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Field Guides & Natural History  Ornithology  Birds of Asia-Pacific

Birds of Vietnam

Field / Identification Guide
By: Richard C Craik(Author), Lê Quý Minh(Author)
400 pages, 1900+ colour illustrations, 870+ colour distribution maps
Publisher: Lynx Edicions
Birds of Vietnam
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  • Birds of Vietnam ISBN: 9788416728107 Flexibound Dec 2018 In stock
  • Birds of Vietnam ISBN: 9788416728138 Hardback Dec 2018 Out of Print #245040
Selected version: £49.99
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About this book

Vietnam, home to rare secretive pheasants, jewel-like pittas, spectacular laughingthrushes and enigmatic babblers, is Asia’s most exciting new birding destination. A global biodiversity hotspot, Vietnam boasts 19 endemic species and subspecies groups, and another 27 near-endemic species, the largest number of any country in mainland South-East Asia.

This book, the first comprehensive modern field guide dedicated to Vietnam’s rich and diverse avifauna, describes all 916 species in text, illustrations and distribution maps.

- Taxonomy follows the Handbook of the Birds of the World and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World.
- Detailed texts covering status, habitat and behaviour, age, sex and geographical variation, voice, and confusion species.
- Over 1900 illustrations covering all species and distinctive subspecies, birds in flight, males and females, juveniles and non-breeding plumages, where appropriate.
- QR code for each species, linking to the Internet Bird Collection gallery of photos, videos and sounds.
- More than 870 full-colour range maps for all species other than vagrants.
- Well-marked subspecies groups receive full accounts, and the distributions of subspecies breeding in the region are clearly mapped.
- Local species name included.

Customer Reviews (1)

  • A real step forward for Vietnam
    By Keith 19 Jul 2019 Written for Flexibound
    This is the latest in a new series from Lynx entitled the BirdLife International Field Guides Collection. A field guide for Thailand was published last summer and soon to appear are guides to the West Indies and Japan. I was pleased to get my hands on this latest book just ahead of a recent trip to Vietnam.

    Vietnam is one of the best birding destinations in Asia and a three-week trip from north to south is likely to result in a pleasing haul of around 400 species. That said, the birds are often hard to find and it is only down to the ingenuity of local bird guides that you can actually see some of the shyer laughing thrushes from temporary hides set up at feeding stations. As a result of this, anyone who visited Vietnam a few years ago may now find that several species they only have glimpsed before are now easily available for much closer scrutiny.

    For almost two decades the standard bird book for Vietnam has been A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia by Craig Robson (New Holland, 2000 and 2008 – now published by Bloomsbury), and although that is still a masterpiece it urgently needs updating. It lacks distribution maps, but where it is still invaluable is in illustrating a wide range of races across the region.

    By comparison, this new book sometimes only shows one race when several can be found in Vietnam, although it is very good at showing approximately where each race can be found. That criticism aside, this is the first field guide dedicated to Vietnam and is really welcome. It describes and illustrates all 911 species that have been recorded in the country with colour maps for all except vagrants, and always next to the illustration rather than the text – a useful move in my view.

    Texts of around 150 words per species cover status, habitat and behaviour, age, sex and geographical variation, voice, and always suggests confusion species. There are 180 colour plates with over 1900 illustrations taken from Handbook of the Birds of the World, and these include birds in flight for larger families such as waterfowl, waders and raptors, both sexes (where appropriate) and a selection of juvenile and non-breeding plumages. A total of 29 artists created these images but you would never think that because their styles have merged together very well. The layout has around six species per plate and this works well, although occasionally similar species have ended up split between two pages – for example, White-spectacled Warbler Phylloscopus intermedius which would have been better placed next to the Phylloscopus warblers that it actually looks like it rather than the ones that it does not.

