Vietnam is a land of stunning natural beauty, and its birdlife is no exception. With a rich variety of habitats, from dense forests to sandy beaches, Vietnam is home to a diverse array of bird species. In this post, we’ll introduce you to some of the most beautiful birds that you can find in Vietnam. From the vibrant Edward’s Pheasant to the majestic Collared Laughingthrush, these birds are a delight to behold.
So come along on a tour of Vietnam’s avian wonders and discover the beauty of its feathered inhabitants!
1. Siamese Fireback
Scientific name: Lophura diardi
Length: 80 centimeters (31 inches) in males; 60 centimeters (23 inches) in females
Body mass: around 1 kilogram
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Also referred to as Diard’s Pheasants to honor Pierre-Medard Diard, a French naturalist, the Siamese Firebacks are a fairly large pheasant species endemic to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. A common resident of the evergreen forests, these birds have also been declared the national bird of Thailand.
Much like other pheasants, this species also shows significant sexual dimorphism, with the males being larger, heavier, and more brightly colored than their female counterparts. However, red facial caruncles, legs, and feet are common to both sexes.
Male Siamese Firebacks have a vibrant, slaty-blue throat, neck, and upper body, turning into a darker shade of blue around their rump. Both their crest feathers and tail are blackish in color; their female counterparts also have black tails, although they lack a crest.
Their body is covered in a dark shade of brown, with white streaks on their underbelly. Their tail is also shorter and less curvy than that of the males.
2. White-shouldered Ibis
Scientific name: Pseudibis davisoni
Length: 60-85 centimeters (23-33 inches)
Body mass: 950 grams – 1.6 kilograms
Wingspan: 41 centimeters (16 inches)
Lifespan: 16-18 years
Declared a critically endangered species by the IUCN, the White-shouldered Ibises are the most threatened bird species in entire Southeast Asia. Belonging to the same genus as the Black Ibises, these birds were once widespread in all of Vietnam but are now restricted to the southern parts of the country.
Both sexes of White-shouldered Ibises sport identical plumage, although the males are known to be taller and possess longer bills.
They possess a bare, slate-black head with dull, yellowish-grey bills curving downwards. Their plumage has an overall brownish-black shade, with glossy touches of dark blue on their wings and tail.
As their name indicates, these ibises possess white patches between their shoulders and chin, which are clearly visible in flight. Their irises are orangish-red in color, with dull red legs and feet.
3. Wreathed Hornbill
Scientific name: Aceros undulatus
Length: 75-90 centimeters (30-35 inches)
Body mass: 1.6-3.6 kilograms in males; 1.3-2.6 kilograms in females
Lifespan: 40-50 years
The Wreathed Hornbills are a vulnerable hornbill species endemic to Southeast Asia and can be found in the tropical evergreen forests surrounding the Mekong River Delta in southern Vietnam.
Because these birds possess a distinct bluish-black band on their gular pouch, they’re also referred to as Bar-pouched Wreathed Hornbills colloquially. Wreathed Hornbills have an overall black plumage, with a white tail, pale yellow bills, and bare red skin surrounding their eyes.
While both sexes of this species are similar in size, they can be differentiated by their weight and the color of their gular pouch.
The males, being the heavier sex, possess yellow pouches, while their female counterparts have blue ones. Male Wreathed Hornbills also have a white face and throat, all of which are black in the females.
4. Silver Pheasant
Scientific name: Lophura nycthemera
Length: 71-124 centimeters (28-49 inches) in males; 55-90 centimeters (22-35 inches) in females
Body mass: 1.1-2 kilograms in males; 1-1.3 kilograms in females
Wingspan: 52-90 centimeters (20-35 inches)
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Named after the brilliant plumage of the males that appears silver in the sunlight, the Silver Pheasants are a mountain-dwelling pheasant species endemic to mainland Southeast Asia. They’re also found on Victoria Island in Argentina as an introduced species.
Silver Pheasants are ranked among the largest members of the Pheasant family. Like other pheasants, these birds are also highly sexually dimorphic.
The males are larger, heavier, and have a white upper body with dark markings covering their wings. Their head and underbody are dark blue in contrast. On the other hand, their female counterparts have mainly brown plumage with black streaks on their undertail. Their tail is also significantly shorter than that of the males. Both sexes possess red caruncles on their face, greyish bills, red legs, and feet.
