Parrotbills of Vietnam – Paradoxornithidae (Sylviidae)

With 16 species Parrotbills of Vietnam, occurring over the Highlands, especially the Northern Highlands make the bird diversity in this site get a huge difference from others. Parrotbills like their name with a long and curved beak but inside a Warbler body make them become one of the most interesting species of Vietnam. Black-headed Parrotbill (Psittiparus margaritae) is endemic to Vietnam.

You may know: Nuthach & Parrotbills are two families in Central Highland if you found them you can never be eyed off. Most people who come to Vietnam just want to see them once in their life.

The overview of Parrotbills families

The Parrotbills are a family, Paradoxornithidae, of passerine birds that are primarily native to East and Southeast Asia (with a single species in Western North America), though feral populations exist elsewhere. They are generally small, long-tailed birds that inhabit reedbeds and similar habitat. They feed mainly on seeds, e.g. of grasses, to which their bill, as the name implies, is well-adapted. Living in tropical to southern temperate climates, they are usually non-migratory.

The bearded reedling or “bearded tit”, a Eurasian species long placed here, is more insectivorous by comparison, especially in summer. It also strikingly differs in morphology, and was time and again placed in a monotypic family Panuridae. DNA sequence data supports this.

As names like “bearded tit” imply, their general habitus and acrobatic habits resemble birds like the long-tailed tits. Together with these and others they were at some time placed in the titmouse family Paridae. Later studies found no justification to presume a close relationship between all these birds, and consequently the parrotbills and bearded reedling were removed from the tits and chickadees and placed into a distinct family. As names like Paradoxornis paradoxus – “puzzling, paradox bird” – suggest, their true relationships were very unclear, although by the latter 20th century they were generally seen as close to Timaliidae (“Old World babblers”) and Sylviidae (“Old World warblers”).

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Parrotbills of Vietnam species note

Parrotbills Of Vietnam

Black-headed Parrotbill Psittiparus margaritae

Status: Rare local resident – Vulnerable

Best time to watch & Photo: Feb-Apr

Tour cover: Central Highland

Hotspot: Dalat Plateau

Parrotbills Of Vietnam

Vinous-throated Parrotbill Sinosuthora webbiana

Status: Uncommon local resident

Best time to watch & Photo: Feb-Apr

Tours: North Vietnam

Hotspot: Sa Pa – Fansipan Moutain

Parrotbills Of Vietnam

Golden Parrotbill Suthora verreauxi

Status: Uncommon local resident

Best time to watch & Photo: Feb-Apr

Tours: Northern Highlands

Hotspot: Sa Pa – Fansipan Moutain

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Short-tailed Parrotbill Neosuthora davidiana

Status: Uncommon local resident

Best time to watch & Photo: Feb-Apr

Tours: Northern Highlands

Hotspot: Sa Pa – Fansipan Moutain

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Black-throated Parrotbill Suthora nipalensis

Status: Uncommon local resident

Best time to watch & Photo: Feb-Apr

Tours: Central Highland

Hotspot: Di Linh, Dalat

Parrotbills Of Vietnam

Ashy-throated Parrotbill Sinosuthora alphonsiana

Status: Uncommon local resident

Best time to watch & Photo: Feb-Apr

Tours: North-West

Hotspot: Sa Pa – Fansipan Moutain

Parrotbills Of Vietnam

Spot-breasted Parrotbill Paradoxornis guttaticollis

Status: Uncommon local resident

Best time to watch & Photo: Feb-Apr

Tours: Northern Highlands

Hotspot: Sa Pa – Fansipan Moutain

Parrotbills Of Vietnam

Grey-headed Parrotbill Psittiparus gularis

Status: Uncommon local resident

Best time to watch & Photo: Jun-Aug

Tours: Highlands

Hotspot: Kontum, Sa Pa

Parrotbills Of Vietnam

Streak-throated Fulvetta Fulvetta manipurensis

Status: Rare Pass Migrant

Best time to watch & Photo: Feb-Apr

Tour: North-West

Hotspot: Sa Pa – Fansipan Mountain

List of all Parrotbills in Vietnam

NameLevel
1Golden-breasted FulvettaMaybe
2Yellow-eyed BabblerMaybe
3Spectacled FulvettaMaybe
4Indochinese FulvettaMaybe
5White-browed FulvettaMaybe
6Streak-throated FulvettaEasy
7Spot-breasted ParrotbillMaybe
8Gray-headed ParrotbillMaybe
9Black-headed ParrotbillMaybe
10Rufous-headed ParrotbillHard
11Short-tailed ParrotbillHard
12Black-throated ParrotbillHard
13Golden ParrotbillMaybe
14Pale-billed ParrotbillHard
15Vinous-throated ParrotbillMaybe
16Ashy-throated ParrotbillMaybe
Note: Hard – Really hard to see; Maybe – …..; Easy – Easy to see with guide; Impossible – Weak info; Lack Data – Consider out of list

All Vietnam Birds Families

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