Japanese Field Guide

To: "" <>
Subject: Japanese Field Guide
From: Greg Anderson <>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 16:23:26 -0000
Dear all,

I've just logged back on after a period away and noted the thread last week 
on Japanese field guides. I was in Japan last month and have a few 

The Wild Bird Society of Japan (WBSJ) guide in still in print but only in 
Japanese (as Tim said). Nevertheless, it is still a nice compact guide with 
range maps and arrows to point out diagnostic features. As I recall there 
are scientific names for each species but not English names. One common 
forest bird that is not mentioned in the guide but that I came across 
regularly is the introduced Red-billed Leiothrix, so not every bird is 

Tim, Trevor and perhaps others mentioned photographic guides. I took with 
me the one with the Japanese Robin on the cover ("Wild Birds of Japan"). It 
is a nice photographic guide but I found myself only using it as a backup 
and relying on a copy of the (now out of print) English version of the WBSJ 
guide that a friend let me borrow while I was travelling. (In fact it was 
brand new. He had planned a trip to Japan some years ago but it never 
eventuated.) The other photographic guide that was mentioned is the two 
volume "550 Birds of Japan". It is also a very nice photographic guide and 
the pictures are somewhat larger than the single volume guide. However, in 
most cases the number of photos for each species seemed to be about the 
same. In several bookshops I visited I saw another more recent single 
volume guide called "590 Birds of Japan". (Surely it is only a matter of 
time before the 600 barrier is broken! There were also several others 
covering smaller numbers of species e.g. "230 Birds of Japan" and "120 
Birds of Japan".) So the bottom line is visit a decent sized bookshop when 
you get to Tokyo if you haven't managed to find anything before then.

Of the birdfinding guides I agree with Trevor that the guide by Brazil is 
more useful than Robinson, although both are worthwhile. I was able to 
obtain a copy of the Robinson guide before I left and Tim kindly let me 
borrow his copy of Brazil's guide so I could study it before the trip. I 
happened to be in Tokyo on the weekend of the Tokyo Bird Festival and 
learned at the WBSJ stall that Mark Brazil's guide (which is in English) is 
still available through them. Try checking their website. Apparently their 
HQ is near Shinjuku Station so it is easily accessible.

Hope this information helps.



Greg Anderson, PhD
NHMRC Senior Research Fellow                            
Head, Iron Metabolism Laboratory                        
Population Health and Human Genetics Division           
Queensland Institute of Medical Research
P.O. Royal Brisbane Hospital,  Herston,  Queensland  4029,  Australia
Tel:    +61-(0)7-3362-0187
Fax:    +61-(0)7-3362-0191

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