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Field Guides & Natural History  Ornithology  Birds of Asia-Pacific

Birds of Japan

Field / Identification Guide
By: Otani Chikara(Author)
392 pages, 1800+ colour illustrations, 540+ colour distribution maps
Publisher: Lynx Edicions
With updated taxonomy and covering over 540 bird species, this field guide follows on the famous HBW series from Lynx.
Birds of Japan
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  • Birds of Japan ISBN: 9788416728121 Flexibound Jul 2019 In stock
  • Birds of Japan ISBN: 9788416728169 Hardback Jul 2019 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
Selected version: £44.99
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About this book

Spanning more than 3000 km from northeast to southwest, the Japanese archipelago comprises four major islands and thousands of rocks and islets that stretch from Taiwan to the Russian Far East, and encompass a wide range of habitats. Thus, Alpine meadows and Arctic landscapes in the north give way to subtropical forests in the south. These environments are home to variously some of the most dramatic and little-known birds in Asia. Steller's Sea-eagle and Blakiston's Fish-owl on frozen Hokkaido. Some of the world's rarest seabirds like Short-tailed Albatross and Bryan's Shearwater on the country's furthest-flung outposts. Internationally important numbers of wintering cranes. Exciting endemics like Lidth's Jay, Amami Woodcock and Okinawa Rail on the southern islands. A suite of summer visitors ranging from the spectacular Fairy Pitta to the enigmatic Ijima's Leaf-warbler. Few countries possess the ornithological allure of Japan.

- Taxonomy follows the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World.
- Detailed texts covering status, habitat and behaviour, age, sex and geographical variation, voice, and confusion species.
- Over 1800 illustrations covering all species and distinctive subspecies, birds in flight, males and females, juveniles and non-breeding plumages, where appropriate.
- QR code for each species, linking to the Internet Bird Collection gallery of photos, videos and sounds.
- More than 540 full-colour range maps for all species other than vagrants.
- Well-marked subspecies groups receive full accounts, and the distributions of subspecies breeding in the region are clearly mapped.
- Local species names included.

Customer Reviews (1)

  • Some impressive new features
    By Christopher 14 Aug 2019 Written for Flexibound
    Having had no updated guides to Japan in recent years it is nice to have a sudden rush; the Helm Mark Brazil Birds of Japan last year and now the new Lynx edition this year. The Lynx publication is available in both hardback and paperback which is a positive plus point over the Helm publication which was only available in paperback. The plates are printed on grey paper throughout and this gives the guide a more consistent organised feel over the Brazil guide (which had some blue pages and some white pages with the white egrets one white pages). I would also say the illustrations are more consistent and of better quality though with some reservations. I had expected this new guide to include more juvenile forms of the birds than the Brazil guide but it actually contains less. Some are also questionable – the juvenile sparrowhawks (apart from the Chinese sparrowhawk illustration) omit the white spots on the primaries which the Brazil guide shows. Having photographed juvenile Eurasian sparrowhawks with the white spots clearly visible this omission is puzzling. It seems that the artist has relied on previous Japanese guides which show this form. The tit section is, if anything, less comprehensive than the Brazil guide and a real disappointment. However, the guide is cleaner and clearer – the geographical essay is much shorter and the whole introduction more focused and less padded. It is nice that the author has not yielded to the temptation to indulge in speculation about what species may be seen in the future.

    Range maps are also more conservative than the Brazil guide and for some species differ. The guide itself differs from the normal Clements/IOC taxa with species arranged differently. However, if the user can live with the HBW and Birdlife International classification it is a much easier guide to use. It is better laid out and the illustrations apart from the reservations much clearer and easier to use. One of the issue's with the Helm guide was the difficulty of using it as a field guide and the over-cluttered pages. Another great addition is the inclusion of Japanese bird names. This was a very disappointing omission by the Brazil guide but here we have each Japanese name in katakana and a katakana index as well. Another very welcome feature is the inclusion of bar codes which link to the HBW website and the photo sections of the birds described. The reader just points their smartphone at the code and things happen automatically. There is also an ID code included on an insert card so that the user can upload their photos and records. Once again a nice feature. This feature works very well and is a positive boon for identification purposes. Some birds only have a few photos but most have a lot. It certainly brings the guide into the 21st century and generally creates an impression that the publishers and author have taken more care over the book.

    So if I were to suggest which guide to use I would recommend this one. It is easier to use and with the link to the online photo library far and above a better investment. Of course, it isn't perfect but I don't believe there ever will be a perfect guide. However, it is a clear improvement on all previous guides and worth the purchase.
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Otani Chikara graduated from the University of Tokyo and has travelled and birded extensively in Japan and elsewhere in Asia (he was responsible for rediscovering the Chinese endemic Tibetan Rosefinch Carpodacus roborowskii after more than 50 years without sightings), as well as in Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Having dedicated more than 30 years to bird survey work, virtually throughout his homeland, he has also worked as a birding guide for at least 15 years, leading trips both within and outside Japan. He has a keen interest in the vocalizations and taxonomy of Japanese birds.

Field / Identification Guide
By: Otani Chikara(Author)
392 pages, 1800+ colour illustrations, 540+ colour distribution maps
Publisher: Lynx Edicions
With updated taxonomy and covering over 540 bird species, this field guide follows on the famous HBW series from Lynx.
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