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There have been 7 editions of this landmark work by Joseph Forshaw and William Cooper that I know of, all of which are out of print. Shopping for a copy of "Parrots of the World" on the secondary market can be confusing. The book was originally published in 1973 and had 584 pages. Landsdowne Press was the Australian publisher (ISBN 0701800240), and Doubleday was the US publisher (ISBN 0385056281). In 1977, TFH Publications, with the cooperation of Doubleday, published another edition that is distinguished by not having a dust jacket (ISBN 0876669593). The cover artwork is part of the slick, white cover. Ease of locating and identifying the illustrations was improved. A year later, in 1978, TFH further improved upon the book by expanding the indices. The 1978 edition has the same ISBN and cover art as the 1977 edition, but says "Improved 1978 Edition" on the cover. A "Revised Second Edition" with 616 pages came in 1980 (ISBN 0701806907) from Eastview Editions. A "Revised Third Edition" was published by Avian Publications in 1989 (ISBN 0701828005). The 3rd edition has 672 pages and includes new plates illustrating differences in the plumage of mature and immature birds. Second and third editions were also published in Australia, and perhaps the UK, with different publishers and ISBNs. In 2000, a "Limited Edition", still with 672 pages, was published by Avian books. All of the editions (not including the foreign editions) have different cover art. All have dust jackets except the 1977 and 1978 editions.
I'm reviewing the 1978 edition, with a Double Yellow-Headed Amazon and a Blue-Fronted Amazon on the cover, as that is the one I have right now. The author, Joseph M. Forshaw was an Australian ornithologist specializing in parrots. Illustrator William T. Cooper, was an Australian painter best known for his depictions of birds. The book is organized by Distributions: Pacific, Afro-Asian, and South American, which are further divided into Family, Sub-family, Genus, and Species. Sub-species are found within the listing for the species. This is also how the birds are listed in the table of contents. The book's two indices provide a more efficient method of locating a particular species, however. There is an English Name index and a Scientific Name index. The author has used the common name from the species' nation of origin whenever possible, so some of the names may be unfamiliar. For example, a rose-breasted cockatoo is a "galah", an umbrella cockatoo a "white cockatoo", and what we might call a cherry-headed conure or red-masked parakeet is a "red-masked conure". I find it simplest to use the scientific name index.
The Preface explains how the book is organized. The book's Introduction provides informative explanations of the classification of parrots, their anatomy (including diagrams), and their natural history. Each Distribution is introduced with an explanation of what species lie within that region. Descriptions of the attributes of each Family, Sub-family, and Genus introduce each sub-section of the book. For each species, there is a physical description, distribution (with map), a list of sub-species (with physical descriptions), followed by General Notes, which encompasses just about anything ornithologists have observed and documented about the species, including calls, nesting habits, and a description of its eggs. This edition of "Parrots of the World" was researched primarily in the late 1960s. Some information on the distribution and endangerment of parrot species may be outdated. It is also likely that more and better information has since been amassed for the General Notes sections. Still, there is a great deal of information in "Parrots of the World". It was the first monograph on parrots published in over a century, and it's still overwhelming. Approximately 340 species of parrot, including all extant species, are represented and described. There are 155 full-page illustrations by William Cooper. Most have more than one bird in the picture so that nearly 500 birds, including divergent sub-species, are illustrated. The illustrations are not as detailed as Roger Tory Peterson's, but they are striking and convincing. Parrot lovers will find "Parrots of the World" a pleasure to peruse.