A Birdwatcher's Guide to Japan. By Mark Brazil. Kodansha International, 1987, 219 pages; 62 maps. £8,95. This, the best of two recently published books on bird-finding in Japan, is essential to any birder visiting the country. Sixty sites and areas are treated. For each locality a general introduction precedes a summary of 'Birds and seasons', and a section on 'How to get there' complements the excellent maps and provides useful suggestions for accommodation. The main introduction includes short summaries of the climate and seasons, vegetation, and the Japanese avifauna. A chapter on practical advice ably covers the options and techniques for getting around and summarises the various accommodation options (certain establishments cater mainly for birders). A checklist is the most comprehensive and up-to-date available. This bird-site guide transcends the normal characteristics of the genus and is no weary gazetteer. It is a lively, authoritative and often thought-provoking read: unresolved questions of status and distribution are outlined where relevant. Alternative attractions are often mentioned, vocalisations of'target species' are usually described, identification pitfalls are remarked upon, interesting or visible mammals are mentioned, and the whole book is written in a refreshing, personal style. It would be complete madness for any birder facing the challenge of travel in Japan to be without this book. ROD MARTINS

The Macmillan Field Guide to Bird Identification. By Alan Harris, Laurel Tucker and Keith Vinicombe. Macmillan, London, 1989. 224 pages; 94 colour plates. £14.95. Despite there being many identification field guides to both British and European birds in print, no book to date has really dealt with the identification of difficult species and species groups in sufficient detail. The reason for this is obvious--lack of space for each bird when dealing with between 500 and 800 species.

Issue 9
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Marr, T
Martins, R
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