Sunday, January 10, 2021

New Titles


 

1) Fjeldså, Jon et al.(editors). The Largest Avian Radiation The Evolution of Perching Birds, or the Order Passeriformes. 2020. Lynx Edicions. Hardbound: 445 pages. Price: $95.00 U.S. 

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: With more than 6200 species, the perching – or passerine – birds represent one of the most remarkably rapid proliferations of species. The traditional classification of birds, which was mainly based on comparative anatomical studies more than 100 years ago, could do little to resolve the relationships among passerines because they were generally too anatomically uniform. Therefore, the classification that was used for most of the 20th century was a practical arrangement, where the thousands of species were accommodated in a few broad groups based mainly on ecological adaptations.

     Recent DNA studies have dramatically changed the understanding of passerine evolutionary relationships. Apparently, the passerines originated during the early radiation of modern birds, on the austral continents (South America, Antarctica and Australia), after a global catastrophe had wiped out most of the ancient terrestrial life, including large dinosaurs and early birds.

     The Largest Avian Radiation reveals the remarkable new history of how passerines diversified and dispersed across the entire world. It also presents and explains the new classification, which reflects the phylogenetic history. The new insights reveal that many of the old evolutionary lineages comprise only a few species that remained in their area of origin or underwent limited dispersal. Only a small number of groups underwent significant proliferation of new species and just five (of 145) passerine families are represented on all continents but Antarctica. Even so, the global variation in species richness generally correlates well with the variation in productivity across different environments. We see how a seemingly constant overall rate of evolution of new species is possible because of rapid proliferation in new ecological niches, including archipelagos, and an extraordinary accumulation of endemic species in certain tropical mountain ranges.

     In addition to describing the revised evolutionary history of passerine birds, the authors try to identify adaptational changes, including shifts in life-history strategies, that underlie major evolutionary expansions. Their aim is to further the development of a unified theory to explain how the prodigious variation of Earth's biodiversity is generated.

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in avian evolution!

 

2) Allen, Desmond. Birds of the Philippines. 2020. Lynx Edicions. Flexibound: 400 pages. Price: $59.95 U.S. 

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: The world's fifth-largest island nation comprises in excess of 7600 islands and islets, and is one of the most populous and ethnically diverse in all of Asia, with more than 180 native languages still spoken. To birders, however, the Philippines is famed for the country's remarkable endemic avifauna. Of the c. 770 species or distinctive subspecies groups covered by Birds of the Philippines almost 300 occur nowhere else on Earth. Sadly, the looming threat of extinction, due to sometimes rampant and ongoing habitat loss and fragmentation, imperils many of these species: among the endemic birds, no fewer than 75 are categorized as Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered. These unsurprisingly include some of the Philippines most sought-after birds, from the stunningly beautiful Palawan Peacock-pheasant to the emblematic Philippine Eagle, via an array of secretive pigeons, spectacular kingfishers, hornbills and broadbills, fancy woodpeckers, no fewer than 17 owls, and of course many babblers and flycatchers. If this was not enticement aplenty, in addition to the resident backbone, the islands receive many visitors, including migrants moving between northern Asia and Australasia, whereas others such as the globally threatened Chinese Crested Tern have only recently been discovered to winter in the Philippines.

- Taxonomy follows the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World.
- Detailed texts covering status, habitat and behaviour, age, sex and geographical variation, voice, and confusion species.
- Over 1615 illustrations covering all species and distinctive subspecies, birds in flight, males and females, juveniles and non-breeding plumages, where appropriate.
- QR code for every species, linked to complementary audio-visual material.
- More than 620 full-colour range maps for all regularly occurring species.
- Well-marked subspecies groups receive full accounts, and the distributions of subspecies breeding in the region are clearly mapped.
- Local conservation status included.

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those birding the Philippines!

 

3) Copete, Jose Luis (compiler). Mammals of China. 2020. Lynx Edicions. Paperback: 204 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.  

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: This illustrated checklist covers China, a region with a great habitat diversity which is especially rich in mammalian life and attracts numerous wildlife watchers. Although not a traditional field guide, this book will equip both residents and visitors to the region with an easy-to-use resource that will allow them to quickly learn about the c. 600 species of mammals known to occur in the area.

     This book is part of the Lynx Illustrated Checklists Collection created from the massive amounts of data, illustrations, and maps compiled for the Handbook of the Mammals of the World series, that has been distilled into useful and portable books for your visit to a specific destination.

