Thrushes (Anglais) Relié – 30 novembre 2000
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Good for a collector of bird books and researchers in a growing series of similar books though not all are of this same standard.
Many of those ID-focused birders turn to the Helm Identification Guide series (published in the UK by Christopher Helm or an affiliated publisher, and in North America by Princeton, Yale, Houghton Mifflin, and perhaps others). Clement's monograph on thrush ID was published by Princeton in 2000 (Clement also wrote the volume devoted to "finches and sparrows"). The format will be familiar to anyone who has purchased or used any of the other guides in the series (though it's worth noting that in some volumes the range maps accompany the species accounts and in other the maps are included, with other information, on the pages facing the plates; this volume follows the latter). The primary illustrator is Ren Hathway, with additional portraits by Clive Byers and Jan Wilczur.
It's important to note that before the widespread availability of field guides most bird ID literature was of a distinctly scholastic or scientific bent, often with no illustrations (or few). If I were not so dependent on visual learning I could indeed use many of Clement's excellent narrative descriptions to identify an observed bird, especially when combined with the rich trove of information incorporated into the species accounts under the headings for status and distribution, voice, habitat, and behavior (among others). Fortunately that's not mandatory, because the portraits included on the plates depict birds attractively and accurately [one quibble, however: in many instances the sequence of birds pictured on a particular plate does not follow the sequence of the facing legend page; thus, for example, Chestnut-bellied Thrush is the first species listed on a legends page facing a plate on which that species is depicted near the bottom of the page). The species accounts and the illustrations complement each other quite well.
This was in 2000 purportedly the first monograph devoted to the true thrushes (and the only one ever to illustrate all species not now extinct), and presumably it remains so today. The focus is almost as much on identification (where possible) to the subspecies level, and the distribution of each species is described by subspecies (where applicable). Many subspecies other than nominate forms are also illustrated. It is possible that some forms then described as subspecies are now accorded species status, and vice versa. With perhaps minor deviations this work follows the taxonomic guidance of Sibley and Monroe (1990).