Why birding in Cuc Phuong National Park

Subtropical lowland evergreen forest on limestone with areas of secondary forest and scrub where the natural forest has been cleared. Popular with day trippers from Hanoi the park can be especially busy at weekends and during holidays. Accommodation is available at several locations within the national park and outside.

Several species that are difficult to see elsewhere in Vietnam can be found at Cuc Phuong such as Malay Night-heron (present during the summer months), Red-collared Woodpecker, Pied Falconet, Eared Pitta and Greyish Limestone-babbler.

Other species of interest include Tonkin Partridge, Silver Pheasant, Austen’s Brown Hornbill, Red-vented Barbet, Blue-rumped and Bar-bellied Pittas, Silver-breasted Broadbill, Ratchet-tailed Treepie, White-winged Magpie, Indochinese Green Magpie, Limestone Leaf-warbler and Rufous-throated and Black-browed Fulvettas.

During the winter months thrushes, flycatchers, and robins of several species are common here.

What to see?

Biodiversity values

The vegetation of Cuc Phuong National Park is dominated by limestone forest. In some places, the forest is stratified into as many as five layers, including an emergent layer up to 40 m in height. Due to the steep topography, however, the canopy is often broken and stratification is unclear. Many individual trees show well developed buttress roots in response to the generally shallow soils (Anon. 1991).

The national park contains particularly large specimens of certain tree species, including Terminalia myriocarpa, Shorea sinensis, and Tetrameles nudiflora, which are developed as tourist attractions. There is an abundance of timber trees and medicinal plants. Cuc Phuong National Park has an extremely rich flora. To date, 1,980 vascular plant species in 887 genera and 221 families have been recorded at the national park. In terms of number of species, the best represented families in the flora of Cuc Phuong are the Euphorbiaceae, Poaceae, Fabaceae, Rubiaceae, Asteraceae, Moraceae, Lauraceae, Cyperaceae, Orchidaceae and Acanthaceae.

The flora of Cuc Phuong contains elements of the Sino-Himalayan, Indo-Burmese and Malesian floras. The high known floral diversity at Cuc Phuong can be partly attributed to the high level of survey effort directed at the site Floral surveys at Cuc Phuong have, so far, identified three endemic vascular plant species: Pistacia cucphuongensis, Melastoma trungii and Heritiera cucphuongensis. Cuc Phuong National Park is also considered to be one of seven globally significant Centres of Plant Diversity in Vietnam. 

Cuc Phuong supports populations of several mammal species of conservation importance, including the globally critically endangered endemic primate Delacour’s Leaf Monkey (Semnopithecus francoisi delacouri) and the globally vulnerable Owston’s Banded Civet (Hemigalus owstoni). In addition, the nationally threatened Leopard (Panthera pardus) has been recently recorded at the national park.

Furthermore, 38 bat species have been recorded at the national park, including 17 species from a single cave. Unfortunately, several large mammal species, including Tiger Panthera tigris, Sambar (Cervus unicolor) and White-cheeked Gibbon (Hylobates leucogenys), are believed to have become extinct at Cuc Phuong in recent times, mainly due to high hunting pressure and the relatively small size of the national park.

Bird fauna in Cuc Phuong – Birding in Cuc Phuong

To date, 248 species of bird have been recorded at Cuc Phuong National Park, including two globally threatened species, Chestnut-necklaced Partridge (Arborophila charltonii) and Red-collared Woodpecker (Picus rabieri), and 12 globally near-threatened species.

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The national park supports populations of Red-vented Barbet (Megalaima lagrandieri), and Bar-bellied Pitta (Pitta elliotii), which are endemics to Indochina and Thailand. Cuc Phuong National Park is situated at the northern end of the Annamese Lowlands Endemic Bird Area. However, none of the restricted-range bird species restricted to this EBA have yet been recorded at the national park.

When is the best time for birding in Cuc Phuong National Park?

The average temperature in Cuc Phuong is 21 Celsius (70 Fahrenheit), with a mean winter temperature of 9C (48F). High temperatures can reach above 30C (85 F) and lows are just above zero (32 F). At the low elevations in the valley the temperature is hot and humid while at higher elevations the temperature drops and frostbite is a threat. On average it rains more than 200 days a year and the average annual rainfall is 2,100mm (7 feet). The dry season is November to February, the driest months being December and January.

Monthly Averages

Historical monthly average weather conditions for Cuc Phuong Np.

