Three new nesting sites for the grey-crowned crocias (Crocias langbianis), an endangered species endemic to Vietnam, have been discovered.

Prior to recent fieldwork conducted by BirdLife International, along with colleagues from Bi Doup – Nui Ba National Park and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, the only recorded nestingsites were in forests of the Lan Vien Landscape Protection Area, including the Ta Nung Valley and Chu Yang Sin National Park, in Dac Lac province.

During the field survey, pairs were recorded at two locations in the Da Nhim Watershed Protection Forest in Lac Duong district, a site currently being logged and cleared for hydro-electric project. The survey team observed a pair or crocias at the forest edge within 507m of the construction site.

Three pairs were also located in D’Ran Watershed Protection Forest in Don Duong district in a mosaic of broadleaf evergreen and coniferous forest. Another seven pairs were found along a 207km transect of the Don Duong plantation forest, a broadleaved evergreen forest which is being logged on a 35-year rotation.

“We have grave concerns for two of the newly discovered sites,” said Jonathan C. Eames, programme manager of Birdlife International in Indochina . The reservoir site of the hydroelectric project in Da Nhim is located within the elevation range and habitat of the crocias and the Don Duong site is being logged.”

Elsewhere in the Da Nhim watershed Protection Forest, and again within the habitat and altitude range of the crocias, the team observed recent forest clearance for coffee plantations and under-planting of Japanese horseradish (wasabe) in primary evergreen forest.

“If wasabe cultivation proves profitable, its cultivation could rapidly spread through remaining forests in Lam Dong province, as was the case with coffee, with a negative impact on ground dwelling and understorey-dependent species,” said Eames./.