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Impressive, top quality photos, plates, and text3 janvier 2011
- Publié sur Amazon.com
BASICS: hardcover, 2010, 712pp; 350+ excellent color photos and 42 remarkable color plates show 112 of the 144 species found in the 3 families of Locustellidae, Acrocephalidae, and Cettidae; chapter for each bird gives in-depth coverage of identification, plumage variations, similar species, voice, molt, habitat, breeding, distribution, taxonomy, and seasonal movements; sonogram samples, line sketches, and detailed range maps given for each bird
To the point, this is an awesome book. It offers outstanding photos and illustrations accompanied by thorough text. Another aspect that makes this book impressive is the number of isolated and more recently described (split) species that are shown. This is an outstanding book on a most difficult group of birds to observe or identify.
To clarify, this book does not cover all the reed and bush warblers of the world. Instead, it addresses 112 of the 144 species described from three families which represent a newer taxonomic organization. The count is 33 of the 44 Locustellidae, all 54 of the Acrocephalidae, and 25 of the 34 Cettidae species. To be fair to the authors, some exclusions are due to late taxonomic changes that repositioned some species into the three target families. This left insufficient time to include the new-comers in the book.
The selection of 350+ color photographs is wonderful, offering multiple views and plumages. For each of the more documented or widespread species, about a dozen photos are shown. Regarding the lesser known or range restricted birds, only 1-3 photos may be provided. As an example, 4 of the 5 Tesias and 2 of the 3 Stubtails are represented by only one photograph. On the extreme, 9 species have no photograph available; but, they are illustrated nicely in the plates.
The 42 color plates, composed of about 385 illustrations, are of superior quality. Great detail is put into the various plumages helping to distinguish not just the similar species but also the many subspecies. The large illustrations are shown directly across from the short description that focuses on key identifying points.
Another notable feature of this book are the photographs and material made available on some of the very rare and even extinct species. The recently extinct Aldabra Bush-Warbler is represented by 2 photographs. The rediscovered Long-billed Reed Warbler has 5 photos and 3 pages of text, making it the best source of information on this bird. The same can be said of the 2 pages for the Timor Reed Warbler rediscovered in 2009; although, no photo is available for this bird.
The researched text is as equally impressive. A chapter of 2-13 pages provides an account for each bird. Approximately half of the material is dedicated to describing each bird, its subspecies, and for comparing and separating similar species. The amount of material can be extensive and very detailed for the plumages, the bare parts, and geographic variations. An obviously great amount of research went into compiling information to provide detailed distribution descriptions for not just the species, but for each of the subspecies. The 1-3 paragraphs dedicated to vocalizations give a great description for the calls and song of the bird. This is also accompanied by a 1-3 sonograms. Additional material covers habitat, behavior, breeding habits, movements, and molt. A few tables are also provided for in-hand measurements of the bird. Lastly, most species are aided with extra b&w drawings that illustrate tail or wing formulae, shapes, or patterns.
Lastly, a very detailed map is given for all but 5 of the species. The 5 without a map are island-restricted birds in the South Pacific (Pitcairn, Henderson, Rimatara, Nauru, and Bouganville). These maps are tailored to each bird, zooming in when necessary for those birds with a small range. For the more wide ranging birds such as the European Reed Warbler, a multi-continent map is given with country borders and major rivers. Each of the subspecies is also denoted on the map.
