BBC Wildlife - Vol 22(3):73; March 2004

BBC Wildlife
Vol 22(3):73; March 2004

Handbook of the Birds of the World: Volume 8 broadbills to tapaculos
By Josep del Hoyo (editor) Lynx Edicions 850 pp.£ 120.

Only the size of a sparrow, but rather more stunning, the male black-and-yellow broadbill is one of many beautiful birds featured in the latest volume in this magnificent series. In its quest to illustrate all the bird species in the world, the Handbook series has neatly dealt with the non-passerines in seven volumes. The new book sees the start of the passerines (of perching birds)-no fewer than 94 families, comprising nearly half of the avian species in the world.

First up are the broadbills, specialised forest birds with broad, hook-tipped bills, indeed, the largest species, the dusky broadbill (which is as big as a blackbird) has proportionately the broadest bill of all the passerines. Then it's on to the asities, pittas, ovenbirds, woodcreepers, typical antbirds, ground-antbirds, gnateaters and tapaculos - 672 species in all, each one described with the painstaking attention to detail typical of the series.

There are paintings of every species and more than 470 superb photographs adorn the text, many of which were commissioned specially for this Handbook.

By Robin Prytherch, Ornithologist.