Highlighted features:
- Short descriptive texts
- Indications of the main habitats used
- Distribution maps that include the latest published data
- At least one illustration per species complemented in some cases by others showing differences between sexes, subspecies, or various colour morphs.

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in the mammals of China!

 


4) Sinclair, Ian et al..The Sasol Larger Illustrated Guide to Birds of Southern Africa (Revised Edition). 2020. Struik Nature. Paperback: 488 pages. Price: $29.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: This larger edition is based on the updated and expanded fifth edition of the authoritative Sasol Birds of Southern Africa, which has been brought fully up to date by an expert panel of ornithologists, with additional contributions from two new birding experts. Greatly enhanced, this comprehensive, best-selling guide is sure to maintain its place as one of Africa’s most trusted field guides. It offers:

• New ‘bird-call’ feature – access calls by scanning barcodes with a free downloadable call app.
• More than 800 new illustrations, including all-new plates for raptors and seabirds.
• Comprehensive coverage of all 989 of southern Africa’s birds, including latest species records.
• Redesigned plates with diagnostic features noted.
• Calendar bars depicting species’ occurrence and breeding periods.
• Fully updated species accounts and distribution maps.
• Fresh input from new contributing authors and illustrators.
• Alphabetical and illustrated quick references to bird groups.

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those birding southern Africa! This title is also available in a regular field guide size.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

New Titles

 


1) Stevenson, Terry et al.. Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi Second Edition. 2020. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 638 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Birds of East Africa is widely regarded as one of the best field guides to any region of the world. Named a BirdTwitch Best Bird Book of the year for Africa when it was first published, it has become the go-to guide for anyone visiting this spectacular birding region, which is home to a remarkably diverse and colorful birdlife. Now this indispensable guide has been fully revised and updated to make it even better. Featuring revised text and distribution maps, the latest taxonomy, and much more, this comprehensive but compact guide describes and illustrates 1,388 species―all the resident, migrant, and vagrant birds of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi―in convenient facing-page layout. Featuring 289 color plates with more than 3,400 painstakingly rendered images, the guide depicts all the plumages and major races likely to be encountered. Introductory sections include information on conservation and where to send records, as well as maps of important bird areas. More than ever, this is the must-have guide for birding in East Africa.

  • The standard field guide to the birds of East Africa―now fully revised and updated
  • New edition features revised text and distribution maps, the latest taxonomy, and much more
  • Covers all 1,388 regularly occurring species, with more than 3,400 images on 289 color plates
  • Features concise, facing-page species accounts that cover identification features, status, range, habits, and voice
  • More than ever, the must-have guide for birding in East Africa

 RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those birding eastern Africa!

 

2) Taylor, Marianne. The Gull Next Door: A Portrait of a Misunderstood Bird. 2020. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 192 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: From a distance, gulls are beautiful symbols of freedom over the oceanic wilderness. Up close, however, they can be loud, aggressive and even violent. Yet gulls fascinate birdwatchers, and seafarers regard them with respect and affection. The Gull Next Door explores the natural history of gulls and their complicated relationship with humans.

     Marianne Taylor grew up in an English seaside town where gulls are ever present. Today, she is a passionate advocate for these underappreciated birds. In this book, Taylor looks at the different gull species and sheds light on all aspects of the lives of gulls―how they find food, raise families, socialize and migrate across sea, coastland and countryside. She discusses the herring gull, Britain's best-known and most persecuted gull species, whose numbers are declining at an alarming rate. She looks at gulls in legend, fiction and popular culture, and explains what we can do to protect gull populations around the world.

     The Gull Next Door reveals deeper truths about these remarkable birds. They are thinkers and innovators, devoted partners and parents. They lead long lives and often indulge their powerful drive to explore and travel. But for all these natural gifts, many gull species are struggling to survive in the wild places they naturally inhabit, which is why they are now exploiting the opportunities of human habitats. This book shows how we might live more harmoniously with these majestic yet misunderstood birds.

RECOMMENDATION: Lariphiles will enjoy this book.


 


3-4) Bannick, Paul. Snowy Owl and Great Gray Owl: A Visual Natural History. 2020. Mountaineers Books. Hardbound: 128 pages each. Price: $18.95 U.S. each. 

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY:  The Snowy Owl--also known as the Arctic Owl, Snowy White Owl, and White Owl--is one of the most easily identified but least understood owls in the world.

