Birding Ho Chi Minh Metropolis, Vietnam

Frankly, Ho Chi Minh Metropolis isn’t a spot you’ll go to particularly for birding. However in case you are there anyway (in the beginning of an extended birding journey) and have a day to spare, then why not? Particularly, a spot named Sala Township seemed attention-grabbing primarily based on a couple of current eBird lists.

Sala Township is a barely bizarre place in that it is rather near town heart (simply on the opposite aspect of the river) and partly poshly constructed up, partly consisting of scrubland. The form of place that can be utterly uninhabitable for birds in about 5 years, if Vietnam continues growing and if my regular pessimism is justified.

Anyway, having learn far too many books on the Vietnam Struggle in my youthful days, there was a sure fascination in beginning birding in Vietnam – although I had been within the nation greater than 20 years in the past when the place in a roundabout way was far more attention-grabbing (i.e., no Starbucks anyplace, no simple cab rent by way of Seize, no money machines, and so on.).

In comparison with the aforementioned eBird record, my yield was modest – which I partly blame on the time of the day (roughly from 2 pm to five pm native time) and partly on my restricted expertise as a birder.

Nonetheless, it was value it for seeing a number of Asian Inexperienced Bee-eaters alone.

One paper – describing analysis conveniently finished on the college campus of Chittagong College, presumably near the canteen – seems to be at useful resource partitioning between this bee-eater and one other one, the chestnut-headed bee-eater. Useful resource partitioning is principally the time period for liking various things, which makes it simpler to reside collectively (suppose you consuming a lot of the meat and your spouse consuming a lot of the greens of a shared dinner).

Apparently, the analysis discovered that each species primarily spend their time in bushes (83% and 81%) and have the identical primary meals supply, hymenopterans (25% every, and no, I do not know what hymenopterans are both – presumably one thing with wings). So, principally, the 2 species do precisely the identical issues. Then, primarily based on these outcomes, the examine concludes “coexisting bee-eater species partition their sources to restrict the results of interspecific competitors and it helps them to co-occur collectively”. QNED. (Notice for these with no correct classical training: that is to indicate off mine).

One other paper on the Asian Inexperienced Bee-eater (“Ecology of the Inexperienced Bee-eater”) may be present in a journal edited by 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 provides one attention-grabbing truth in regards to the bee-eater – apparently, it has a selected predator avoidance habits that distinguishes it from many different species. If a possible predator is wanting on the bee-eater’s nest, it is not going to enter till the predator has seemed away. This means that the chook is conscious of the place the predator is wanting. The declare made within the paper – that this means the chook is conscious of the predator’s psychological state and thus has a ‘concept of thoughts’ – appears a bit far-fetched although.

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

The primary chook I noticed in Saigon was much less unique although – a Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

It appears a bit unhappy to me that a paper on the Eurasian Tree Sparrow and the Home Sparrow has to justify the necessity for analysis on these species by arguing this advantages people: “Sparrow species … reside in an in depth affiliation with individuals. Due to this fact, understanding their inhabitants standing and tendencies may even assist in monitoring the standard of environments the place most individuals reside”.

Zebra Doves appear to be as frequent in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis because the sparrows, however as they don’t reside in Shanghai, they’re extra attention-grabbing to me – plus they’re form of cute, which is one thing not many doves and pigeons handle to tug off.

Apparently, some Zebra Doves may be fairly priceless, although presumably not those I noticed. Zebra Doves are raised for singing contests in nations together with Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, and will value between 1000 and 50,000 USD relying on their singing qualities (supply).

(Notice: if you wish to search for this supply, bear in mind that the singing of the doves isn’t the main focus of the paper – as an alternative, it’s on roundworms rampant in caged dove populations. I suppose completely different individuals have completely different pursuits).

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

And apparently elsewhere: Mississipi, …


… and Florida. All Republican states – does that inform us one thing in regards to the political opinion of this species?

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

This can be a chook that takes the formation of subspecies to an excessive. eBird states that there are almost 50 of them. To present you an concept of the dimension of this quantity, it’s nearly as a lot because the variety 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, primarily as a result of such an individual by no means existed. As a substitute, it’s apparently derived from the French phrase for guava because the species was seen to regularly go to guava bushes. Apologies – a few of these identify origins should not notably attention-grabbing.

45 of those bulbuls had been unfortunate sufficient to be dissected for an evaluation of their abdomen content material, leading to a paper for the Journal Of Oil Palm Analysis. The bulbuls are the commonest species in oil palm plantations and partly feed on bugs that injury the bushes, thus the scientific curiosity (and the premature demise of the people).

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

Whereas the species identify germani appears to point a German connection for this species, it’s truly named after a French collector, Louis Rodolphe Germain (1827-1912), for as soon as a reputation I didn’t make up. He was a veterinary surgeon in Indochina between 1862 and 1867, based on the HBW.

The “Locomotion” part within the HBW on the species additionally explains why it’s tough to {photograph}: “The flight of Germain’s Swiftlet has a jerky movement, interspersed with quick glides wherein wings are held angled downwards”.

My birding day ended with the flyover of a Purple Heron – not a chook one would see so near town heart in Shanghai.

The youngest chicks in a clutch of Purple Herons of this species typically die of hunger – one paper describes this in quite technical phrases: “Brood discount by means of sibling hierarchies offers a fine-tuning on the time of peak nestling demand”.


Saddish story on the finish: Once I as soon as seemed for a information for a Vietnam chook tour, I contacted two tour corporations. My inquiry included the next sentence: “Do you may have feminine chook guides (I’ve had good experiences with them right here in China)?”

One of many tour corporations replied, “We do not need feminine chook guides in Vietnam, however we’ve feminine assistant workers and there are lots of providers in Vietnam for enjoyable.” You may nearly see the “wink, wink” within the author’s face … Whereas this sounded tempting certainly, I made a decision in opposition to that firm as I’m not that a lot into enjoyable.

Due to Morten for the eBird record talked about in the beginning of the put up and for patiently answering my follow-up questions.

Autor Kai Pflug


Journalist specialized in online marketing as Social Media Manager. I help professionals and companies to become more Internet and online reputation, which allows to give life to the Social Media Strategies defined for the Company, and thus immortalize brands, products and services. I have participated as an exhibitor in various forums nationally and internationally, I am the author of several articles in digital magazines and Blogs.

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