Birding Ho Chi Minh Town, Vietnam

Frankly, Ho Chi Minh Town isn’t a spot you could pass to particularly for birding. However in case you are there anyway (at first of an extended birding shuttle) and feature a day to spare, then why don’t you? Particularly, a spot named Sala Township regarded attention-grabbing in response to a couple of fresh eBird lists.

Sala Township is a rather bizarre position in that it is vitally on the subject of town heart (simply at the different facet of the river) and in part poshly constructed up, in part consisting of scrubland. The type of position that will likely be utterly uninhabitable for birds in about 5 years, if Vietnam continues growing and if my standard pessimism is justified.

Anyway, having learn a ways too many books at the Vietnam Battle in my more youthful days, there was once a definite fascination in beginning birding in Vietnam – despite the fact that I were within the nation greater than two decades in the past when where somehow was once a lot more attention-grabbing (i.e., no Starbucks anyplace, no simple cab rent by means of Seize, no money machines, and so on.).

In comparison to the aforementioned eBird listing, my yield was once modest – which I in part blame at the time of the day (roughly from 2 pm to five pm native time) and in part on my restricted talents as a birder.

Nonetheless, it was once price it for seeing a number of Asian Inexperienced Bee-eaters on my own.

One paper – describing analysis with ease performed on the college campus of Chittagong College, possibly on the subject of the canteen – seems to be at useful resource partitioning between this bee-eater and some other one, the chestnut-headed bee-eater. Useful resource partitioning is principally the time period for liking various things, which makes it more uncomplicated to reside in combination (suppose you consuming lots of the meat and your spouse consuming lots of the greens of a shared dinner).

Apparently, the analysis discovered that each species basically spend their time in bushes (83% and 81%) and feature the similar primary meals supply, hymenopterans (25% each and every, and no, I do not know what hymenopterans are both – possibly one thing with wings). So, principally, the 2 species just do the similar issues. Then, in response to those effects, the learn about concludes “coexisting bee-eater species partition their assets to restrict the consequences of interspecific pageant and it is helping them to co-occur in combination”. QNED. (Notice for the ones and not using a correct classical schooling: that is to blow their own horns mine).

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Every other paper at the Asian Inexperienced Bee-eater (“Ecology of the Inexperienced Bee-eater”) will also be present in a magazine edited by way of the apparently named Vishwashanti Multipurpose Society (subtitle: World Peace Multipurpose Society). [So if global peace is not your thing, you can presumably choose another purpose at will.]

The paper offers one attention-grabbing reality concerning the bee-eater – it seems that, it has a selected predator avoidance conduct that distinguishes it from many different species. If a possible predator is having a look on the bee-eater’s nest, it’s going to now not input till the predator has regarded away. This means that the chook is acutely aware of the place the predator is having a look. The declare made within the paper – that this means the chook is acutely aware of the predator’s psychological state and thus has a ‘concept of thoughts’ – turns out a little far-fetched despite the fact that.

If this can be a bit too thrilling for you, why don’t you have a look at a paper titled “Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I barcoding of the golf green bee-eater (Merops orientalis)”?

The primary chook I noticed in Saigon was once much less unique despite the fact that – a Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

It sort of feels a little unhappy to me that a paper at the Eurasian Tree Sparrow and the Space Sparrow has to justify the desire for analysis on those species by way of arguing this advantages people: “Sparrow species … reside in an in depth affiliation with other people. Due to this fact, working out their inhabitants standing and developments can even assist in tracking the standard of environments the place the general public reside”.

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Zebra Doves appear to be as commonplace in Ho Chi Minh Town because the sparrows, however as they don’t reside in Shanghai, they’re extra attention-grabbing to me – plus they’re more or less lovable, which is one thing now not many doves and pigeons organize to tug off.

It seems that, some Zebra Doves will also be rather precious, despite the fact that possibly now not those I noticed. Zebra Doves are raised for making a song contests in nations together with Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, and might price between 1000 and 50,000 USD relying on their making a song qualities (supply).

(Notice: if you wish to glance up this supply, remember that the making a song of the doves isn’t the focal point of the paper – as a substitute, it’s on roundworms rampant in caged dove populations. I assume other other people have other pursuits).

Scaly-breasted Munias additionally appear rather commonplace in HCM (as they’re in Shanghai).

And it seems that somewhere else: Mississipi, …


… and Florida. All Republican states – does that let us know one thing concerning the political opinion of this species?

My different spotlight of the day – after the bee-eaters – was once a Collared Kingfisher.

It is a chook that takes the formation of subspecies to an excessive. eBird states that there are just about 50 of them. To provide you with an concept of the measurement of this quantity, it’s nearly up to the selection of US states.

The species identify of the Yellow-vented Bulbul, goiavier, isn’t derived from Edoardo Goiavier (1734-1778), the Portuguese seafarer and naturalist, principally as a result of any such particular person by no means existed. As an alternative, it’s it seems that derived from the French phrase for guava because the species was once noticed to steadily talk over with guava bushes. Apologies – a few of these identify origins don’t seem to be in particular attention-grabbing.

45 of those bulbuls have been unfortunate sufficient to be dissected for an research in their abdomen content material, leading to a paper for the Magazine Of Oil Palm Analysis. The bulbuls are the most typical species in oil palm plantations and in part feed on bugs that injury the bushes, thus the medical pastime (and the premature death of the people).

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Germain’s Swiftlets are a problem even for significantly better photographers than me.

Whilst the species identify germani turns out to signify a German connection for this species, it’s if truth be told named after a French collector, Louis Rodolphe Germain (1827-1912), for as soon as a reputation I didn’t make up. He was once a veterinary surgeon in Indochina between 1862 and 1867, in line with the HBW.

The “Locomotion” phase within the HBW at the species additionally explains why it’s tricky to {photograph}: “The flight of Germain’s Swiftlet has a jerky movement, interspersed with brief glides during which wings are held angled downwards”.

My birding day ended with the flyover of a Pink Heron – now not a chook one would see so on the subject of town heart in Shanghai.

The youngest chicks in a grasp of Pink Herons of this species frequently die of hunger – one paper describes this in fairly technical phrases: “Brood aid thru sibling hierarchies supplies a fine-tuning on the time of top nestling call for”.


Saddish tale on the finish: After I as soon as regarded for a information for a Vietnam chook excursion, I contacted two excursion firms. My inquiry incorporated the next sentence: “Do you’ve feminine chook guides (I’ve had just right studies with them right here in China)?”

Probably the most excursion firms responded, “We do not need feminine chook guides in Vietnam, however we now have feminine assistant workforce and there are lots of products and services in Vietnam for a laugh.” You’ll nearly see the “wink, wink” within the creator’s face … Whilst this sounded tempting certainly, I determined towards that corporate as It’s not that i am that a lot into a laugh.

Due to Morten for the eBird listing discussed at first of the publish and for patiently answering my follow-up questions.

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