There are 15 recognized subspecies of Silver Pheasants, five of which are found in Vietnam. The first is the nominate subspecies, and the other four are listed below:
- Lao Silver Pheasant (L. n. beaulieui)
- Berlioz’s Silver Pheasant (L. n. berliozi)
- Annam Silver Pheasant (L. n. annamensis)
- Bel’s Silver Pheasant (L. n. beli)
5. Blue Pitta
Scientific name: Hydrornis cyaneus
Length: 23 centimeters (9 inches)
Body mass: 54-146 grams
Lifespan: 3-5 years
Named after the primary color of their plumage, the Blue Pittas are a pitta species endemic to Southeast Asia and found abundantly in the moist forests of the Indochina region. These ground-foraging birds have three recognized subspecies, 2 of which (H. c. cyaneus and H. c. willoughbyi) are found in Vietnam.
Blue Pittas are solitary birds with stocky bodies, long legs, and short tails. They have a pale yellow head with a touch of bright orange on the crown and a bold black running across their eyes. Another dull stripe is located on their chin. Their throat is pale yellow, with a pale blue belly and rump, all of which are covered with dark speckles.
You can tell the sexes of these birds apart by the color of their back. The males have blue backs and tails, while those of their female counterparts are grey. Both sexes possess pale pink legs and dark grey bills.
6. Yellow-vented Green Pigeon
Scientific name: Treron seimundi
Length: 33 centimeters (12 inches)
Body mass: 160-220 grams
Lifespan: 4-5 years
One of the 30 species included in the Green Pigeon family, the Yellow-vented Green Pigeons are endemic to the Asian countries of Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos, and Thailand. Unlike other pigeon species, these birds prefer to inhabit heavily wooded areas far from human settlements and are, therefore, rarely encountered by men.
You’ll find them in all the tropical and subtropical forests within their range, be it mangrove, lowland, or montane. They have a frugivore diet from which they derive their bright plumage colors.
Yellow-vented Green Pigeons have an olive-green head with red irises, blue eye-rings, and bills. The rest of their body (throat, chest, and belly) are colored in a paler shade of green, with a white underbelly and yellow rump. Their wings are dark green, edged in black, with a black tail.
7. Masked Finfoot
Scientific name: Heliopais personatus
Length: 43-55 centimeters (16-21 inches)
Body mass: 1.6-2.5 kilograms
Wingspan: 50-57 centimeters (19-22 inches)
Belonging to the family of the Sungrebes, the Masked Finfoots is an aquatic bird species with a highly endangered population. These birds dwell in the wetland habitats of Southeast Asia, including Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, and Vietnam.
Much like the other finfoot species, Masked Finfoots have a razor-sharp beak, long, curving neck, and lobed feet. Their overall plumage is colored brown, with black and white markings around their eyes and chin, which lends them a masked appearance. Their chest and underparts are a paler shade of brown, while the wings and tail are covered in a richer shade.
Masked Finfoots possess brown irises, orange bills, and green feet. Both sexes appear almost identical and can be differentiated by their chin; males have black chins while females have white ones.
8. Tawny Fish Owl
Scientific name: Ketupa flavipes
Length: 48-61 centimeters (19-24 inches)
Body mass: 2.05-2.65 kilograms
Wingspan: 41-47 centimeters (16-18 inches)
Lifespan: 10-30 years
The Tawny Fish Owls are one of the three fish owl species in the Ketupa genus. These owls are endemic to Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, and southern Nepal and have a widespread distribution within their range.
True to their name, they have a brownish-orange plumage with heavy brackish markings covering their back. Like other fish owls, they have a poorly defined facial disk with large ear tufts. However, much of their legs are covered in feathers, unlike the featherless legs of other fish owls.
Tawny Fish Owls are built heavily but have a moderate tail, and their wings aren’t adapted to silent flight. Both sexes of this owl appear identical in plumage, but the females are the larger sex.
9. Edward’s Pheasant
Scientific name: Lophura edwardsi
Length: 58-65 centimeters (22-25 inches)
Body mass: 1-1.2 kilograms
Lifespan: 9-10 years
Named after Alphonse Milne-Edwards, the renowned French ornithologist, Edward’s Pheasants are a critically endangered pheasant species native to Vietnam. These pheasants inhabit the lowland forests of central Vietnam, where their population is dwindling due to poaching and defoliation.
