Interview with Dr John MacKinnon by Han Xuesong about the updated Guide to the Birds of China

It’s more than twenty years since the publication of Dr. John MacKinnon’s seminal “A Field Guide to the Birds of China”.  From the moment it was released in 2000, it has been THE book on the birds of China and, given it was published in both English and Chinese, the “MacKinnon guide” as it has come to be known, was the gateway into birding for thousands of young Chinese.  

Of course, over time, the guide has begun to show its age.  There have been many new species added to the China list, a huge number of taxonomic changes and we now have much greater knowledge about the distribution of China’s birds (although there is still much to learn!). 

And so finally, after much encouragement, John caved in to pressure to update his book. And today, after more than two decades, the birding community in China is excited about the forthcoming release of the new edition.

In the interview below, young Chinese birder 韩雪松 (Han Xuesong) interviews John about the impact of his original book, the changes we can expect in the new version, how it remains a legacy for his main artist – the late Karen Phillipps – and finally, how we can get our hands on a copy of our own.  


Here are two good ways to order, with a discount, in the UK:

Direct from Oxford University Press using discount code “ASPROMP8” to save 30%.  Or order from Wild Sounds and Books in the UK, using code “RBABOTW” (Rare Bird `Alert book of the week) to obtain a discount and know that 5% of all sales goes to BirdLife International.

2 thoughts on “Interview with Dr John MacKinnon by Han Xuesong about the updated Guide to the Birds of China”

  1. What do you expect to see in birdwatching in China in next two decades?
    Well, I hope to see John still pottering around birding hotspots in China two decades from now 🙂

    Nice interview

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