1) Hilty, Steven L.. Birds of Colombia. 2021. Lynx Edicions. Flexibound: 608 pages. Price: $65.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: This addition to the Lynx and BirdLife International Field Guides series
covers the birder's paradise that is Colombia. Not only have more
species been recorded there than in any other country, but almost
one-fifth of the world's birds occur in Colombia, packed into an area
slightly greater than 1,100,000 km2.
Stretching east to west from the Orinoco River to the Pacific Ocean, and north to south from the Caribbean to Amazonian headwaters, the country's topography is remarkably diverse. Here, the Andes are separated into three ranges by two important valleys, the Cauca and the Magdalena, and there are two very important massifs, Santa Marta and Perijá, in the north of the country – in particular, the Santa Marta range is one of the great endemic hotspots in the world. In recent years, a series of standard birding routes has evolved, many of them focused on the country's privately and publicly owned protected areas, permitting keen birders to see nearly all of Colombia's many special birds, from extravagantly plumaged parrots and hummingbirds to skulking antpittas.
Nevertheless, in South America the capacity to escape the beaten track and make novel findings is perhaps nowhere better than Colombia, as exemplified by the recent discovery of an apparently new species of antpitta close to the city of Cali.
As with previous volumes, the taxonomy follows the Handbook of the Birds of the World and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Detailed texts cover status, habitat and behaviour, age, sex and geographical variation, voice, and confusion species. The guides draws on Lynx's vast image bank and includes almost 3000 illustrations covering all species and distinctive subspecies, birds in flight, males and females, juveniles and non-breeding plumages, where appropriate. Close to 2000 full-colour range maps show distribution for all regularly occurring species. For each species a QR code is included, linking to complementary audiovisual material. Well-marked subspecies groups receive full accounts, and the distributions of subspecies breeding in the region are clearly mapped and local species names included. In total, 2089 species and subspecies groups; 111 endemics, 85 near-endemics, 3 introduced, 69 vagrants are covered.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone birding Colombia!
2) Greater Sundas and Wallacea (Second Edition). 2021. Lynx Edicions. Flexibound: 536 pages. Price: $55.00 U.S.Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago:
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: The first ornithological field guide covering the vast chain of the
Indonesian archipelago has been completely revised following years of
meticulous research. This second edition now encompasses over 2,800
illustrations, including 325 entirely new figures and nearly 500
alterations to the original artwork, supplemented by 1,350 maps of all
regularly occurring species. The species are mapped with improved
accuracy by including three magnified geographical regions, or by a
larger archipelago-wide map frame. Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago
describes all 1,456 bird species known to occur in the region,
including 628 endemics, 106 vagrants, 4 introduced species and 10
species yet to be formally described. Together these represent over 13%
of global bird diversity. Importantly, all subspecies are described in
Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago fully covers the biogeographic regions of the Greater Sundas (Sumatra, Borneo, Java and Bali) and Wallacea (Sulawesi, the Moluccas and the Lesser Sundas), plus all satellite islands. This region spans an arc of over 4,000 km along the Equator, including East Timor, Brunei Darussalam, the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak and most of the territory of the Republic of Indonesia.
The authors' combined vast, unparalleled experience and knowledge of the region's birds brings together the latest taxonomic insights, knowledge of distribution, field identification features, vocalisations and more to create an indispensable reference for anyone with an interest in the avifauna of this fabulously diverse region. The additional attention to detail allows Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago to be used elsewhere in Asia as particular attention is paid to help the reader identify even the trickiest of species.
- Taxonomy follows an integrative approach based on bioacoustics, genomics and morphology, often based on the authors’ own peer-reviewed systematic work in the region.
- Detailed texts covering status, taxonomy, habitat and behaviour, all plumage variations, vocalisations, and similar species.
- 1,456 species, 628 endemics, 106 vagrants, 4 introduced and 10 undescribed species.
