The Wilson Journal of Ornithology - December 2007

The Wilson Journal of Ornithology
December 2007 

HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD. VOLUME 10.
CUCKOO-SHRIKES TO THRUSHES.
Edited by Joseph del Hoyo Andrew Elliot, and David Christie. Lynx Editions, Barcelona, Spain. 2005: 895 pp., 81 color plates, numerous color photographs and range maps. ISBN: 84-87334-72-5. $278.00 (cloth). 

The Foreword for this volume is a review entitled The Ecology and Impact of Non-indigenous birds that is 19 pages in length and has a bibliography of 128 references. The bulk of this large format volume (31 X 34 cm; 4.2 kg) consists of 14 family accounts and 340 species accounts. The families covered are the Campephagidae (cuckoo-shrikes), Pycnonotidae (bulbuls), Chloropsei-dae (leafbirds), Irenidae (fairy-bluebirds), Aegithinidae (ioras), Ptilogonatidae (silky-flycatchers), Bombycillidae (waxwings), Hypocoliidae (Hypocolius), Dulidae (Palm-chat), Cinclidae (dippers), Troglodytidae .(wrens), Mimidae (mockingbirds and thrashers), Prunellidae (accentors), and Turdidae (thrushes). The family accounts vary in length from about five pages for each of the monotypic families (Hypocolius [Hypocolius ampelinus] and Palmchat [Dulus domincus]) to more than 100 pages for the thrushes. The family accounts are accompanied by color photographs, some full page, with, for example, 127 in the account for thrushes.

The family accounts begin with a range map and a summary of the habitat, number of taxa, and conservation status of the family. Then follow sections on Systematics, Morphological Aspects, Habitat, General Habits, Voice, Food and Feeding, Breeding, Movements, Relationships with Man, and Status and Conservation. There are no in-text citations but a General Bibliography section contains author and year citations with the corresponding full citations in the References section at the end of the book. The species accounts begin with the French, German, and Spanish names, a list of other common English names, and then sections on Taxonomy, Subspecies and Distribution, Descriptive Notes (that includes descriptions of voice), Habitat, Food and Feeding, Movements, and Status and Conservation. There are no in-text citations, but the accounts end with a Bibliography. Each species account includes an easy-to-read range map in up to three colors. For the bird species I know best (e.g., Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Coracina novaehollandiae) I found the accounts accurate and the bibliography, although not exhaustive, included the major references. The References section is divided in two parts: References of Scientific Descriptions, and General List of References. The references number in the thousands. The Index is excellent, with common names double entered (e.g., Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike and Cuckoo-shrike, Black-faced).

The 81 color plates depict adult male and female plumage for dimorphic species and subspecies where there are distinct plumage differences. Juvenile plumages are described in the text. The plates are of universally excellent quality.

I find little to fault in this book or in the series. The family accounts are extensive and detailed, the species accounts succinct but informative, and the color plates excellent. The editors are to be congratulated on producing such a high-quality series. The price may be a bit much for some, but most libraries should have a copy.

WILLIAM E. DAVIS JR., Professor Emeritus, Boston University, 23 Knoll-wood Drive, East Falmouth, MA 02536, USA; e-mail: wedavis@bu.edu