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Press Release: First Việt Nam Bird Race Attracts Impressive Crowd

Vietnam Bird Race Team on boat at Tram Chim National Park

More than 120 avid nature lovers and photographers gathered in the wetlands of Tràm Chim National Park located in Ðồng Tháp Province in the Mekong Delta to take part in the very first, Việt Nam Bird Race. The race was jointly organised by Tràm Chim National Park, WildTour, Việt Nam Wildlife Photography Club and BirdLife International, with sponsorship from Mapletree Investments and Canon Vietnam, and supported by Lexar and BH Asia. On top of the race, the event also drew over 80 school children from Ðồng Tháp province to participate in an art competition focusing on the birds of Việt Nam, an onsite bird photography exhibition, and a nature walk into the Tràm Chim wetlands.

Starting with an evening welcome ceremony on Friday, 10 May 2024, by the organising team, the participants set off in teams of three to four on pre-arranged motorboats at 6 am in the morning on Saturday to photograph as many species as possible within Tràm Chim National Park over a 29-hour period. A total of 20 teams took part in the inaugural race, with several international teams from Malaysia, Cambodia and the Philippines joining. The team ‘Chim điên’, represented by local birdwatchers from the Mekong Delta region won the 1st prize in this first-of-its-kind event in Vietnam by photographing 71 species. Lê An Khương, team leader of Chim Dien shared, “We are excited to be part of this race, the first for us in Việt Nam, and to see more than 70 species. Some of our highlights were the Knob-billed Duck and the Collared Scops Owl.”

The Việt Nam Bird Race coincided with the World Migratory Bird Day on May 11, an event held twice a year to celebrate the spectacular movement of birds across the globe every Spring and Autumn. Over this time, millions of migratory birds can be expected to be on their journeys across the Asian continent, moving from wetland to wetland along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

Global real estate group Mapletree first introduced the concept of this race to Việt Nam in 2023, following a series of successful bird race events held in both Singapore and Malaysia. Mr. Edmund Cheng, Chairman of Mapletree, added, “Mapletree recognises the importance of protecting biodiversity.  We trust our contributions to these markets where we operate will promote awareness and enthusiasm in conserving our migratory birds across Asia”.

“We have planned for this Bird Race to coincide with World Migratory Bird Day, and at Tràm Chim, an important wetland in the Mekong Delta used by thousands of migratory species and also Việt Nam’s first EAAFP Flyway Site. It was great to see strong interest in the event from friends and colleagues in south Việt Nam, and even from as far away as Hà Nội”, observed Mr. Nguyen Hoai Bao, director of WildTour and the organising team leader.  

Tràm Chim National Park is home to a wide array of migratory bird species that thrive in the wetlands, most prominently the Sarus Crane, a globally threatened species and the focus of intensive conservation work. During September to May, birdwatchers at the National Park may be able to observe cranes, as well as large flocks of migratory cormorants and ducks such as the Garganey, and shorebirds like the Black-tailed Godwit.

The organisers and supporters of this event plan to build on the success of this year’s event and introduce new elements to attract more bird enthusiasts from across the country. The Việt Nam Bird Race will take place annually and the next iteration is slated to be held in May 2025. Bird photographers, meanwhile, can brace themselves for the upcoming Việt Nam bird photography competition, expected in August 2024 which will be accompanied by a photo exhibition at SC VivoCity in October 2024.

List of winning teams

  1. Chim Điên from Việt Nam with 71 species
  2. Ô Tác from Việt Nam with 70 species
  3. Spot-billed Pelican from Việt Nam with 69 species
  4. Philipinas from Philippines with 68 species

List of winning photographs


  • Pham Trung Kien with a Pied Kingfisher
  • Le Hoang Men with a Grey-headed Swamphen
  • Huynh Thanh Danh with an Ornate Sunbird

Migratory birds

  • Vo Trong Trai with a Painted Stork
  • Bo Nong with a Knobbed-billed Duck
  • Hoang Nhiem with an Oriental Darter
Teams in action at the Việt Nam Bird Race. Photo from Nguyen Truong Sinh
Introductions by event emcee, Chuyen Hai Kieu at the closing ceremony. Photo from Nguyen Truong Sinh

“It is a milestone for migratory bird conservation in Việt Nam at a truly important wetland that we can all be proud of”

Dr. Yong Ding Li, the regional flyways coordinator for BirdLife International in Asia