bao Nguyen - 9 days in the south Vietnam (Da Lat, Cat Tien, Mekong delta) and 7 days in Cambodia (Angkor, Florican Grassland, Tmatboey and Kratie))

Giant Ibis was just one of the many fabulous sightings we enjoyed on our Cambodia & South Vietnam tour – those exceptional White-shouldered Ibis, another critically endangered species, the splendid Bengal Florican that put on such a good show, that stunning male Green Peafowl, those Siamese Firebacks, both Bar-bellied and Blue-rumped Pittas – the latter right out in the open, the many raptors from Black Eagle to Black Baza, incredible sunbirds including just awesome Black-throated and Mrs. Gould’s, Vietnamese Cutias and Gray-crowned Crocias, stunning views of four species of bee-eaters, the many barbets and broadbills (those Black-and-red!!) and woodpeckers – especially those Great Slaty Woodpeckers and the fabulous White-browed Piculet – everyone’s favourite!, and a plethora of kingfishers, woodpeckers, malkohas, trogons, minivets, leafbirds, babblers and laughingthrushes, spiderhunters, flowerpeckers, and mammals including macaques, langurs, mongooses, squirrels and Muntjac and Sambar deer! And the fantastic Spoon-billed Sandpipers and Nordmann’s Greenshanks on our first day! Yes, lots of really fine sightings!. 

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Vietnam February 2nd - 21st, 2012

(John Clark and Tim Doran)

Birding in Vietnam is hard work. At most sites, birds are few and far between and bird waves are not easy to come by. There is intense hunting pressure on large birds in most areas – e.g. at Cuc Phuong, Vietnam’s first national park, I did not see any hornbills or pigeons and only one large raptor in three days birding. Only at Cat Tien were such birds fairly numerous. We saw five Brown Hornbills at the newly opened-up Mang Canh area but I wonder how long they will survive. Song birds are also extensively trapped for the cage bird trade and this presumably accounts for why many species are so shy. Playback produced good results for some species but it is important to make the best use of the initial response as that is often the only chance you get. Several desired species offered only the briefest of views and about ten potential lifers wouldn’t show at all!

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Home and away - late 2012

(by Kevin Elsby - Spoon-billed Sandpiper and more in Vietnam)

This occasional Birding World feature highlights interesting reports from Britain, Europe and beyond. To contribute to future editions of this column, please contact the editor. Photographs, illustrations and sketch maps are welcomed

Vietnam is a popular country to visit for many tourists from Britain, and it is now possible to fly direct to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) from London with Vietnamese Airlines. On a trip to Vietnam in November 2012, my wife and I travelled through much of the country, with the aim of seeing as many species of birds as possible. We arranged our itinerary with Wildtour, a travel company based in Saigon (, and our excellent main guide was Bao Nguyen. After arrival in Saigon, we took an internal flight to Da Nang, in the north, and from there we drove south over the next two and a half weeks, visiting many different environments, reserves and national parks, before finishing back in Saigon.

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