Vietnam Nature

Birding Vietnam

While everybody knows about its war-torn history not everybody, birders included, understand Vietnam's wonderful natural heritage. True, it’s still recovering from a long and turbulent history but these days travelling and birding in Vietnam is an absolute delight with warm, welcoming people and a delicious cuisine, not to mention some superb nature reserves and fascinating wildlife. Vietnam is home to over 850 species of birds, among them more endemics than any other country in mainland Southeast Asia.

A cursory glance at a map of the region will show that Vietnam is an unusual country – roughly shaped like an hour glass, it is long and thin; balanced on the edge of the Southeast Asian continent the country lies on a north-south axis and covers a huge latitudinal range. In the north one’s eye is drawn to the Red River Delta, while in the south the huge Mekong Delta dominates the map. Both of these very important topographic features figure prominently in the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people. In Vietnam’s far north-west lies the Hoang Lien Son Range, the south-easternmost extension of the Himalayas; the very thin central part of the country is traced by the Truong Son Range; while further south the Da Lat Plateau divides south and central Vietnam. This topography and Vietnam’s location on the edge of the mainland contributes to a complex climatic system. This all goes toward explaining Vietnam’s extraordinary biological diversity.

Vietnam is in the top 25 countries of species richness and that diversity peaks for groups whose richness peaks in Southeast Asia. It has seven species of primates (and seven more range-restricted species) and five species of  babblers (seven more restricted range), which equates to two thirds of mainland Asia’s babblers. The flora is also diverse, with thirteen species of endemic Cycad and many more orchids, palms and pines. One of the fascinating things about Vietnam is how disparate the northern, central and southern regions are; visits to all three zones are highly recommended. Credit: Susan Myers/Asia birding expert.

What to See in Vietnam

Notable Birds in Vietnam (click species name to see related articles)

  • Annam Partridge
  • Bar-bellied Pitta
  • Black-crowned Barwing
  • Black-throated Laughingthrush
  • Blue-rumped Pittas
  • Bonelli’s Eagle (5)
  • Chestnut Bulbul
  • Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush
  • Coral-billed Scimitar-babbler
  • Fujian Niltava
  • Grey Laughingthrush
  • Indochinese Green Magpie
  • Indochinese Wren-Babbler
  • Japanese Thrush
  • Limestone Wren-Babbler
  • Pied Falconet
  • Ratchet-tailed Treepie
  • Red-collared Woodpecker
  • Red-vented Barbet
  • Rufous-headed Parrotbill
  • Rufous-throated Fulvetta
  • Short-clawed Lark
  • Short-tailed Parrotbills
  • Silver-breasted Broadbill
  • Streak-breasted Scimitar-babbler
  • Sultan Tit
  • White-tailed Flycatcher
  • White-winged Magpie
  • White’s Thrush (1)

Notable Mammals and Other Wildlife

  • Red-shanked Douc Langur, an endangered primate
  • Ha Tinh Langur, rare primate
  • Be sure to stop at VanLong Nature Reserve, where the largest population of the endangered Delacour Langur reside on the limestone cliffs

Other Attractions

Where and When to Go

Nature & Birding Hotspots in Vietnam

  • Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its caves and karst limestone outcrops
  • Cuc Phuong National Park
  • Van Long Nature Reserve
  • Bach Ma National Park
  • Mang Den

Vietnam Birding and Nature Tours

Vietnam Ecolodges/Accommodations

Best Time to Go

Visit Vietnam

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