John Andrew Wright

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John Andrew Wright

John Wright is an Australian wildlife photographer and bird guide based in Kyushu, Japan. John became seriously engaged in nature photography while living in Japan and then Thailand. He returned to Japan in 2008 and has since concentrated on wildlife photography, especially birds. John visits Southeast Asia and Australia regularly, but usually travels within the Japanese archipelago, where he also guides visiting birders and wildlife photography enthusiasts.


Ochre-rumped Bunting Emberiza yessoensis

The Japanese Reed Bunting (aka Ochre-rumped Bunting) is one of three "reed buntings" that occur in Japan. It is, however, the most distinctive and colorful of the three species, and also the most restricted in range and habitat. This species only breeds in a few locations in Japan, Korea, northeast China and southeast Russia. It is classified as Near Threatened (NT) due to continued habitat loss, particularly on the Asian mainland.

15 Photos

Copper Pheasant Syrmaticus soemmerringii

The Copper Pheasant is an endemic Japanese species and found only in mountainous terrain with plenty of leaf litter. There are several sub-species, each with their own special identification marks and territorial ranges.

6 Photos

Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha

This beautiful pitta is normally very shy and difficult to see. It breeds in East Asia, especially Taiwan and Japan. Numbers have been declining sharply due to habitat loss.

1 Photos

White-naped Crane Grus vipio

This magnificent crane breeds in northern and northeastern Asia (Mongolia, Russia and extreme northern China) and migrates south to Korea, Japan and China during the winter. Its numbers have declined rapidly due to habitat loss.

3 Photos

Hooded Crane Grus monacha

This crane has a small population that breeds mainly in eastern Russia and winters mainly in Japan. It is threatened by habitat loss and also disease as most of the population winters in one small location in Japan.

2 Photos

Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor

The most range-restricted of the spoonbill family, this species has recovered somewhat but still faces threats from habitat loss, pollution and low rate of successful breeding.

3 Photos

Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana

This stork has a restricted range and a small population, leaving it endangered by habitat loss, pollution, over-fishing and agriculture. In Japan there is some effort to reintroduce this species into the wild, similar to the efforts used for Crested Ibis.

1 Photos

Siberian Crane Grus leucogeranus

The Siberian Crane has two distinct breeding populations, one in central Russia and the other in Eastern Russia. Both populations are in dramatic decline, with the western one almost extinct and the eastern one critically endangered due to the destruction of its wintering grounds. However, if the cranes are able to relocated to different, safer wintering grounds they may yet avoid extinction and begin to rebuild their population.

7 Photos

Red-crowned Crane Grus japonensis

This magnificent crane has a very small breeding population and although the population in Hokkaido, Japan, has significantly recovered, the other populations in Russia, Mongolia and China are on the verge of disappearing due to habitat loss and agricultural practices.

16 Photos

Blakiston's Fish Owl Bubo blakistoni

One of the largest owls in the world, Blakiston's Fish Owl is also one of the most restricted in range. It is endangered due to habitat loss and particularly the loss of suitably sized trees for breeding. Also, the continued construction of dams across its range deprives it of fish, as this species prefers shallow, fast flowing streams where native trout are easy to catch.

5 Photos

Steller's Sea Eagle Haliaeetus pelagicus

The Steller's Sea Eagle is one of the largest eagles in the world and is threatened by habitat loss, over fishing and poisoning. They occur only in the Russian Far East but migrate south a little in winter when the sea ice makes fishing impossible farther north. In winter they can occur in Japan, China and Korea.

2 Photos

Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes

Due to its restricted range and the destruction of tidal flats within that range, the Chinese (or Swinhoe's) Egret is considered vulnerable. It is a smallish egret, but easily separated from Little Egret and Cattle Egret by its plumes as well as bill, leg and feet coloration.

4 Photos

Saunders's Gull Chroicocephalus saundersi

This small, tern-like gull is suffering from destruction of both tidal mudflats and breeding habitat, so its population is in sharp decline. At Saga prefecture in Japan where a sizable population winters every year, they love to feed on small crabs on the mudflats.