    Like all of the books in this new series the taxonomy used is that of BirdLife/HBW and it recognises 10 endemics and a further 27 near-endemics for Vietnam. If you follow the IOC taxonomy then you will not recognise Tonkin Partridge Arborophila tonkinensis as a species (treated by IOC as a race of Green-legged Partridge Arborophila chloropus. However you will struggle to find two IOC endemics in this book - Dalat Bush-warbler Locustella idonea and Dalat Shrike-babbler Pteruthius annamensis which BirdLife/HBW lump into Russet Grasshopper-warbler Locustella mandelli and White-browed Shrike-babbler Pteruthius aeralatus. Of course, not everyone agrees on taxonomy, but much as travelling birders love HBW, an increasing number (perhaps most) are now using the IOC list as their checklist. So it can become confusing when around up to 5% of the species are described using different names or taxonomic relationships. In most cases, this guide makes it clear when other names are in common usage – but not always.

    In addition to the species pages, for those who like to seek additional information while travelling, there is a Quick Response (QR) code for each species linking to the HBW Internet Bird Collection gallery of photos, videos and sounds. There are also introductory pages outlining Vietnam’s habitats and key birding sites.

    Weighing in at around 1 kg this is a very portable book and added greatly to the enjoyment of my trip, although at £50 for the softback version it is relatively expensive when you can buy second-hand copies of Robson’s guide for under £20.
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Founder of Vietnam Birding, Richard C. Craik has worked in tourism development in Vietnam since the early 1990s and has travelled and watched birds extensively throughout Vietnam and the region during this time. He has been contributing to travel guides, journals and other media on ecotourism, conservation and birds in Vietnam for over 25 years. 

A well-known figure in the conservation community in Vietnam and one of the most experienced birding guides in the region, Lê Quý Minh has been head guide at Vietnam Birding since 2007. He previously worked at Bach Ma National Park in Central Vietnam for 12 years, heading up the ecotourism and environmental education departments.

Field / Identification Guide
By: Richard C Craik(Author), Lê Quý Minh(Author)
400 pages, 1900+ colour illustrations, 870+ colour distribution maps
Publisher: Lynx Edicions
Media reviews

"[...] This superb field guide to the country identifies 18 birding hotspots, each with notes on possible species and ideas for travel and local accommodation. One is the infamous Mekong Delta where the really lucky visitor might spot a Spoon‐billed Sandpiper. The illustrations are among the best I have seen, each species having breeding, non‐breeding and sub‐species plumages and excellent maps. At 400 pages and measuring 24 × 16 cms this is a chunky book, but is both essential to get the best out of a trip and as fine a memento of the visit as will be found. Thoroughly recommended."
– Ian Richards, Ibis 162(1), January 2020

"[...] Overall, this is a wonderful field guide to the birds of Vietnam. A great layout, largely excellent illustrations and adequate text make it a must for any visiting (or even resident!) birder to Vietnam. Lynx and the authors should be congratulated for producing such a guide so quickly."
– James Eaton,

"[...] Overall, this is an impressive and very welcome field guide, and the authors and those who helped “prepare” the text (Alex Berryman, Chris Bradshaw, Guy Kirwan, Tim Marlow, and Chris Sharpe) should be congratulated on getting this book out in record time. I am certainly looking forward to testing this guide out on my next visit to Vietnam. Whilst it does not have such detailed text as that in Robson’s guide, it does have the advantage of good maps, and if you are only going to Vietnam, you will not be confused by all the other species that are crowded onto the plates in Robson’s book."
– Frank Lambert (05-05-2019), read the full review at The Birder's Library

"For me, a good foreign bird guide is one that doesn’t just inform you of the many species you might see on your travels, but also takes the time to introduce you to the area and habitats you will be visiting when in a new country. The Birds of Vietnam by Craik and Minh is one of these, with clear and distinguishable illustrations prefaced by a good introduction to the country and help on how to plan your trip. [...] Each species is nicely detailed, mapped and illustrated across well-spaced pages with neatly highlighted sections. I enjoyed the high-quality artwork and thought that the identifying features were clear but not over-emphasised with easy comparisons between ages, morphs and related species. [...] As someone who’s keen on making a trip out to that region of the world, I feel that this is a book I would choose to take with me and make space for in my bag. On the outside the plasticised cover is sturdy and, being a little wider than the pages, gives me confidence that I can take this outside without feeling it’s going to end up to crumpled or water damaged. I’d be happy to take it round with me and their suggestions of places and tours to take I have found very useful when considering which areas to prioritise visits to. In all I’d recommend getting this book to help both your identification and planning of a birding trip to Vietnam."
– Katharine Bowgen, BTO book reviews


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