Amongst the many identification guides that focus on a family or group of birds, this is one of the best, right along with "Sylvia Warblers" and " Pipits and Wagtails". Any birder who's serious about these LBJ's or loves the torment and challenge of identifying them will definitely want to own a copy of this book. - (written by Jack at Avian Review, January 2010)
I've listed several related books below... 1) Sylvia Warblers by Shirihai et al. 2) Warblers of Europe, Asia, and North Africa by Baker 3) British Warblers by Simms 4) Guide to the Warblers of the Western Palearctic by Parmenter/Byers 5) A Field Guide to the Warblers of Britain and Europe by Moore 6) Identification for Ringers 1: Cettia, Locustella, Acrocephalus, and Hippolais by Williamson 7) Identification for Ringers 2: Phylloscopus by Williamson 8) Identification for Ringers 3: The Genus Sylvia by Williamson
An Amazingly comprehensive guide to these species.4 octobre 2012
Mike "Madbirder" Nelson
- Publié sur Amazon.com
For anyone who has hopelessly peered into a patch of dark undergrowth or a swaying reedbed hoping to identify an rather nondescript brownish bird that infuriatingly refuses to sing, there is hope. This, one of the most comprehensive guides to any bird family, helps to address the questions of sorting these very similar and challenging group of birds from one another.
When you first grasp this book you know you have a serious volume in your hands, heavy and profusely illustrated you are drawn in to the vast knowledge this book imparts. From the introduction and large color maps through the taxonomy, use of the book, pages on migration, moult strategies (accompanied by some fascinating graphs), ageing, DNA data and the Acrocephalis radiation across the pacific, you are given a vast array of knowledge before you get to the plates.
The 42 plates are expertly crafted by Brian Small with consistent, sharp, bright artwork throughout. There are between one and six species on each plate with nice large renderings and nothing crowded, several plates are give over to the plumages of just one bird like the Grasshopper Warbler with 10 different illustrations of several species, which is actually continued on the next plate with three more illustrations. Each plate is faced on the left with descriptions of the various plumages and notes on the species with map and text references.
Once into the species accounts there are several pages covering information on each of the species. Each Genus is discussed then each of the members of that genus beginning with taxonomy and names of the subspecies involved. Detailed notes on Identification of the structure, plumage and bare parts is then followed by a section on similar species which in many case is quite relevant. This is followed by Voice which is another aid in the identification of the superficially similar species. They are accented with sonograms of the various subspecies within the complex which is quite revealing when you look at how different many of them are. There is a large range map with sections marked off to show the ranges of the subspecies within the breeding range to accompany the text. This continues with the moult, habitat, breeding habits, distribution; again covering each subspecies, movements, descriptions for fresh, worn and juvenile/first winter plumage and very detailed graphs on in hand characteristics like measurements, wing length and wing formula where available. Geographical variation among the subspecies is followed by taxonomy and systematics. There are usually several quality photographs illustrating different plumages, which considering the skulking nature of many of these birds is quite impressive.
The exhaustive text is followed by seven appendices covering sources of original descriptions, which is interesting to see who described the species and in which year as well as the subspecies, next is a spread sheet on live wing lengths of selected palearctic migrants which covers races within those species, the location for the data and the data on the primaries, sex, wing length and the source of the data. Helpful if you're mist netting or have a very cooperative (i.e. dead) one to measure. Speaking of dead measurements the next appendix covers museum specimens wing and tail. This is followed by the fourth appendix on origins, migration status and moult strategies, then the very helpful comparative field characters of similar species, the scientific names of other species mentioned in the text and finally recent developments to 2010.
This book is exhaustive in its details and scope. No stone went unturned in the accounts of these species. As with all evolving science some species were left out of this book that have been moved around taxonomicaly but that can't be helped as new developments will always arise as several from this book have done so with new information provided here within that splits species.
Overall this is an amazing work with stunning artwork, amazing detail, fantastic photographs and attention to all the relevant information required in the enjoyment or continued frustration with the members of these complex and challenging families. It is a fantastic reference when studying for trips and after you've made it back with that fuzzy snap, half covered by vegetation or that brief snippet of song extracted from the wind drowned recording you made next to a stagnant marsh that you suffered soggy feet and insect bites to get. You can spend hours wading through this book to find the details you need to figure it out knowing they will be in here somewhere, but even if you can't solve the puzzle you'll enjoy reading about them just the same. It's a must for any serious birder and probably comprehensive enough for researchers doing banding/ringing.