Birdwatching in China

A Field Guide to the Birds of China

China is one of the largest countries in the world, covering 7% of the earth’s land surface, and encompassing a hugely diverse range of habitats. As a result it boasts a rich and diverse avifauna, including some of the most spectacular and fascinating birds to be found anywhere in the world. John MacKinnon and Karen Phillipps’ important new guide will be the first truly comprehensive, taxonomically modern, and fully illustrated field guide to the birds of China. Over 1300 bird species are illustrated in 128 original colour paintings, by Karen Phillipps and Dave Showler. The species accounts stress the key points for field recognition and give a full description of the plumage, voice, range, distribution, status, and behavioural characteristics for every bird, with additional descriptions provided for hundreds of subspecies. Colour distribution maps are provided for all illustrated species. The book also includes a useful introductory section that presents a background to the ecology of China, a brief history of Chinese ornithology, and plenty of practical hints on birdwatching in China. The guide’s portable format means it will fit easily into a backpack or pocket. John MacKinnon lived in China and Hong Kong for eight years, and has extensive experience of watching and writing about Chinese birds. He has been working in ecology and conservation in Asia for over 30 years, and his work in China included co-authoring the master plan to save the Giant Panda and its habitat. He has written and co-authored many books on the natural history of Asia, including a number of other bird guides. Karen Phillipps was born in Borneo, lived in Hong Kong for over 20 years, and has illustrated several other books on the birdlife of the region.

Fat Birder for China

Unfortunately, the pressure imposed by the huge population spells bad news for the wildlife; apparently nearly 8% of the country is set-aside as reserves, but this does not mean the areas are protected. Logging and hunting persist, the waterways are polluted beyond belief and much of the northeast is under threat of desertification as a result of merciless deforestation in the north. The government in Beijing has firm plans to do all it can to extend the protection of wildlife, but the recovery will be slow, and quite probably too late for some of the countries more vulnerable endemics.

Links

China Bird Watching Network

Bird watching is becoming increasingly popular in China mainland. In the past couple of years, more and more bird watching societies have been formed. Includes: The China Bird Report Checklist of Birds of China 2010

Directory of Important Bird Areas in China (Mainland): Key Sites for Conservation

Hong Kong Bird Watching Society
Website: www.hkbws.org.hk

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