18 Photos

Black Scoter Melanitta americana

This large sea duck is facing threats from a number of sources, but mainly from pollution and impact from oil spills, drilling and exploration. Like many species that congregate in large flocks in winter, the Black Scoter is also quite vulnerable to disease.

2 Photos

Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola

The beautiful Yellow-breasted Bunting has a wide range across northern Europe and Asia, but the entire population winters in a relatively small region of northern India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, southern China and Indo-china. In this region it is subject to hunting and trapping, hence its vulnerable status.

1 Photos

Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer

This distinctive shorebird is facing quite a dire future due to its small population, restricted range and threats to both its breeding and feeding grounds. This species needs coastal wetlands both for breeding and for feeding, and this type of habitat is being destroyed quickly throughout its range. Its plight is similar to the one faced by the Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

1 Photos

Japanese Murrelet Synthliboramphus wumizusume

The Japanese Murrelet is a handsome species that is restricted to waters around coastal Japan and Korea. Because of its small population and range, its numbers are heavily impacted by predators, commercial fishing practices and disturbance of breeding grounds.

1 Photos

Falcated Duck Anas falcata

Although the population of this lovely duck is quite large, it faces considerable threat from hunting throughout its range, particularly in China. It breeds in the Russian Far East, extreme north Mongolia, China and Korea, and also in the northern half of Japan. It winters south to southern Japan, China and northern Thailand, Laos and Vietnam across to northern India and the southern Himalayan foothills.

2 Photos

Japanese Waxwing Bombycilla japonica

This lovely little waxwing is distinguished from the more common and range-overlapping Bohemian Waxwing chiefly by the red-tipped tail (Bohemian is yellow-tipped). It is a poorly researched and studied species, as it occupies only a very narrow range. It breeds only in the southern Russian Far East, and winters in Japan, Korea, China and the norther part of Taiwan. Its threatened status is due to its seemingly small population and restricted range.

1 Photos

Japanese Wood Pigeon Columba janthina

The Japanese (or Black) Wood Pigeon is a species that only inhabits offshore islands or rocky forested headlands. It is usually very shy and keeps to dark forests. There are several subspecies, some of which are critically endangered. They are quite susceptible to any kind of disturbance and also pressures from other pigeons and doves that compete in their niche.

3 Photos

Ijima's Leaf-warbler Phylloscopus ijimae

This small warbler has a very small population that only breeds on a few small islands off the coast of Japan. In winter they migrate across to some areas of mainland Japan and south to Taiwan and the northern Philippines. As their breeding grounds are so restricted, this species is vulnerable to any predation or disturbance to those few, small islands.

2 Photos

Japanese Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata

The Japanese (or Black) Paradise Flycatcher is a magnificent bird, particularly the male with its extremely long tail. They breed only in dense humid forests in mountains in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, then winter to southeast Asia. They are threatened mainly due to habitat loss.

4 Photos

Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis

This species has been uplisted to Endangered as new information suggests it is undergoing a very rapid population decline which is suspected to have been primarily driven by habitat loss and deterioration in the Yellow Sea region. Further proposed reclamation projects are predicted to cause additional declines in the future

2 Photos

Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris

This species has been uplisted to Endangered owing to recent evidence showing a very rapid population decline caused by reclamation of non-breeding stopover grounds, and under the assumption that further proposed reclamation projects will cause additional declines in the future.

3 Photos

Asian Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus

The Asian Dowitcher is the largest dowitcher in Asia and is facing threats due to habitat loss, pollution and climate change across its narrow range but particularly in its wintering grounds. They breed in eastern Russia as well as northern Mongolia and China. They migrate along the East Asian coast to wintering grounds in southeast Asia, with some traveling all the way to the northern coast of Australia.

1 Photos

Japanese Night Heron Gorsachius goisagi

The Japanese Night Heron is extremely secretive and effectively breeds only in southern Japan. It winters south to the Philippines, where it is easily confused with Malayan Night Heron, which looks very similar, has the same habitat and characteristics. There are only 600 - 1700 birds remaining, and the population is continuing to decline due to habitat loss.

4 Photos

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