    Award-winning author and photographer Paul Bannick delves into the natural history of this owl species, including the latest research, providing readers with comprehensive yet accessible looks at their preferred habitat, hunting and feeding behavior, mating and nesting actions, owlets and fledglings, and more.

     This beautiful book follows Bannick’s bestselling titles, The Owl and the Woodpecker and Owl, providing fans with another emotionally rich photographic portfolio and engaging, informative text.

      The Great Gray Owl--also known as the Phantom of the North, Great, Gray Ghost, and Bearded Owl--is one of the largest owl species and lives in the western mountains and boreal regions of North America.

       Award-winning author and photographer Paul Bannick delves into the natural history of this owl species, including the latest research, providing readers with comprehensive yet accessible looks at their preferred habitat, hunting and feeding behavior, mating and nesting actions, owlets and fledglings, and more.

       Bannick’s unique and gorgeous owl images are enhanced by additional images of the owls’ habitats and other species that share the Great Gray ecosystems. Throughout each narrative, his time in the field observing and photographing these enigmatic birds comes to life in evocative, experiential passages.

RECOMMENDATION: These two books are must haves for fans of Paul Bannick's photography!




5) Long, Kim. What Birds Eat: How to Preserve the Natural Diet and Behavior of North American Birds. 2020. Skipstone. Paperback: 367 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: The more than 900 bird species in North America have natural diets ranging from seeds, foliage, nectar, and nuts to fish, insects, crustaceans, carrion, and mammals--and sometimes other birds! What Birds Eat explores the senses that birds depend on--sight, sound, odor, taste, and touch--and their food ingestion. Extensive feeding profiles then detail what various species eat naturally and how we can support those diets in backyards and feeders. What Birds Eat enriches our understanding, allowing us to engage more meaningfully with birds along the way.

RECOMMENDATION: A good general overview of the subject. 




6) Steller, Georg Wilhelm (author), Margritt A. Engel, et al. (translators). Eastbound through Siberia: Observations from the Great Northern Expedition. 2020. Indiana University Press. Paperback: 220 pages. Price: $32.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: In the winter of 1739, Georg Steller received word from Empress Anna of Russia that he was to embark on a secret expedition to the far reaches of Siberia as a member of the Great Northern Expedition. While searching for economic possibilities and strategic advantages, Steller was to send back descriptions of everything he saw. The Empress's instructions were detailed, from requests for a preserved whale brain to observing the child-rearing customs of local peoples, and Steller met the task with dedication, bravery, and a good measure of humor. In the name of science, Steller and his comrades confronted horse-swallowing bogs, leaped across ice floes, and survived countless close calls in their exploration of an unforgiving environment. Not stopping at lists of fishes, birds, and mammals, Steller also details the villages and the lives of those living there, from vice-governors to prostitutes. His writings rail against government corruption and the misuse of power while describing with empathy the lives of the poor and forgotten, with special attention toward Native peoples.


     What emerges is a remarkable window into life―both human and animal―in 18th century Siberia. Due to the secret nature of the expedition, Steller's findings were hidden in Russian archives for centuries, but the near-daily entries he recorded on journeys from the town of Irkutsk to Kamchatka are presented here in English for the first time.

RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in Georg Steller and/or Russian history. 


Thursday, December 10, 2020

BEST BIRD BOOKS OF 2020

The following are my picks for the best bird books of 2020:

BEST BOOK:

 


1) del Hoyo, Josep (Editor). All the Birds of the World. 2020. Lynx Edicions. Hardbound: 967 pages. Price: about $95.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: The easiest and most enjoyable way to browse through all the birds of the world and compare them.

For the first time ever, you can literally contemplate All the Birds of the World together in a single, easy-to-use, fully-illustrated volume. Created for a broad audience, from novice birders to expert ornithologists and anyone interested in the spectacular diversity of birds, this fascinating book has something for everyone to discover.

- Presents every taxon accepted as species by any of the four major world lists: 11,524 species in total.
- Checkboxes for personal record-keeping (the boxes are hard to spot though).

- 20,865 illustrations covering sexual dimorphism, morphs and many distinctive subspecies.
- 11,558 distribution maps with altitudinal ranges included.
- All 3313 one-country endemic species marked.
- IUCN/BirdLife International conservation status given.
- Taxonomic treatment by the four major world lists indicated and compared.
- Nomenclatural discrepancies explained.
- All English and scientific names from eBird included.
- QR codes for instant access to videos, photos and sound recordings species-by-species.
- All species known to have become extinct since the year 1500 presented separately in their own appendix.
- A 37-page world atlas of colour reference maps with all the details that interest birders and ornithologists.
- The easiest and most enjoyable way to browse through all the birds of the world and compare them.