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepNovOctDecYear
Record high °C (°F)29.0(84.2)37.0(98.6)40.0(104.0)42.0(107.6)41.0(105.8)42.0(107.6)40.0(104.0)38.0(100.4)37.0(98.6)34.0(93.2)33.0(91.4)29.0(84.2)42.0(107.6)
Average high °C (°F)20.35(68.63)22.41(72.34)25.35(77.63)29.26(84.67)33.32(91.98)35.0(95.0)33.65(92.57)32.23(90.01)31.32(88.38)28.77(83.79)26.27(79.29)21.65(70.97)28.3(82.94)
Daily mean °C (°F)18.39(65.1)20.23(68.41)22.9(73.22)26.34(79.41)30.4(86.72)32.21(89.98)31.18(88.12)29.96(85.93)28.96(84.13)26.43(79.57)24.06(75.31)19.5(67.1)25.88(78.58)
Average low °C (°F)15.73(60.31)17.14(62.85)19.71(67.48)22.04(71.67)25.64(78.15)27.7(81.86)27.25(81.05)26.21(79.18)25.22(77.4)22.68(72.82)20.59(69.06)16.38(61.48)22.19(71.94)
Record low °C (°F)5.0(41.0)9.0(48.2)9.0(48.2)14.0(57.2)20.0(68.0)21.0(69.8)24.0(75.2)18.0(64.4)20.0(68.0)14.0(57.2)12.0(53.6)7.0(44.6)5.0(41.0)
Average precipitation mm (inches)8.18(0.32)6.09(0.24)6.85(0.27)12.8(0.5)29.69(1.17)26.77(1.05)35.85(1.41)65.3(2.57)42.75(1.68)38.31(1.51)10.88(0.43)4.13(0.16)23.97(0.94)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)1.731.361.733.457.647.4510.6411.189.366.913.181.05.47
Average relative humidity (%)77.2676.2979.6780.4774.869.4874.3179.5879.5375.3674.4469.8975.92
Mean monthly sunshine hours5.676.279.0311.1112.3312.7712.6112.111.159.637.136.389.68

“The best time for birding in Cuc Phuong is from Nov to Mar when it is not much rain and migratory time”

Note that It will be cool, you should prepare for clothing

Where birding in Cuc Phuong National Park

Birding routes

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Tips for birding in Cuc Phuong

Get there

About 140 kilometers from the center of Hanoi, Cuc Phuong National Park has become an attractive destination for tourists from all four directions, so it is not difficult for you to move there. There are 2 ways for your choice: by public transport and by private transport.

By public transports

From Hanoi, you can take a bus from Giap Bat bus station to the national park. There are 2 bus owners for your reference: Duc Hanh and Phu Duyen. The buses run directly to Cuc Phuong National Park, so it is very convenient for you because you do not have to stop at any intermediate places.

If you cannot catch the bus of the two vehicles above in time, you can take the bus to Nho Quan from Giap Bat bus station, then continue for another 10 kilometers by taxi or bus, “xe om”.

By private transports

Using a private vehicle such as a car or motorbike is the most convenient way for you to get to the park with flexibility in time and schedule. Starting from Hanoi, visitors can follow the Trang An – Hoa Lu – Bai Dinh – Dong Chuong – Cuc Phuong National Park route or follow the 1A highway – Gian Khau crossroad – Nho Quan – Cuc Phuong National Park.

Accommodation

Entrance Area

As a starting point for activities at the national park, this area offers a full range of rooms from 200,000 VND and useful services such as jungle equipment rental, bike rental, sightseeing guide, chapter ethnic performances, etc.

Mac Lake Area

About 1.5 kilometers from the gate of the national park, Mac Lake Area provides visitors a quiet and fresh relaxing space with all kinds of rooms and communal stilt houses. This is also a suitable area for large groups of people to organize campfires and cultural exchanges as well as holding parties.

Park Center

As the final point in the trekking route across the national park, Park Center with separate stilt houses and apartments is always ready to offer guests a full range of services and accommodations. You should note that there is no electricity in this place, the generator – which runs for only 4 hours per night – is used instead.

Accommodation beyond the national park

Due to a number of reasons such as insects, mosquitoes, and the solitude that prevent you from staying in the forest, homestays, hotels, and resorts outside the national park are the right choice for you. Some accommodation suggestions for your reference are Cuc Phuong Resort, Emeralda Resort Ninh Binh, Hoa Lu Shack Homestay, Ninh Binh Family Homestay, etc.

The best tour cover Birding in Cuc Phuong Np.

Hot-spot for Birding in Vietnam 

all birding in hot-spot informative info [updated Jan 2023]

Nr.: Nature reserve; Np. National Park; mt. Mountain

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