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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 1500 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 500 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.
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.