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in the World’s birds! The feature I like the most is the “ Taxonomic Circle” which compares the taxonomies of the four major World bird lists.


HONORABLE MENTIONS:


 

1) Norevik, Gabriel et al.. Ageing & Sexing of Migratory East Asian Passerines. 2020. Avium Förlag. Hardbound: 423 pages. Price: about $124.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: This generously illustrated handbook covers 62 East Asian passerine species, including many that appear as sought-after vagrants in both Europe and North America. It provides a comprehensive and detailed summary of current knowledge, based on data and photographs of birds in the hand, collected during three years of study in China, primarily at Beidaihe, Hebei province.

The texts are presented in a pedagogical manner and, together with an ample collection of over 1,400 photographs, guide the reader through the process of determining the age and sex of the bird in both autumn and spring. This guide is an essential introduction to the subject for bird ringers/banders in China, and it will also prove indispensable for any birdwatcher with an interest in the ageing and sexing of East Asian passerines. This book is bilingual in English and Chinese.

RECOMMENDATION: Birders with a serious interest in Chinese/East Asian birds will want this book! Also, hardcore birders and bird record committee members outside the region will want it as a reference for those species covered.


 

2) Gregory, Phil. Birds of Paradise and Bowerbirds: An Identification Guide. 2020. Princeton University Press. Hardbound: 416 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Renowned for their dazzling plumages and elaborate courtship displays, birds of paradise and bowerbirds exhibit some of the most astonishing behaviors in the natural world. Birds of Paradise and Bowerbirds is the ultimate identification guide to these marvelous birds. This beautiful book features stunning color plates that depict all 108 recognized taxa in these two groups along with more than 200 color photos that showcase a broad range of racial and age-related plumage varieties. The comprehensive text covers identification, taxonomy, and ecology, and is accompanied by detailed distribution maps. Birds of Paradise and Bowerbirds is the product of more than two decades of research and field observations, and is a must-have guide for birders, ornithologists, and anyone interested in these sensational birds.

  • The ultimate identification guide to these marvelous birds of New Guinea and Australia
  • Features stunningly illustrated color plates that depict all 108 recognized taxa
  • Covers identification, taxonomy, and ecology
  • Includes hundreds of color photos and detailed distribution maps
  • Based on more than two decades of research and original field observations

RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for those interested in these species and/or collect bird family monographs.

 


3) Sibley, David. What It’s Like to Be a Bird: From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing — What Birds Are Doing, and Why (Sibley Guides). 2020. Knopf. Hardbound: 203 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: The bird book for birders and nonbirders alike that will excite and inspire by providing a new and deeper understanding of what common, mostly backyard, birds are doing — and why. 
 “Can birds smell?” “Is this the same cardinal that was at my feeder last year?” “Do robins ‘hear’ worms?” In What It’s Like to Be a Bird, David Sibley answers the most frequently asked questions about the birds we see most often. This special, large-format volume is geared as much to nonbirders as it is to the out-and-out obsessed, covering more than two hundred species and including more than 330 new illustrations by the author. While its focus is on familiar backyard birds — blue jays, nuthatches, chickadees — it also examines certain species that can be fairly easily observed, such as the seashore-dwelling Atlantic puffin. David Sibley’s exacting artwork and wide-ranging expertise bring observed behaviors vividly to life. (For most species, the primary illustration is reproduced life-sized.) And while the text is aimed at adults — including fascinating new scientific research on the myriad ways birds have adapted to environmental changes — it is nontechnical, making it the perfect occasion for parents and grandparents to share their love of birds with young children, who will delight in the big, full-color illustrations of birds in action. Unlike any other book he has written, What It’s Like to Be a Bird is poised to bring a whole new audience to David Sibley’s world of birds.

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for fans of Sibley’s works!


