Discover The National Bird of Vietnam

Vietnam is considered one of the most important areas of the endemic and migratory bird route network, with 63 globally important bird areas and seven of its own endemic birds. Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Lê Van Thành recently signed a directive on a series of urgent tasks and solutions to conserve wild and migratory birds in Vietnam. Read this interesting article from AZ Animal… you will cut out beautiful birds… #MustSeeInViewtnam Editor

Vietnam is a country in southeast Asia along the South China Sea. To the west is Cambodia and Laos and to the north is China. The country has a variety of diverse habitats including mountains, tropical forests, flat plains, the Mekong and Red River deltas and miles of coastline. These habitats support a wide range of wildlife including hundreds of species of birds. Is the national bird one of the colorful songbirds like the barbets or bee eaters? Maybe the great egret or regal sea eagle? The eastern sarus crane is an important figure in Vietnamese mythology, so is that the national bird? Does Vietnam even have an official national bird? Read on to discover about the national bird of Vietnam.

Is there a National Bird of Vietnam?

There is not an official national bird of Vietnam. There is however a rich history of culturally significant birds in the country. One of the symbols of Vietnam is a crane-like bird that was featured in Vietnamese folklore. Images of this bird were repeatedly used on the bronze drums of the Dong Sun culture. This bird was referred to as the Chim Lac, with Chim meaning “bird” and Lac meaning “lost”. Historians have yet to determine exactly what kind of bird it represented but many agree it is along the lines of a cranestork or heron. Some believe it is a made-up bird similar to a phoenix or a griffin.

What Is the Story of the Eastern Sarus Crane?

Largest Crane - Sarus Crane
The majestic sarus crane can reach six feet tall and in Vietnam they are found in the Mekong river basin.©vanchai/

In Vietnamese mythology the story of the eastern sarus crane is that they are sent down from heaven when someone dies to escort them back to heaven to enjoy eternal life. Eastern sarus cranes look similar to red-crowned cranes. Their heads and upper neck are all red with a greenish crown. Sarus crane’s bodies are mostly gray with black tipped wings. Their legs match their head in slightly lighter red color. Eastern sarus cranes can get up to six feet tall! In Vietnam the eastern sarus crane can be found in the Mekong river basin. Vietnam also has common cranes and black-necked cranes.

What Kind of Storks Live in Vietnam?

Some of the storks that live in Vietnam are the milky stork, black stork, black-necked stork and painted stork. The Bang Lang Stork Sanctuary is located in southern Vietnam and has more than 20 different stork species. Milky storks are white with black underwings and long red legs. They are a little smaller than painted storks standing around three feet tall (35 to 38 inches). Black storks are about the same size as milky storks but their plumage is all black except for the white chest and underwings. Black-necked storks are quite a bit taller, reaching nearly five feet (51 to 59 inches). They have a blueish-black head, neck and wings but their bodies are white. The painted stork has a white body and black/white wings but they get their name from the colorful pink flight feathers and long orange beak.

What Kind of Herons Live in Vietnam?

Grey heron in flight
Grey herons are just one of several species of herons found in Vietnam.©Adrian Eugen Ciobaniuc/

Herons can be found in many provinces in Vietnam but there is a higher concentration in the Tram Chim National Park. Some of the herons in Vietnam include:

  • Grey heron: dark grey feathers with a lighter neck and orangish bill, 40 to 44 inches tall.
  • Purple heron: grayish-purple feathers with a dark stripe along the side of its neck, 31 to 35 inches tall.
  • Chinese pond heron: dark brown head, blackish back, white underside, black-tipped yellow bill, 18 to 20 inches tall
  • Javan pond heron: light brown head, darker brown back, white underside, black-tipped yellow bill, 18 to 20 inches tall
  • Black-crowned night heron: contrasting white body with black wings and black crown, 22 to 24 inches tall

Are There Any Birds Featured on the Money of Vietnam?

No. The money of Vietnam, the dong, features the famous Vietnamese Prime Minister/President of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh. He served as Prime Minister from 1945 to 1955 and then as President until his death in 1969. The design on the back of the banknotes has had several different series but birds have not been included. The first series did have one animal, the elephant on the back of the 10 dong and a fishery was featured on the back of the five dong.

Is There a National Animal of Vietnam?

Wild Water Buffalo in Yala West National Park, Sri Lanka
The water buffalo is the national animal of Vietnam where they are often used for farm work.©Hugh Lansdown/

Yes. The national animal of Vietnam is the water buffalo. Water buffalo are massive animals and can be five to 6.2 feet at the shoulder and eight to 10 feet long. The males have huge horns that jut out the side of their heads and curve backward with some having a span of five feet. Although they sound dangerous the water buffalo has been domesticated for 5,000 years and are actually quite gentle. They have been used by the Vietnamese and other cultures on farms to help plow the fields and as transportation to move crops and people. There is also some symbolism with the national animal of Vietnam, if you own a water buffalo that has even symmetrical hair then you and your family will experience good luck.

Written by Cindy Rasmussen for

Must See In Vietnam is looking for stories from the Vietnam Expat Community. We would be delighted to publish your Experiences in Vietnam. Write to us at

We Welcome advertisers as Must See In Vietnam is a non-profit blogger and your support will will allow us to pursue our mission and even to hire young journalists to allow SME Vietnamese Businesses to have visibility all over the world!

Million of Thanks for following us, for your Likes , Loves, for your comments and for sharing with your friends. Visit us on Facebook

Must See In Vietnam is a Subsidiary of VGlobal Capital

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: