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Birds of East Asia: China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Russia (Princeton Field Guides) Paperback – February 15, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Field Guides
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (February 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691139261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691139265
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


Winner of the 2009 Louis Brownlow Book Award


"Finally. The first single-volume guide for eastern Asia, and it's exquisitely illustrated."--Matt Mendenhall, Birder's World



"Although northeastern Asia boasts a number of regional endemics and is a source of many actual and potential vagrants to North America, the region has been sorely lacking a modern field guide. . . . Birds of East Asia finally provides a treatment that meets the standards expected for modern field guides. . . . I will certainly take it with me on any future visits to the region. That's a compliment I cannot offer any other current or past field guide to the region."--Nick Lethaby, Birder



"Any birder planning to visit this fascinating part of the world will want to get Birds of East Asia for their trip."--Federick Brock, Wildlife Activist



"Eastern Asia, in a biological sense, represents one of the last great frontiers, even for a group as generally well known as birds. Brazil, a field ornithologist with considerable experience with Asian avifauna, has produced the first comprehensive guide to birds of the region. . . . This is an excellent field guide and reference book. Birders who travel extensively in East Asia (or who want to) will own a copy as will any library with strong ornithological holdings."--Choice



"This interesting guide, which covers major islands including Japan and Taiwan, as well as the Asian continent from Kamchatka to the Korean peninsula, is amply illustrated with a plethora of color plates and maps that will provide any traveler with the information necessary to identify any bird of this vast region."--Indiana Audubon Quarterly

From the Inside Flap

"Well-written and well-organized, this excellent book will be widely applauded by the professional and amateur birding community."--Susan Myers, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Mark Brazil (1955~) was born in Worcestershire, England, and has lived in Scotland and New Zealand, but currently resides in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island.

Educated at Keele and Stirling Universities, he has been writing since the late 1970s. Since 1982 his column Wild Watch has been published in The Japan Times newspaper, his is now the longest running single author natural history column in the world.

Mark's books include: A Birdwatcher's Guide to Japan, Birds of Japan, Wild Asia, The Whooper Swan and Field Guide to the Birds of East Asia. More about his writings and work can be found at http://www.japannatureguides.com/

Mark is an active field naturalist, and is a frequent lecturer and leader for Zegrahm Expeditions (http://www.zeco.com) worldwide. He is the founder of Japan Nature Guides and leads many birdwatching, natural history and photographic tours throughout Japan.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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The illustrations are done with very good quality.
Jack Holloway
This book is sure to attract the attention of admiring birders looking for an excellent field guide of East Asia.
D. S. Ablin
The plates are opposite the range maps and field notes for easy reference.
R. G. Lane

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By R. G. Lane on February 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just received this book in time for an upcoming trip to NE China. The plates are opposite the range maps and field notes for easy reference. The artwork is excellent and also includes some juvenile forms and seasonal variations. The field notes are concise and helpful and include notes on subspecies. The binding is rugged and durable.

The only other comparable book is Birds of China by MacKinnon and Phillipps, which I also own. MacKinnon's book is bulkier and has an awkward layout with maps and plates in front and field notes in the back. One very important caveat is that MacKinnon covers all of China while Brazil includes only coastal China (up to about 110 degrees east). Travelers to Western China are advised to buy MacKinnon's book instead.

Overall, Birds of East Asia is a portable and useful field guide. Highly recommended.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By C. E. Brelsford on April 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
I live in Shanghai and have been using "Birds of East Asia" for about a month. Despite its imperfections, especially as regards its treatment of China, Mark Brazil's opus should be on the bookshelf of every birder in eastern China. For many of us, "East Asia" will supplant MacKinnon's "Birds of China" as the book we turn to first for eastern Chinese birds.

The species accounts in "East Asia" are long and detailed, and the paintings are not just big and beautiful but also accurate. The accuracy of the paintings may be the biggest advantage of "East Asia" over MacKinnon. I photographed a zitting cisticola last year and mistook it for a Japanese swamp warbler, in part because the painting in MacKinnon of the cisticola is inaccurate. The zitting cisticola in "East Asia" looks just like the bird in my photo.

In the prefatory material, Brazil says that "East Asia" originally was going to cover the Japanese archipelago and Korean Peninsula only. Brazil's earlier plan is evident in the book. Eastern China (except for Manchuria) is a bit of an afterthought. Brazil includes all of Northeast China then hugs the Chinese coast to Fujian before turning east to Taiwan. "East Asia" also covers all of Japan, all of Korea, and all of Russia east of about 116 degrees east longitude.

Brazil may have had good reasons for not including the inland Chinese provinces, such as Jiangxi (which would have allowed him to include Courtois's laughingthrush). And it's true that few would agree that ALL of China lies in East Asia. So where do you draw the line? Farther west, I would say. (Suggestion: exclude the ornithologically complex provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan, Gansu, Inner Mongolia west of 110 degrees east latitude, and all provinces west. Include everything else.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Nathan L. Brouwer on April 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
I am leaving for China in one week and will be taking this book, which looks to be an excellent guide. However, I was cross-referencing the birds in it with those found in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in the southwest of China, and most birds are lacking. As hinted at by the inclusion of Japan and Russia in the title, this book covers birds of easternmost east Asia. It does not cover Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan, Hong Kong, and southern China. Moreover, the species maps only show distributions in the easternmost provinces of China, regardless if they are in fact further west.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Ablin on March 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
Review of Birds of East Asia by Mark Brazil - Excellent

The recently published book, Birds of East Asia by Mark Brazil is superlative in every way! It is an amazing compilation of Mark Brazil's encyclopedic knowledge of the birds of East Asia. This field guide fills a previous void in coverage of important and major birding areas in East Asia, including East China, Taiwan, Korea, East Russia, and Japan. This book details 985 species of birds, including residents, migrants, and vagrants of the region, and includes 236 beautifully illustrated plates. The powerful and majestic Steller's Sea Eagle, spectacularly drawn by Alan Harris, graces the cover of both the USA and European versions. The only difference is that the background of the USA version is black, and the European version is white. However, the cover of the white European version is truly stunning, as it also shows the winter habitat of the Steller's Sea Eagle, as it flies over snow, ice, and sea.

The organization and layout of this field guide are excellent. A general section, good for beginning birders, includes the following: introduction, how to use this book, avian topography and terminology, key to families, and references. The specific sections of 985 detailed species and 236 accompanying illustrated plates are superb. The text and range maps of the species are displayed on one page with the artists plate illustrations directly opposite, making the field guide efficient and easy to use for comparison of species, migration patterns, and range of locations.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Blakiston on April 29, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As others have noted from their respective corners of eastern Asia, range maps might be a little off, and I can add eastern Russia to that list. I restrict this review to that geographical area. I suspect that the Kamchatka range maps are good, and many of the songbirds appear to be properly represented throughout the Russian Far East, but for the southern Russian Far East some of the maps of key low-density raptors (Saker falcon, Mountain hawk eagle, Monk vulture) are way off.

Although the author clearly relied on the knowledge of regional experts who did not always give him the best or most current information regarding species distribution, the bottom line, I think, is that this is the best guide (at least in both English and Russian) for the Russian Far East. Just don't rely too much on the range maps.
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