- Paperback: 1 pages
- Publisher: A & C Black; 1 edition (Oct. 2 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0713674393
- ISBN-13: 978-0713674392
- Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.7 x 19 cm
- Shipping Weight: 699 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,111,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Photographic Guide To the Birds of Japan and East Asia Paperback – Oct 2 2007
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'...This guide is a great achievement and the standard of photography in it is excellent. Any birder planning to visit this large region should take this book with them.' Birdwatch (May 2008)
About the Author
Tadao Shimba (Japan) has recorded many rare birds and has contributed superb photographs to field guides and magazines in Japan, North America and Australia.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This photographic guide follows the same vein as other recent photographic books; it offers hundreds of color photos with good clarity and color but of a small size. Most pages have three small photos displaying an even smaller bird in the photo. It seems at least half of the photograph shows only the background. It would have been better to zoom/crop in on the bird, especially with the warblers and sparrows. I could easily cover many of the birds with just the tip of my finger.
The quality of the text is average, giving a fair description of the bird along with its voice and, sometimes a reference to a similar species. The small maps use three seasonal colors and give a general depiction of the bird's range over eastern Asia.
Is this book useful? Yes, but not as a reliable identification or field guide. It's good to see an actual photo of a bird; and, most of the photos are pretty good. This book will help the birder learn the birds of Japan, Korea, or eastern China before a visit. However, if you're serious about a pure birding trip, it wil be necessary to supplement this book with something else.
If you are considering some of the more remote islands such as Okinawa or the Ryukyus, the birds of those southern Japanese islands are covered in this book, too. Photographs are given for the island specialites such as Ryukyu Scops-Owl, Ryukyu Robin, Izu Thrush and the "Ryukyu Minivet" which is treated in this book as a dark-headed subspecies of Ashy Minivet.
There are several other superior photographic guides to Japan, but they are written in only Japanese. Despite the language barrier, I prefer these books in tandem with an English field guide. The Japanese books are available on amazon.co.jp.
Update: An excellent, superior field guide came out in 2009 titled "Birds of East Asia: China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Russia" by Mark Brazil. I consider it to be the absolute leader in the field for a field guide to this region. -- (Written by Jack at Avian Review, July 2008)
I've listed several related books below...
1) A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Japan (4582542301) in Japanese
2) Wild Birds of Japan by Kanouchi (4635070077) in Japanese
3) Birds of Japan: Photographic Field Book 15 (4635060721) in Japanese
4) Birds of Japan: Photographic Pocket Guide (4635062171) in Japanese
5) Field Guide to the Birds of Japan by the Wild Bird Society of Japan
6) A Field Guide to the Birds of Korea by Lee/Koo/Park
7) Wild Birds of Korea by Yoon
8) A Field Guide to the Birds of China by MacKinnon/Phillipps
9) Atlas of the Beijing Birds by Zhao (ISBN 7503822570)
I haven't used the book in Japan yet but I think it will work alright in the field. Species are organized in the same order usually seen in bird books in the west (loons to buntings), but I wish the groups were color coded along the edge of the book--so I could quickly find the sparrow section, for example. Since the book was published in the UK, British common names are used for the species. Scientific names are given for all, so ultimately there is no confusion.
An appendix in the back has a chart of what the names of the birds are in Japanese, but only in romaji (Japanese characters written as they sound with English letters) obviously so people who know no Japanese can pronounce them, but since I am learning Japanese, I wish they were shown in kanji, too. I also wish the Japanese name was given on the actual species account, but it isn't.
Notably missing is a check list for recording sightings. There are legible range maps as well as notes on when and where the species occurs in Japan. A map of Japan and north-east Asia is also included. A 20-page introduction has some useful information for those seeking birds in the area. The bird topography map on page 23 is functional, but the art is highly pixelated and, in my opinion, unattractive.
Overall, I think this book will fulfill my needs and I'm happy I bought it, though it's not quite a Peterson's.
A very good size, and keep it on the table...