Endemic birds, near-endemic birds & specialities

With 16 endemic species and distinct subspecies groups found nowhere else on Earth and a further 42 species and subspecies groups found only in Vietnam and some neighbouring countries, Vietnam is unparalleled among the countries of mainland South-East Asia.


Mention Vietnam to anyone who has spent time birding in the country or is perhaps planning a birding trip to Vietnam in the future and the names of two particular bird families will surely come up, pittas and laughingthrushes. Of the pittas, Vietnam’s two near-endemic forest jewels, the striking Bar-bellied Pitta and the more understated, though equally desirable, Blue-rumped Pitta, will without doubt appear near the top of any birders wish list. Being near-endemic, their ranges spill over borders into several neighbouring countries but Vietnam is unquestionably the stronghold of these two beauties of the forest floor. An additional seven other members of the pitta family are to be found in Vietnam including an attractive subspecies of Blue Pitta on the Dalat Plateau and the rare and elusive Blue-naped Pitta in northern Vietnam.


The laughingthrushes are the other bird family synonymous with birding in Vietnam with two striking range-restricted species, Orange-breasted and Collared, endemic to the Dalat Plateau, in southern Central Vietnam. An extraordinary further 25 species and subspecies of laughingthrush occur in Vietnam, five of which, Black-hooded, Chestnut-eared, Germain’s, White-cheeked and Golden-winged, are classified as near-endemic.


Vietnam’s avifauna is also extremely rich in endemic and near-endemic babblers. Among the endemic babblers are the agile little Black-crowned Fulvetta and the scarce White-throated Wren-babbler, while the enigmatic and endangered near-endemic Grey-crowned Crocias is one of only two members of its genus, the other being found on the island of Java. Other species on Vietnam’s long list of near-endemic babblers include Indochinese Fulvetta, Black-headed Parrotbill, Pale-throated and Indochinese Wren-babblers, Sooty Babbler, Grey-faced Tit-babbler, Vietnamese Cutia and Black-crowned Barwing.


Phasianidae, the pheasants and partridges, are another bird family of special interest for birders in Vietnam. While the endemic Edwards’s Pheasant is extremely rare and possibly close to extinction in the wild, the near-endemic Orange-necked Partridge and Germain’s Peacock-pheasant, occur in the lowland semi-evergreen forests at Cat Tien National Park. The same forest offers excellent opportunities to see two more striking members of the pheasant family, Siamese Fireback and the Endangered Green Peafowl.


In addition to having a long list of endemic and near-endemic bird species Vietnam offers excellent opportunities for birders to connect with many much wanted Asian birds including Silver Pheasant, Hodgson’s & Indochinese Frogmouth, Lesser Adjutant, Asian Woollyneck, White-eared Night-heron, Great & Austen’s Brown Hornbill, Heart-spotted, Pale-headed, Black-and-buff & Great Slaty Woodpecker, Collared & Pied Falconet, White-rumped Pygmy-falcon, Long-tailed, Dusky, Black-and-red, Silver-breasted & Banded Broadbill, Ratchet-tailed Treepie, White-winged & Indochinese Green Magpie, Short-tailed Parrotbill, Greyish Limestone-babbler, Grey, Rufous-cheeked, Black-throated & Red-tailed Laughingthrush, Manipur Treecreeper, Golden-crested Myna, Green Cochoa, Fujian & Large Niltava and Asian Golden Weaver

Endemic birds here for full list

Tonkin Partridge
Edwards’s Pheasant
Dalat Shrike-babbler
Annam Minivet
Yellow-crowned Green Magpie
Langbian Tit
Annam Grasshopper-warbler
Tonkin Fulvetta
Black-crowned Fulvetta
Annam Streaked Wren-babbler
White-throated Wren-babbler
Orange-breasted Laughingthrush
Collared Laughtingthrush
White-spectacled Sibia
Langbian Sunbird
Vietnamese Greenfinch

Near-endemic birds here for full list

Orange-necked Partridge
Crested Argus
Germain’s Peacock-pheasant
Lowe’s Green-pigeon
Yellow-vented Green-pigeon
Giant Ibis
Red-vented Barbet
Necklaced Barbet
Annam Barbet
Chinese Yellownape
Red-collared Woodpecker
Blue-rumped Pitta
Bar-bellied Pitta
Annam Sultan Tit
Brown-backed Bulbul
Limestone Leaf-warbler
Grey-crowned Tit
Annam Golden-breasted Fulvetta
Indochinese Fulvetta
Black-headed Parrotbill
Black-eared Parrotbill
Pale-throated Wren-babbler
Sooty Babbler
Nonggang Babbler
Grey-faced Tit-babbler
Indochinese Babbler
Tonkin Streaked Wren-babbler
Indochinese Wren-babbler
Vietnamese Cutia
Black-hooded Laughingthrush
Chestnut-eared Laughingthrush
Germain’s Laughinghthrush
White-cheeked Laughingthrush
Golden-winged Laughingthrush
Brownish-backed Sibia
Plain Minla
Black-crowned Barwing
Grey-crowned Crocias
Yellow-billed Nuthatch
Langbian Lesser Shortwing
Annam Sunbird
Mekong Wagtail