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The south-east China region straddles the sub-tropics and the southern temperate zone of the eastern edge of the Eurasian landmass. It includes thousands of islands, the largest of which is Hainan, in the South China Sea. China's longest river, the Yangtze, borders it to the north and the third of China's major waterways, the Pearl River, flows through in the south. Although the highest mountains are only just over 2,000m high, it is a fractured and rugged landscape where travel until recently was often very difficult.
This incredibly diverse landscape supports an equally diverse wildlife. More than 730 species of birds and 200 species of mammals have been recorded here. The birds include such spectacular species as Cabot's Tragopan, White-eared Night Heron, Siberian Crane as well as stunning passerines such as Yellow-throated Laughingthrush, Gold-fronted Fulvetta and Short-tailed Parrotbill.
Since China opened up to foreign visitors in the early 1980s birdwatchers have been gradually visiting the ever-expanding list of reserves, now more than 500. This book covers more than 160 sites, not all of which are reserves. As might be expected in a region where the scientific study of birds was largely suspended for fifty years there has been a steady stream of ornithological discoveries - from the recording of Varied Tit in Guangdong, through to finding White-eared Night Heron in Guangdong/Jiangxi. The most prominent re-discoveries since the turn of the century have been that of Yellow-throated Laughingthrush in Wuyuan, Jiangxi and Chinese Crested Tern, first in the Mazu Islands off Fujian and more recently at other sites in Fujian. In addition, there is a continued expansion of the species list for the region as DNA studies of warblers in particular have already added five new species this decade.
This book is the first detailed site guide for the region, including maps, information on key bird species, other wildlife, transportation, accommodation, a check list of sites and check lists of birds and mammals in English and Chinese, with status information for each proivince. It covers Hong Kong, Macau, Guangdong, Hainan, Guangxi, Hunan, Jiangxi and Fujian.