 

4) Slaght, Jonathan C.. Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl. 2020. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Hardbound: 348 pages. Price: $28.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: A field scientist and conservationist tracks the elusive Blakiston’s Fish Owl in the forbidding reaches of eastern Russia.
     When he was just a fledgling birdwatcher, Jonathan C. Slaght had a chance encounter with one of the most mysterious birds on Earth. Bigger than any owl he knew, it looked like a small bear with decorative feathers. He snapped a quick photo and shared it with experts. Soon he was on a five-year journey, searching for this enormous, enigmatic creature in the lush, remote forests of eastern Russia.  That first sighting set his calling as a scientist. 
      Despite a wingspan of six feet and a height of over two feet, the Blakiston’s fish owl is highly elusive. They are easiest to find in winter, when their tracks mark the snowy banks of the rivers where they feed. They are also endangered. And so, as Slaght and his devoted team set out to locate the owls, they aim to craft a conservation plan that helps ensure the species’ survival. This quest sends them on all-night monitoring missions in freezing tents, mad dashes across thawing rivers, and free-climbs up rotting trees to check nests for precious eggs. They use cutting-edge tracking technology and improvise ingenious traps. And all along, they must keep watch against a run-in with a bear or an Amur tiger. At the heart of Slaght’s story are the fish owls themselves: cunning hunters, devoted parents, singers of eerie duets, and survivors in a harsh and shrinking habitat. 
      Through this rare glimpse into the everyday life of a field scientist and conservationist, Owls of the Eastern Ice testifies to the determination and creativity essential to scientific advancement and serves as a powerful reminder of the beauty, strength, and vulnerability of the natural world.

RECOMMENDATION: A must read for those with an interest in owls.



Thursday, November 19, 2020

New Titles

 




1) del Hoyo, Josep (Editor). All the Birds of the World. 2020. Lynx Edicions. Hardbound: 967 pages. Price: about $95.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: The easiest and most enjoyable way to browse through all the birds of the world and compare them.

For the first time ever, you can literally contemplate All the Birds of the World together in a single, easy-to-use, fully-illustrated volume. Created for a broad audience, from novice birders to expert ornithologists and anyone interested in the spectacular diversity of birds, this fascinating book has something for everyone to discover.

- Presents every taxon accepted as species by any of the four major world lists: 11,524 species in total.
- Checkboxes for personal record-keeping (the boxes are hard to spot though). 

- 20,865 illustrations covering sexual dimorphism, morphs and many distinctive subspecies.
- 11,558 distribution maps with altitudinal ranges included.
- All 3313 one-country endemic species marked.
- IUCN/BirdLife International conservation status given.
- Taxonomic treatment by the four major world lists indicated and compared.
- Nomenclatural discrepancies explained.
- All English and scientific names from eBird included.
- QR codes for instant access to videos, photos and sound recordings species-by-species.
- All species known to have become extinct since the year 1500 presented separately in their own appendix.
- A 37-page world atlas of colour reference maps with all the details that interest birders and ornithologists.
- The easiest and most enjoyable way to browse through all the birds of the world and compare them.

 

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in the World’s birds! The feature I like the most is the “ Taxonomic Circle” which compares the taxonomies of the four major World bird lists.

2) Burgin, Connor J. et al. (editors). Illustrated Checklist of the Mammals of the World. 2020. Lynx Edicions. Hardbound: two volumes in slipcase. Price: about $235.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: The Handbook of the Mammals of the World (HMW) is an unprecedented, lavishly illustrated reference work for the Class Mammalia. This series of 9 large-format volumes describes and illustrates every currently recognized mammal species, and gives a detailed overview of each mammalian family. It provides up-to-date information on the evolutionary relationships, natural history, ecology, and current conservation status for all mammals. Every species is illustrated, and each family chapter contains beautiful colour photographs of mammals in action. HMW provides comprehensive worldwide coverage by involving an international group of expert authors, each of whom is a leading authority on their respective groups of mammals.

It took several years to produce the entire series, and this comprehensive Illustrated Checklist of the Mammals of the World forms a suitable impressive capstone to the series. This latest work updates the taxonomy of each currently recognized species of mammal, providing a complete checklist in a set of two volumes (a set that comes in at 9 kilograms). HMW followed traditionally accepted classifications, based on Mammal Species of the World (Wilson and Reeder, 2005), but with several improvements. The views of the authors, all of them acknowledged authorities on their respective groups, were incorporated into each volume. Each volume considered the description of new species and ongoing systematic revisions that continue to add to our knowledge of the phylogenetic relationships within Mammalia. Ongoing taxonomic work and recent research using new molecular techniques have revolutionized our ability to analyze evolutionary relationships. This has resulted in sweeping changes in the number of species recognized in almost every group of mammals.

The new illustrated checklist incorporates all recently published revisions and combines them into a new, brief species account for every species. In addition to the updated scientific name of each species, the accounts include common names in English, French, German, and Spanish, and the IUCN Red List Conservation Category. Taxonomic notes update recent changes, and updated distributions are included too. If subspecies are recognized, they are updated along with their current distributions. Accompanying each species account is a scientific illustration in full colour, adapted from the earlier volumes, along with an updated distribution map.

