Birding in Cuc Phuong National Park
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.
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.