The adult Edward’s Pheasants are sexually dimorphic, with both sexes having differently colored plumages. The males have dark, iridescent plumage with touches of blue all over their bodies and green on their feathers. On the other hand, the females lack any iridescence and have dull brown plumage instead.
The white crest that sits atop the males’ heads is also absent in the females. However, red feet, legs, and facial caruncles are common to both sexes.
Did you know? The Vietnamese Pheasants, which were once considered a gallopheasant species, have now been declared a variant of Edward’s Pheasants.
10. Vietnamese Greenfinch
Scientific name: Chloris monguilloti
Length: 13-14 centimeters (5 inches)
Body mass: 15-16 grams
Lifespan: 1-2 years
Belonging to the family of True Finches, the Vietnamese Greenfinches are a species with an extremely limited range.
You can only find them in the city of Da Lat, located in the highland regions of Vietnam. While their population is currently considered least concern, the threat of habitat loss is imminent to the species.
Vietnamese Greenfinches have a medium-sized bodies with large, conical bills that are characteristic of all true finches. They have a black head and back with a prominent yellow collar. The rest of their underbody is yellow as well, with heavy black markings scattered around their chest.
Their eyes are black, with bone-colored bills, legs, and feet. Both sexes of these finches appear similar; only the plumage of the females is slightly paler in comparison to males.
11. Germain’s Peacock-Pheasant
Scientific name: Polyplectron germaini
Length: 56-60 centimeters (22-23 inches) in males; 48-50 centimeters (18-19 inches) in females
Body mass: 390-510 grams
Lifespan: 11-15 years
Named in memory of Louis Rodolphe Germain, the veterinary surgeon in the French colonial army, Germain’s Peacock-Pheasants are a near-threatened pheasant species endemic to Indochina. The limited range and ongoing habitat loss are two leading threats to their population.
You can find these pheasants in the seasonal tropical forests of eastern Cambodia and southern Vietnam. They have a dark brown plumage with finely spotted buff and bluish-purple rounded spots on each wing.
Both their bills and feet are greyish, with red caruncles surrounding their eyes. The adult sexes of these birds don’t differ in appearance all that much; only the females are smaller, have shorter tails, and have duller plumages.
12. Banded Broadbill
Scientific name: Eurylaimus javanicus
Length: 21-23 centimeters (8-9 inches)
Body mass: 65-95 grams
Lifespan: 4-6 years
The Banded Broadbills are a near-threatened broadbill species endemic to mainland southeast Asia. These birds have four recognized subspecies, out of which one – E. j. pallidus – is found in the forests of central and southern Vietnam.
Banded Broadbills have a large, stocky body with an iridescent reddish-purple head. The same shade spreads throughout their throat, chest, belly, and rump, with a distinct black band bordering their head, lending them their name.
Their upper parts are mainly black, with yellow bands scattered all over them. They have pale yellow irises and iridescent blue bills, which sets them apart from other broadbill species.
Although both sexes of these birds appear more or less similar, you can tell them apart by the duller, greyer appearance of the females and their lack of neck band.
13. Red-vented Barbet
Scientific name: Psilopogon
Length: 29-34 centimeters (11-13 inches)
Body mass: 14-22 grams
Lifespan: 8-10 years
The Red-vented Barbets are an Asian Barbet species endemic to Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. These barbets inhabit the moist lowland and montane forests within their range and are distinguished from other barbet species due to their seemingly plain faces.
Red-vented Barbets have a brownish face, with a faded blue stripe running across their eyes and small, greyish patches on each side of their cheeks. The rest of their body ranges between green and bronze in color, with the underparts having a paler color than the upper parts.
Under their tail, you’ll notice a small red patch, which lends them their name.
14. Long-tailed Minivet
Scientific name: Pericrocotus ethologus
Length: 17-20 centimeters (6-7 inches)
Body mass: 18 grams
Lifespan: 9-11 years
The Long-tailed Minivets belong to the family of allies and cuckooshrikes and are found in most of south-eastern and southern Asia. You can find these birds in the montane and lowland forests of Vietnam, Laos, Nepal, Thailand, China, India, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.
Long-tailed Minivets are distinguished from the other minivet species due to their significantly slimmer build and long tails that lend them their names.
The adults of this species are highly sexually dimorphic, with the males having a completely black head and upper back. Their wings and tail are black as well, with bold patches of orange present on them. Their underbody is orange as well, except for a white rump.