If you own the entire set of HMW, you will want to add this latest set of volumes to provide up-to-date coverage of all currently recognized species, including recently described forms. The Illustrated Checklist of the Mammals of the World also works well as a complete, stand-alone summary of the current taxonomy and distribution of every currently recognized species of mammal.

Features:
- 27 orders, 167 families, 1,343 genera, 6,562 species (102 extinct and 18 domesticated).
- Features more than 7,250 illustrations, including 800 new ones of primates and more than 100 of other groups.
- Includes 6,442 distribution maps.

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in the World’s mammals!

 

 

 


3) Will, Kip et al.. Field Guide to California Insects: Second Edition. 2020. University of California Press. Paperback: 521 pages. Price: $26.95 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Beautifully illustrated and approachable, this is the only California-specific, statewide book devoted to all groups of insects.

Completely revised for the first time in over 40 years, Field Guide to California Insects now includes over 600 insect species, each beautifully illustrated with color photographs. Engaging accounts focus on distinguishing features, remarkable aspects of biology, and geographical distribution in the state. An accessible and compact introduction to identifying, understanding, and appreciating these often unfamiliar and fascinating creatures, this guide covers insects that readers are likely to encounter in homes and natural areas, cities and suburbs, rural lands and wilderness. It also addresses exotic and invasive species and their impact on native plants and animals. Field Guide to California Insects remains the definitive portable reference and a captivating read for beginners as well as avid naturalists.

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in the insects of California!

 

 

 


4) Pellant, Chris and Helen. Rocks and Minerals. 2020. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 208 pages. Price: $19.95 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: This detailed and easy-to-use guide contains striking photography of rocks and minerals from around the globe, and is designed to help readers and collectors identify specimens of these compounds, which are formed by geological processes in the earth’s crust. Useful for beginners and serious collectors alike, this handy volume features special color photography of specimens from the Natural History Museum in London, which holds one of the largest collections in the world.

  • Beautiful color photographs
  • Comprehensive, up-to-date information
  • Suitable for serious collectors and those new to the field
  • Special photography of unique specimens from the Natural History Museum in London

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for all rock-hounds!

New Titles

 

 


1) Norevik, Gabriel et al.. Ageing & Sexing of Migratory East Asian Passerines. 2020. Avium Förlag. Hardbound: 423 pages. Price: about $124.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: This generously illustrated handbook covers 62 East Asian passerine species, including many that appear as sought-after vagrants in both Europe and North America. It provides a comprehensive and detailed summary of current knowledge, based on data and photographs of birds in the hand, collected during three years of study in China, primarily at Beidaihe, Hebei province.

The texts are presented in a pedagogical manner and, together with an ample collection of over 1,400 photographs, guide the reader through the process of determining the age and sex of the bird in both autumn and spring. This guide is an essential introduction to the subject for bird ringers/banders in China, and it will also prove indispensable for any birdwatcher with an interest in the ageing and sexing of East Asian passerines. This book is bilingual in English and Chinese.

RECOMMENDATION: Birders with a serious interest in Chinese/East Asian birds will want this book! Also, hardcore birders and bird record committee members outside the region will want it as a reference for those species covered.

 

 

 


2) Faaborg, John. Book of Birds: Introduction to Ornithology. 2020. Texas A&M University Press. Hardbound: 455 pages. Price: $65.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: In Book of Birds: Introduction to Ornithology, John Faaborg, renowned expert on avian ecology and conservation, brings a fresh and accessible sensibility to the study of ornithology. In this beautifully illustrated volume, Faaborg’s approachable writing style will engage students and birders alike while introducing them to the study of the evolution, taxonomy, anatomy, physiology, diversity, and behavior of birds. With its unique focus on ecology, the text emphasizes birds’ relationships with the environment and other species while showing the amazing diversity of avian life.

Faaborg pays special attention to the roles that competition, community structure, and reproductive behavior play in the astonishingly varied and interesting lives of birds seen around the world. He discusses variations in anatomy, morphology, and behavior; explains why such vast diversity exists; and explores the ways in which different birds can share the same spaces. Artist Claire Faaborg brings the science behind this diversity to life through her unique, hand-drawn artwork throughout the book.

