Birds of Japan follows a tried and tested field guide format, with an introductory section on the different habitats found across the islands, followed by the species accounts. All 700 species that have occurred in Japan are included, even those that are recorded as being extinct are illustrated.
The identification text accompanying the plates is very useful and includes the identification pointers needed to separate similar species and the status and distribution each bird illustrated. For most there is also a very useful distribution map, coloured to denote the time of the year the particular species occurs.
This is a very no-fuss book, the text and illustrations are all very clean and straightforward and easy to use. The illustrations are by a variety of artists and are of the quality we have come to expect from a Helm Guide, indeed many have been repurposed from other high-quality Helm guides. I was particularly taken by the skuas that come alive on the page.
Where appropriate most plumage stages and types are illustrated, for Arctic Skua there are 14 birds on the page, White Wagtail gets 18, illustrating all of the sub-species likely to be seen in the archipelago and Steller’s Sea Eagle get 8.
Anyone planning a birding trip to Japan needs this guide.