- Over 2,800 illustrations covering all species and distinctive subspecies, birds in flight, males and females, immatures and non-breeding plumages, where appropriate.
- 1,350 full-colour range maps for all regularly occurring species, spread across four regional map frames.
- List of all the bird names in Bahasa Indonesia, useful for travelling birders, researchers and to help interaction with Bahasa Indonesia speakers.
- A revised, more traditional and familiar index.
- Keeping within the taxonomic constraints, species accounts have been moved so that similar and/or regional species are on the same page, allowing for easier comparisons, and less time spent flicking between pages.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone birding the region!
3) Cirigliano, Jim (editor). National Audubon Society Birds of North America. 2021. Knopf. Flexibound: 907 pages. Price: $49.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Developed by the creators of the best-selling Audubon field guides, this handsome volume is the result of a collaboration among leading scientists, scholars, taxonomic and field experts, photo editors, and designers. An indispensable reference, it covers more than 800 species, with over 3,500 full-color photographs of birds in their natural habitat, often with four or five images of each species. For ease of use, the book includes a glossary, an index, and a ribbon marker, and is arranged according to the American Ornithological Society's latest Checklist of North and Middle American Birds--[through 2019]--with birds sorted by taxonomic orders and grouped by family, so that related species are presented together. Range maps, reflecting the impact of climate change, accompany nearly every entry, along with a physical description and information on voice, nesting, habitat, and similar species. This guide also includes an important new category on conservation status and essays by leading scholars in each field who provide holistic insights into the world of birds. Whether trying to determine which owl is interrupting your dinner or successfully identifying all of the warblers that arrive in spring, readers will come to rely on this work of remarkable breadth, depth, and elegance. It is a must-have reference for the library of any birder, and is poised to become the number one guide in the field.
RECOMMENDATION: Best for intermediate level birders.
4) Davis, Kate. Falcons of North America (Second Edition). 2021. Mountain Press. Paperback: 252 pages. Price: $28.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Bold and beautiful, falcons hold a special place in the hearts of
people. In Falcons of North America, renowned raptor advocate and
environmental educator Kate Davis opens a door into the lives of these
extraordinary, enigmatic birds of prey.
Since the publication of the first edition 13 years ago, advances in technology have revolutionized the study of falcons. This updated and revised second edition contains completely new classifications of the six North American falcon species based on DNA studies. Population trends are explored, with discussions of the mysterious decline of the American Kestrel and the impact of global warming on falcons, particularly the arctic-dwelling Gyrfalcon. Davis also includes fascinating details on one of the greatest conservation success stories--that of the Peregrine Falcon--from a brush with extinction in North America to greater populations than ever before, even thriving as city dwellers across the continent.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in the falcons of North America!
5) Cirigliano, Jim (editor). National Audubon Society Trees of North America. 2021. Knopf. Flexibound: 591 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: This handsome volume is the result of a collaboration among leading scientists, scholars, taxonomic and field experts, photo editors, and designers. An indispensable reference, it covers more than 540 species, with nearly 2,500 full-color photographs--including images of the bark, fruit, and flowers, as well as photos that illustrate leaf shape and seasonal color changes. For ease of use, the book includes a glossary, a robust index, and a ribbon marker, and is arranged according to the latest Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification system--with trees sorted by taxonomic orders and grouped by family, so that related species are presented together. Readers will appreciate the crisp detail of the photographs; range maps (reflecting the impact of climate change); physical descriptions; and information on fruit, habitat, uses, and similar species. The guide includes an important new category on conservation status and essays by leading scholars who provide holistic insights into the world of trees. Whether putting a name to the towering conifers spotted along a hike or getting to know the trees that grow in the backyard, readers will come to rely on this work of remarkable breadth, depth, and elegance. It is a must-have reference for the library of any nature lover, and is poised to become the number one guide in the field.
RECOMMENDATION: The most up-to-date North American tree guide currently available!