Combining vibrant visuals and knowledgeable insights, Book of Birds offers readers a firm foundation in the field of ornithology and an invaluable resource for understanding birds from an ecological and evolutionary perspective.

RECOMMENDATION: A readable overview of bird biology.

 

 


3) Kelt, Douglas A. and James L. Patton. A Manual of the Mammalia: An Homage to Lawlor’s “Handbook to the Orders and Families of Living Mammals”. 2020. University of Chicago Press. Hardbound: 340 pages. Price: $60.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: The taxonomy of recent mammals has lately undergone tremendous revision, but it has been decades since the last update to Timothy E. Lawlor’s acclaimed identification guide the Handbook to the Orders and Families of Living Mammals. Integrating the latest advances in research, Douglas A. Kelt and James L. Patton provide this long-overdue update in their new, wholly original work, A Manual of the Mammalia.

Complemented by global range maps, high-resolution photographs of skulls and mandibles by Bill Stone, and the outstanding artwork of Fiona Reid, this book provides an overview of biological attributes of each higher taxon while highlighting key and diagnostic characters needed to identify skulls and skins of all recent mammalian orders and most families. Kelt and Patton also place taxa in their currently understood supra-familial clades, and discuss current challenges in higher mammal taxonomy. Including a comprehensive review of mammalian anatomy to provide a foundation for understanding all characters employed throughout, A Manual of the Mammalia is both a user-friendly handbook for students learning to identify higher mammal taxa and a uniquely comprehensive, up-to-date reference for mammalogists and mammal-lovers from across the globe.

RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in mammalogy.

 


 

New Titles

 


1) Puan, Chong Leong et al.. Birds of Malaysia. 2020. Lynx/Birdlife International. Flexibound: 416 pages. Price: about $53.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Complementing the plates, maps and species texts, the book’s introduction describes the region’s landscapes, habitats and climate, and provides tips on birding in Malaysia and Singapore, along with brief details of 50 of the best sites to visit. Whether you are planning a comprehensive birding tour of the Peninsula and/or northern Borneo, or only to ‘escape’ for a few days while in Singapore, this new guide covers it all! This book also has over 1825 illustrations covering all species and distinctive subspecies, etc. Plus more than 775 full color range maps.

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone birding Malaysia and Singapore!

2) Elliott, Andrew et al. (compilers). Mammals of South Asia. 2020. Lynx. Paperback: 173 pages. Price: about $33.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: “Mammals of South Asia” covers Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, a region of tremendously diverse habitats and rich in large mammalian species. Whether you are planning a trip to the area or simply want to quickly learn about the 540 species that occur in the zone, this is the book for you!

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in the mammals of the region!

 

 


3) Seng, Lim Kim et al.. Birds of Malaysia and Singapore. 2020. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 396 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: This comprehensive field guide looks at all 829 officially recorded bird species of Malaysia and Singapore. More than 165 detailed color plates show plumage variation and identifying features, and for each species, key facts examine size, voice, range and status, habitat, specific country, and breeding. This book also includes information on taxonomy and nomenclature, an overview of geography and major habitats, key birdwatching sites with maps, and easy-to-use graphic indexes. This guide is essential for any naturalist interested in this region of the world.

  • Features all 829 bird species of Malaysia and Singapore
  • Includes 165 unique color plates
  • Highlights facts on size, voice, range, status, habitat, country, and breeding
  • Looks at taxonomy and nomenclature, geography, and key birding sites

RECOMMENDATION: When compared with the Lynx title above, this book is a little thicker but smaller, has 396 vs 416 pages respectively, and lacks range maps.

 

 

 



4) Castelló, José R. Felids and Hyenas of the World: Wildcats, Panthers, Lynx, Pumas, Ocelots, Caracals, and Relatives. 2020. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 280 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: From the Leopard Cat of Asia, the Black-footed Cat of Africa, and the Amur Tiger of Siberia to South America’s Ocelots and North America’s Bobcats, the wildcats known as felids are among the most fascinating and spectacular of all animals. This stunningly illustrated book is the most comprehensive and user-friendly guide to the world’s felids and their often misunderstood relative, the hyenas. Covering and illustrating every species and subspecies, the guide features more than 150 superb full-color plates that incorporate more than 600 photographs and show species in similar poses for quick and easy comparison. Drawing on the latest taxonomy and research, the facing-page species accounts provide distribution maps, common and scientific names, and detailed information on key identification features, distribution, behavior, reproduction, similar species, habitat, conservation status, and where to observe each species. An ideal field companion for use anywhere in the world, the book will appeal to both casual nature enthusiasts and seasoned professionals.

