Thursday, 11 August 2011

Advanced Bird ID Handbook

New Holland's Advanced Bird ID Guide has taken the birding world by storm, being described by leading authorities as 'ground-breaking', 'innovative' and 'brilliant', and scooping the prestigious Birdwatch Magazine Bird Book of the Year Award 2010.

I got my copy of the book today, a bit cheaper currently on Amazon (£15) rather than the RRP (c£25).

The guide accurately describes every key detail of every plumage of all 1,350 species and subspecies that have ever occurred in the Western Palearctic. Its level of detail is unprecedented for a book of its size. The book broke the mould for field guides as it contains no colour plates or illustrations, but instead its unique selling point is that for every species the detailed text lists the key characters of each recognizable plumage, including male, female, immature, juvenile, all subspecies and all other variations. This level of detail includes, for example, all eleven forms of 'Canada goose' and all eleven forms of 'yellow wagtail' known in the region.

The detailed yet concise nature of the guide means that it has become an instant classic. The Advanced Bird ID Handbook is intended as a reference companion for the original field guide. It has larger and more widely spaced text, and more than 100 additional pages, making it much more easy to use. In addition it has been fully updated with additions and amendments to the accounts of nearly every species, all recent taxonomic changes and new species in the region taken on board, and more than 20 tables giving side-by-side comparisons of the features of sets of similar species such as Syke's and Booted Warblers, Tundra and Taiga Bean Geeese, Marsh and Willow Tit and Snowy and Little Egret etc. There is also a full checklist of Western Palearctic species.

I think in combination with Collins this will be an incredibly useful book and look forward to working my way through it! I've just got to see if I can fit a copy in my glove box!

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