Birds of East Asia
This is the first single volume guide ever devoted to the eastern Asian avifauna. The eastern Asian region, centering especially on the major islands off the continental coast (including Japan and Taiwan) and the immediately adjacent areas of the Asian continent from Kamchatka in the north and including the Korean Peninsula are an important centre of endemism. Birds endemic to this region include representatives of many of the major families, from the world's largest eagle - Steller's Sea Eagle - to the tiny Taiwan Firecrest. The east Asian continental coast and the offshore islands also form one of the world's major international bird migration routes, especially for waterfowl, shorebirds and raptors, while the east Asian continental mainland itself is home to a wide range of species little known to western ornithologists such as Scaly-sided Merganser, Oriental Stork and Mugimaki Flycatcher. The guide features the most up-to-date text available, which, in conjunction with extensive colour plates throughout, facilitates the field identification of all of the species known from the region. Colour distribution maps enhance the text by providing a visual analysis of the summer, winter and migratory ranges of all species.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
This is both a quality and a much needed field guide for eastern Asia. Making it additionally important is being the only book in English (or any language) to describe and illustrate all the birds of this large geographic region. In all, 1,004 species are described and illustrated in 236 plates. The illustrations are done with very good quality. The artistry may look familiar since they are done by artists who’ve produced other top-notch guides (e.g., Per Alstrom, Derek Onley). Due to the 13 different illustrators, the variation of artistry is noticeable between the families of birds; however, all are very good and do not present any distractions. Nearly every bird is illustrated with 2-9 plumages or angles. These represent differences between gender, seasons, and notable subspecies or races. A fair amount of attention has been given to noting the subspecies. Only a few birds (some tits, warblers, accentors, and vagrants) are shown with only a single image. Views of distinguishing field marks are shown in the tails and wings by illustrating birds in flight. If I had to pick on something in the plates, I’d only note that the bright whites of the Phylloscopus warblers appear to be too stark. The text for each bird is a paragraph ranging from 14-40 lines. At least 50-60% is dedicated to concise, effective descriptions of the bird and its various plumages. These descriptions offer some very useful, detailed information; however, very little is offered in comparing the birds to similar species. A nice touch is the inclusion of a line or two dedicated to just “BP”, or Bare Parts (i.e., bill, eyes, and legs). The remainder of the text gives a good account of the bird’s distribution over the range. It also provides a brief summary of the habitat. The descriptions of the voices often do a valiant job at capturing the texture or pattern of the bird’s song or calls, which will helpful when considering a look-alike species. Considering the large range covered, the maps do a good job at illustrating the birds’ ranges. These ranges are a bit generalized in these 2x2cm maps, but are effective. Some of the more range-restricted birds, such as the Pryer’s Woodpecker, require an arrow to draw your attention to the tiny island on which it lives. No map shows an area of less than 1,200 miles wide. This makes the maps for Taiwan endemics to be a little weak. The five different colors in the maps represent resident, summer, winter, migration, and scarce. What area is considered “East Asia” in this book? Both of the Koreas and all of Japan and its islands are covered. The eastern 1/3 of Russia and 1/5 of China are covered, ranging no further south than Hong Kong. This book is a must-have book for going to any of these areas. Its quality and completeness will serve you better than any other book I’ve used or examined. The next best options for for only a more restricted range include the books (see below) by Viney, MacKinnon, Wu, Lee, or Shimba. I’ve listed several related books below… 1) Atlas of the Beijing Birds by Zhao (ISBN 7503822570) 2) Birds of China by De Schauensee 3) The Birds of Hong Kong and South China, 8th ed. by Viney et al. 4) A Field Guide to the Birds of China by MacKinnon et al. 5) A Field Guide to the Wild Birds of Taiwan by Wu (ISBN 9579578001) 6) A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Hong Kong by HKBS (9621428947) 7) A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Japan and East Asia by Shimba 8) A Field Guide to the Birds of Japan by Wild Bird Society of Japan 9) A Field Guide to the Birds of Korea by Lee et al. 10) A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Japan (ISBN 4582542301) 11) Wild Birds of Japan (ISBN 4635070077) 12) A Field Guide to Birds of the USSR by Flint et al.