Cuc Phuong National Park lies at the south-eastern extent of a limestone range that runs north-west to Son La province. This limestone range predominantly comprises karst, the marine in origin and perhaps 200 million years old. 3.5 hour-drive from Ha Noi capital.
Cuc Phuong was the first protected area to be established in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Consequently, there are a large number of official documents relating to the site, of which this section only provides a selective review.
Biodiversity of 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.
To date, 1,980 vascular plant species in 887 genera and 221 families have been recorded at the national park. So 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 Delacour's Leaf Monkey Trachypithecus delacouri and the globally vulnerable Owston's Civet Hemigalus owstoni. In addition, the nationally threatened Leopard Panthera pardus has been recently recorded at the national park. Furthermore, over 40 bat species have been recorded at the national park. Unfortunately, several large mammal species, including Tiger Panthera tigris and White-cheeked Crested 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.
313 species of bird have been recorded at Cuc Phuong National Park. Cuc Phuong is situated at the northern end of the Annamese Lowlands Endemic Bird Area (EBA). However, only one of the restricted-range bird species characteristic of this EBA, Short-tailed Scimitar Babbler Jabouilleia danjoui, has been recorded at the national park. Cuc Phuong qualifies as an Important Bird Area.
Birds highlight of Cuc Phuong National park
Red-collared Woodpecker, Pied Falconet, Ratchet-tailed Treepie, Bar-bellied, Blue-rumped and Eared Pittas, White-winged Magpie, Limestone Wren-Babbler
The good time for birding and bird photography in Cuc Phuong is from December to March.