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on February 4, 2017
A good guide with good information and pretty good drawings. However, I expected a guide of birds of China and Russia, however it only covers the easternmost parts of these countries. Good for Korea and Japan, but not good for China or Russia!
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on May 25, 2015
We used this guide on a two week trip to Korea and Japan in April 2015. The trip was with non-birder friends and we spent a day at Suncheon Bay Eco Park as well as looking at birds in parks around shrines etc in Seoul, Geongju, and Tokyo. Since we did not have experience with Asian birds we had a learning curve about endemic genera of that region. The index of the plates inside the back cover was extremely useful in navigating to the plates that would be most helpful in identification. The listing of frequency table were helpful also. The drawings were more than adequate for identification. Some of the nomenclature for common names seemed more UK than US. The book fit easily into a pajaro.
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on February 1, 2018
Great book with lots of details and information. Totally helpful for folks who live in Korea, Japan, and SE Asia. Only downside is it's big and heavy, much bigger than a typical, American field guide.
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on June 1, 2013
I bought this and had it shipped to me in China which cost a small fortune, but I couldn't get Birds of China sent to me where I was.
Used it on several short birding trips and sometimes it was as good or better than what my Chinese birding guides had, but there were definitely birds missing. It wasn't very clear how much of China was covered. We were mostly in eastern China but perhaps not quite as limited an area as the book intended to cover. For example, we saw lots of Yellow-Throated Laughing Thrushes [Garrulax Galbanus] at the YueLiang Wan Nature Reserve in Jangxi Province and the book doesn't even list the species. Of course on other supposedly "authoritative" works, it is listed as a species of "Least Concern" but with a range only in India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. The Chinese guides told us that it is highly endangered in China with a population of only about 200. We must have seen 30 or more individuals in one Nature Reserve where a dozen or more photographers were out trying to get good shots of them.
Probably this is a good guide if you are traveling more widely in East Asia but not focusing on China.
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on April 29, 2009
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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on February 12, 2009
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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on February 11, 2009
Bascis: 2009, softcover, 236 color plates of 1,000+ species with multiple illustrations of each, one concise paragraph concentrates on distribution, identification, and voice; range map for each bird

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 a more restricted range include the books[...] by Viney, MacKinnon, Wu, Lee, or Shimba.

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on June 3, 2014
My son returned from a trip to Japan with photos he had taken of birds in various parts of the country. I am an avid birder, and wanted to identify the species he had seen both for him and myself. I was looking for high quality illustrations of the various East Asian species. Since I knew the places he had visited, I also needed range maps to help me narrow the possibilities when making identification. With this field guide I was able to confidently identify all the birds he photographed.

The Princeton guide to the birds of Australia was one of two guides I used when I traveled to Australia several years ago, and it was by far my favorite. I would confidently buy a Princeton field guide to any region in the world.
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on January 24, 2016
This book has been favorably reviewed online and in many publications. I see no point in repeating everything. Suffice to say, the text is extensive and the artwork is of a very high quality. Given the geographic coverage, a huge number of species is dealt with. Many vagrants from North America and other parts of the world are illustrated. Quite a few names have changed during the years since the book was published, but annotating a text can be a very useful learning exercise. I look forward to using this book the field.
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on April 20, 2009
As pointed out in other reviews, this guide does not include western China so if traveling to that area an additional Field Guide is necessary. The artists are all quite accomplished, but there are certainly some shortcomings with the plates. Looking at plate 225 which covers species/subspecies with which I am familiar, the Orange-crowned Warblers are too dark and streaked below, especially for the lutescens subspecies which is supposedly the depicted one. On the same plate the first winter female Yellow Warbler is unrecognizable as that species with the auricular being too dark and the face not blank enough. The Chinese Babax on plate 170 is poor, especially with regard to its shape. Plate 202 is the worst in the book that I've noticed so far. Despite its apparent good artwork there's a MAJOR disconnect between the written description and the plate itself, especially when addressing wing length. Brazil's descriptions seem to be correct and the plate wrong. On plate 8 the relative size of the frontal blaze on Greater and Lesser White-fronted Geese seem to be reversed. I'm confident others with more experience with the involved species could find other problems with the book, but as the title of this review says, it's a big improvement.
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