The Dalat Plateau
The Dalat Plateau is one of the five endemic bird areas (EBAs) in Vietnam identified by BirdLife International. The vegetation is a mixture of coniferous (dominated by Pinus kesiya), montane evergreen and secondary forest. Six bird species: Collared Laughingthrush, Orange-breasted Laughingthrush, Grey-crowned Crocias, Black-crowned Fulvetta, Vietnamese Greenfinch and the recently split Dalat Shrike-babbler are only found within this important EBA. The Dalat Plateau also supports distinctive and endemic sub-species of Rufous-backed Sibia, Black-headed Sibia, Blue-winged Minla, Black-throated Sunbird and Red Crossbill.
There are three excellent birding sites within a few minutes drive of the hill resort city of Dalat where all the Dalat Plateau endemics and specialities can be found. Dalat is 300 km from Ho Chi Minh City and can be reached by road and air.
Mount Lang Bian, 12 km from Dalat, is the place to look for one of Dalat’s trickiest birds, the beautiful and endemic Collared Laughingthrush. Yellow-billed Nuthatch, Vietnamese Cutia, Black-crowned Fulvetta, Red Crossbill and Vietnamese Greenfinch are among the other local specialities to be found here.
A forested valley on the road from Dalat to Ta Nung, usually simply referred to as Ta Nung, is a wonderful little spot. This is probably the best place to find Grey-crowned Crocias along with a host of other local specialities such as Indochinese Green Magpie, Black-hooded, White-cheeked and Orange-breasted Laughingthrushes and the local forms of Blue-winged Minla, Rufous-backed Sibia and Black-throated Sunbird.
Ho Tuyen Lam is a man-made lake just a few kilometres from the centre of Dalat. The pines around the lake shore are a good place to look for Burmese Shrike, Slender-billed Oriole, Indochinese Cuckooshrike, Eurasian Jay, Green-backed Tit, Vietnamese Greenfinch and Red Crossbill while the patches of remnant evergreen forest higher up are home to Indochinese Green Magpie, Yellow-billed Nuthatch, Black-hooded and Collared Laughingthrush and Grey-crowned Crocias.
A little further away is a mountain pass called Deo Suoi Lanh, often mistakenly referred to as Deo Nui San, on the main road leading from Di Linh to Phan Thiet around 80 km from Dalat. This is one of the best sites to look for the endemic Orange-breasted Laughingthrush as well Blue and Rusty-naped Pitta, Green Cochoa, Black-hooded Laughingthrush and Black-crowned Parrotbill.
Dalat’s most wanted
Bar-backed Partridge, Silver Pheasant, Red-vented Barbet, Annam Barbet, Pin-tailed Green- pigeon, Wedge-tailed Green-pigeon, Rusty-naped Pitta, Blue Pitta, Dalat Shrike-babbler, Burmese Shrike, Indochinese Green Magpie, Eurasian Jay, Slender-billed Oriole, Maroon Oriole, White-throated Rock-thrush, Green Cochoa, Rufous-browed Flycatcher, Blue-and-white Flycatcher, Mugimaki Flycatcher, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Large Niltava, Lesser Shortwing, White-tailed Robin, Spotted Forktail, Yellow-billed Nuthatch, Yellow-cheeked Tit, Grey-crowned Tit, Grey-bellied Tesia, Black-hooded Laughingthrush, White-cheeked Laughingthrush, Orange-breasted Laughingthrush, Collared Laughingthrush, Vietnamese Cutia, Blue-winged Minla, Black-crowned Fulvetta, Grey-crowned Crocias, Rufous-backed Sibia, Black-headed Sibia, Black-crowned Parrotbill, Black-throated Sunbird, Vietnamese Greenfinch, Red Crossbill.