(Southeast, including Shanghai)
By Liu Yang, Yu Yat-Tung & Yong Ding Li | John Beaufoy Publishing | 2018 | Paperback | 178 Pages | 200–300 photographs | ISBN: 9781909612235
The Publisher’s View: This easy-to-use identification guide to the 280 bird species most representative of Southeast China covers Hunan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Hainan, and Shanghai. High quality photographs from the region’s top nature photographers are accompanied by detailed species descriptions which include nomenclature, size, distribution, habits and habitat. The user-friendly introduction covers geography and climate, vegetation, opportunities for naturalists and the main sites for viewing the listed species. Also included is an all-important checklist of all of the birds of Southeast China encompassing, for each species, its common and scientific name, IUCN status as at 2011.
The Authors: Yong Ding Li is vice-chair of the Southeast Asian Biodiversity Society and committee member of the Nature Society (Singapore)’s bird group. He is currently pursuing a PhD in biodiversity conservation at the Australian National University. Ding Li has extensive field experience in Singapore and across Asia, and has published many research papers on birds, conservation and ecology. He also advises the IUCN SSC on Southeast Asian birds.<
Yu Yat-tung, born and living in Hong Kong, studied ecology at university and has been a passionate birdwatcher in Hong Kong and the neighbouring areas of China since 1988. He is a research manager of the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, responsible for coordinating and managing their conservation projects.
Yang Liu is an ornithologist based in Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou. He has a PhD in Ecology and Evolution in University of Bern, Switzerland. He has rich experience of birdwatching in China since 1994 and is responsible for editing the China Bird Report and the associated checklist of birds in China.
Fatbirder View: It’s no secret that I don’t like photo-guides because they do not compare like with like, often showing birds from different angles etc. In this case how would you know, for example if you have seen an imperial eagle or spotted eagle if one or other flew by when the only visual you have is of both stood on the ground? This criticism is common to all photo-guides. The best ID field-guides give you plumage variation, juveniles, male and female, in different habitats etc etc. One photograph, no matter how good is insufficient even when supported with informative text.
Having got that out of the way, and knowing I have detractors, there are some good points. The introductory texts are brief but pack a lot in and reading those will help you know what to expect. If I was visiting south-eastern China on business or a family holiday when suitcase space was scarce and birding opportunities limited then this would be handy to have a long. Those not overly concerned with listing or perhaps with a general interest in nature would find this adequate. Its attractive and many of the photographs are excellent (not all) and are sufficient for the easier and more colourful species.
Take a look and decide for yourselves.
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