On the other hand, the females possess a grey head and back with touches of yellow over their bills. They have a white chin, yellow underbody, and dark wings and tails with touches of yellow. However, the bills, eyes, and legs of both sexes are dark greyish.
15. Red-whiskered Bulbul
Scientific name: Pycnonotus jocosus
Length: 20 centimeters (7 inches)
Body mass: 23-42 grams
Wingspan: 28 centimeters (11 inches)
Lifespan: 11 years
Also referred to as Crested Bulbul, the Red-whiskered Bulbuls are a bulbul species endemic to tropical Asia.
You can find these birds naturally occurring in the lightly wooded areas of south-eastern China, India, northern Malaysia, and Vietnam; although they’re also found in Australia and some states of the US as an introduced species.
Red-whiskered Bulbuls are mainly brown and white in color, except for two whisker-like red cheek patches, which lend them their name, and another red patch on their rump.
Their face is dark brown, and so are their shoulders, back, wings, and tail. The underbody and undertail are both white in contrast. They also possess two white cheek patches right below the red ones. Both sexes of this species are identical.
16. Silver-breasted Broadbill
Scientific name: Serilophus lunatus
Length: 16-17 centimeters (6 inches)
Body mass: 25-35 grams
Lifespan: 5-7 years
The Silver-breasted Broadbills are a medium-sized broadbill species that are endemic to the lowland and montane forests of Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, China, Myanmar, Bhutan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India.
These broadbills have a grey head and chest, with a bold black stripe running above their eyes. The rest of their underbody is white, with greyish flanks and a rust-colored back that turns darker towards their wings and tails.
While both sexes of this species appear almost identical, the greyish band on the females’ chest is narrow than that of the males.
17. Grey-crowned Crocias
Scientific name: Laniellus langbianis
Length: 22 centimeters (8.6 inches)
The Grey-crowned Crocias are an endangered Old World passerine species with a highly elusive nature and extremely limited range. These birds are found only in the Da Lat Plateau of Vietnam, where they inhabit the broadleaf evergreen forests.
Although they’re named grey-crowned, the shade of grey spreading over their heads is more prominent, almost like a cap. The lower half of their face is white, with a pure white underbody, except for brownish streaks on their flanks.
Their upper body is rich brown in contrast, with darker touches on their wings and tails. If there are indeed differences between their sexes, they haven’t yet been spotted.
18. White-eared Night Heron
Scientific name: Gorsachius magnificus
Length: 54-56 centimeters (21-22 inches)
Lifespan: 12-16 years
Belonging to the family of the Old World Night Herons, the White-eared Night Herons are an endangered heron species endemic to northern Vietnam and southern China. The fragmented population of these birds is on a continual decline, with the added threat of habitat loss accelerating it.
Much like other herons, this species also possesses long legs and a long, curving neck. Their heads are brown, with white chins and a white stripe running across their eyes. Their greyish bills are moderately sized, with a mottled white throat, chest, belly, and rump.
Their upperbody, including wings and tail, is rich brown in contrast. Both sexes have similar plumage; only the undersides of females aren’t as distinctly marked as the males.
19. Pied Falconet
Scientific name: Microhierax melanoleucos
Length: 17-19 centimeters (7-7.5 inches)
Body mass: 55-75 grams
Lifespan: 13-15 years
The Pied Falconets are one of the smaller members of the Falconidae family. These birds of prey primarily dwell in temperate forests and are endemic to Vietnam, Laos, India, China, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.
Pied Falconets have an overall black-and-white appearance. Their face is white, except for two black patches covering their eyes and yellowish bills. Their crown, back, wings, and tail are black, while the underparts are white. There is no sexual dimorphism seen in the adult of this species.
20. Collared Laughingthrush
Scientific name: Trochalopteron yersini
Length: 26-28 centimeters (10-11 inches)
Lifespan: 11-15 years
The Collared Laughingthrushes are an endangered laughingthrush species that are native to Vietnam. These birds dwell in the high-altitude shrublands and montane forests of the country, and their population struggles under a serious threat of habitat loss.
Collared Laughingthrushes have a black face and throat with greyish patches around both eyes. Right below their throat, you’ll spot an orange band, which spreads to the rest of their belly and rump. Their upperbody, on the other hand, is mainly grey, with orange patches on their wings and an orange tail.
These birds have black eyes, greyish bills, and dark brown legs. Both sexes appear identical and are sexually monomorphic.