The Wilson Journal of Ornithology - Vol. 120 nº1, March 2008

The Wilson Journal of Ornithology
Vol. 120 nº1, March 2008

HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD, VOLUME 11: OLD WORLD FLYCATCHERS TO OLD WORLD WARBLERS. Edited by Josep del Hoyo, Andrew Elliott, and David Christie. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain. 2006: 798 pages, 55 color plates, more than 300 photographs, and 723 maps. ISBN: 84-96553-06-X. $250.00 (cloth).—Handbook of the Birds of the World continues with Volume 11 in the landmark series. This volume contains seven Families of Passerines including Old World Flycatchers, Batises and Wattle-eyes, Fantails, Monarchflycatchers, Kinglets and Firecrests, Gnatcatchers, Cisticolas and Allies, and Old World Warblers, Each Family account has sections outlining familial characteristics including systematics, morphology, habitat, habits, voice, food and feeding, breeding, movements, relationship with man, status and conservation, and a general bibliography. This section is lavishly illustrated with exquisite photographs that capture the birds in intimate moments bathing, roosting, nesting, caring for young, feeding, or just being birds.

The species accounts start with a color plate followed by individual accounts for the species on the plate. The plates are up to the excellent standards of the series with accurate shapes and well reproduced colors. The text for each species includes the scientific name as well as the name in English, French, German, Spanish, and other common names. Many of the same subjects in the family account are addressed for each species individually; other topics include subspecies and distribution, descriptive notes, and a range map.

The editors went to great lengths to ensure this volume was up to date at the time it went to press. The book includes two species first described in 2006, the Dark Batis (Batis ctypta) and the Odedi Bush-warbler (Cetti haddeni). Also included is a photograph in hand of the Large-billed Leaf Warbler (Acrocephalus orinus) trapped in March 2006, the first record since the species was discovered in 1867; remarkable for a book with a publication date of 2006. The volume is well-edited. I found one minor formatting fault and one apparent miscount.

The series includes a Foreword to each volume on some aspect of ornithology. This volume has a Foreword by Çagan Sekercioglu titied The Ecological Significance of Bird Populations. This paper describes the ecological processes that birds undertake (pollination, seed dispersal, predation, carrion consumption, etc.) and the effect that declines in bird populations have on the ecosystem if those processes are lost. This is a thought-provoking article, although I would have preferred having the references with the article rather than mixed with the general references for the entire volume.

I highly recommend this series.

MARY GUSTAFSON, Rio Grande Joint Venture, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 2800 South Bentsen Palm Drive, Mission, TX 78572, USA;
e-mail: mary.gustafson@tpwd.state.tx.us