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Birds of East Asia (Helm Field Guides) Paperback – 19 Dec 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd; 01 edition (19 Dec. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713670401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713670400
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 3 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 303,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"...an excellent, in some respects ground-breaking guide to this region"
-- BirdWarching.co.uk (May 2009)

"Highly recommended!" -- Birdwatch (May 2009)

Review

"It is a magnificent achievement, one that should stand the test of time, and well worth buying by every keen birder."


"...an excellent, in some respects ground-breaking guide to this region"

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Format: Paperback
This superb fieldguide has been long in the making but the wait has been worth it. The author's home is in Japan and it is with the birds of that archipelago that he is most closely associated. Indeed, for English-speaking birders who live in or visit Japan this instantly becomes the standard reference work. The same will be true of the Korean peninsula and Taiwan where English-language fieldguides are few, poor and dated.

The book's scope expands to include eastern Russia and eastern China and, again, this excellent book improves on anything previously available. (MacKinnon's book A Field Guide to the Birds of China: Ornithology is the best single guide to all of China but Brazil's book is more up-to-date, more user-friendly and has better illustrations. If you are staying in eastern China and can only take one, make it Brazil's.)

All fieldguides must limit the text that can be included in the interests of space and weight. All credit, then, to the producers of this marvellous book for including thorough descriptions to accompany what are for the most part outstanding illustrations. The model they follow is the ideal one of text, map and illustration all on adjacent pages. Using the book is a delight and it is particularly good on 'difficult' birds such as warblers and snipes.

Not to everyone's taste may be Brazil's ready acceptance of new taxonomical divisions. Thus Milvus lineatus, Anas zonorhyncha and Bubulcus coromandus (to give three examples) are included here as species rather than races.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all, I use this book in South Korea and I've noticed a lot of discrepancies with the distribution information. For example, Elegant buntings are resident in Korea and very easy to find in winter, but according to the book they're only summer visitors. However, this book is thorough in every other respect and its illustrations are second to none. I didn't think I'd find a book of this calibre for East Asia.
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Format: Paperback
Used this guide when I went on a Cruise from Singapore to Beijing via Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan and China. It "came into its own" north of Vietnam and is up with the excellence of other Helm guides. Particularly good illustrations and good clear descriptions. A class book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just used this for a two-week trip to China, with four days of birding in a variety of environments (towns, wetlands, parks, mudflats, woodlands, etc). Basically this is an excellent, well-informed guide in the Collins tradition BUT
It is very heavy to carry for a day in the field in addition to scope, bins, etc.
Descriptions are overlong in many cases; for example, they often start with (making this up) 'a large blue bird with a white head and green flanks' when you can see that from the picture.
It would benefit from a sharper focus on the differences between similar species. In many cases this was covered late in the descriptive text and in too little detail. It may be better to put the ID text earlier in each species account and to add points of difference to the illustrations.
These points matter because as a birder from outside the region when I am confronted with an unfamiliar bird that could be one of several similar species I need to know the points of difference very quickly so I can look at the bird again and nail the ID. If it takes five minutes of reading a page of 8-point descriptions to dig out the differences then the bird may well have gone. With nearly 1,000 species there is a limit to how much one can learn in advance and I lost several potential new species in this way.
Having said all that there is no doubting the size of Mark Brazil's achievement in assembling this guide and its value for English-speaking birders visiting the region.
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Format: Paperback
Excellent layout clear maps and typeface let down by some poorer illustrations and overlong text makes the book overall somewhat bulky. However there is much to like and it's easy to use in a area where there is a great need for this guide. Recomended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the definitive ‘go to’ source for the birds of East Asia. As others have stated the photographs are a bit small and often out of sync with the descriptive text. This is a common problem with this type of reference book but is forgivable for the breadth of the material covered. The only criticism that I could think of is that it's really quite heavy and probably not suitable as a field guide for some. If you purchase this book you certainly won't be disappointed as it is truly excellent and comprehensive. Recommended.
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Format: Paperback
The illustrations and text are very well laid out, making it easy to find details of each species. The maps are also opposite the plates, and a quick index is provided inside the back cover. The plates are of a good size, so now just need to compare them with the birds on a forthcoming trip!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A definitive guide, especially in our case for the birds of Japan, allowing better Identification of birds compared to our previous local Japanese reference books.
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