  • Covers 41 felids and 4 hyenas―every species and subspecies in the world
  • Features more than 150 color plates incorporating more than 600 photos
  • Depicts species in similar poses for quick and easy comparisons
  • Provides key identification information in detailed, facing-page species accounts
  • Uses the latest taxonomy
  • Includes easy-to-read distribution maps and tips on where to observe each species

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in wildcats and/or hyenas!

 

 

 


5) Kirkconnell, Arturo et al.. Photographic Guide to the Birds of Cuba. 2020. Comstock. Paperback: 384 pages. Price: $32.95 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Containing hundreds of stunning photographs by Yves-Jacques Rey-Millet, A Photographic Guide to the Birds of the Cuba provides full photographic coverage of every species on the Cuban list. Concise text for each species includes identification, similar species, voice, habitats and behavior, status and distribution, along with a map.

This guide is an essential companion for any birder or naturalist visiting this beautiful and bird-rich island. Cuba is now one of the most popular birding destinations in the world. Its rich avifauna includes 25 endemic species, and the island is also home to a range of regional scarcities and an important stopping point for migrants as they cross the Caribbean.

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone birding Cuba!

New Titles

 


1) Paulson, Dennis. American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Washington. 2020. Scott & Nix. Flexibound: 350 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Washington is one of the premiere states for birds and birding. Its rugged coastline and expansive forests in the western portion, the towering Cascades, of the central region and the arid eastern valleys, combine to provide excellent and varied habitats for hundreds of types of birds year-round. Washington is home to three magnificent national parks providing some of the best natural wildlife viewing areas in North America. And there are over 100 parks throughout the state, including 19 marine parks and 11 historical parks. Over 350 beautiful color photographs, featuring 300 bird species in natural habitats; clear and concise identification, habitat, and birdsong text; tips on when and where to see species throughout the year; complete Washington bird checklist; detailed map and index, and more. Written by expert Washington birder Dennis Paulson and filled with gorgeous color images by Brian E. Small, the American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Washington is the perfect companion for anyone wanting to learn more about the natural history and diversity of the state’s birds and when and where to see them.

RECOMMENDATION: Best for beginning or intermediate level birders.

 


2) Newton, Ian. Uplands and Birds. 2020. William Collins. Paperback: 598 pages. Price: $50.00 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Ian Newton, author of Farming and Birds and Bird Migration returns to the New Naturalist series with a long awaited look at the uplands and its birds.

     The uplands of Britain are unique landscapes created by grazing animals, primarily livestock. The soils and blanket bogs of the uplands are also the largest stores of carbon in the UK, and 70% of the country’s drinking water comes from the uplands. It’s a significant region, not least to the multitudes of bird species that hunt, forage and nest there.

     Once again, Ian Newton demonstrates his mastery of the subject matter at hand, in this beautifully illustrated, authoritative addition to the New Naturalist series.

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in British bird habitats and/or collect the New Naturalist series.

 


 

3) Fairbrother, Vic and Ken Hutchinson. The Ring Ouzel: A View from the North York Moors. 2020. Whittles Publishing. Paperback: 272 pages. Price: $27.95 U.S.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Using vivid extracts from field notebooks and profusely illustrated with photographs as well as paintings and sketches by wildlife artist Jonathan Pomroy, the reader is transported to the beautiful North York Moors National Park. We can share in the excitement as the first Ring Ouzels of the year return from their winter quarters in North Africa, witness their courtship displays, the establishment of territories and the female ouzel painstakingly building her nest and laying her eggs.

     To hear the song of the Ring Ouzel carrying for a surprising distance across the high moorland in the early morning is one of the many delights of upland Britain. The authors have recorded and analysed both simple and complex songs in their study area and, following comparison with recordings from Scotland, Derbyshire and the Yorkshire Dales, have confirmed the suspected presence of local dialects.

     Crucially this book is much more than a remarkable record of twenty years' fieldwork as it builds on earlier research elsewhere and relates local findings to the results of other current studies in England, Wales and Scotland. As a migrant, the Ring Ouzel faces additional pressures and problems on passage and conditions in their wintering areas in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco are described. The importance of Britain as a stop-over and refuelling area for Fennoscandian birds on passage in Spring and Autumn is stressed. This milestone publication bring the Ring Ouzel into sharp focus for the first time.

RECOMMENDATION: A must have for anyone with an interest in this species!