Birdletter. Victor Emanuel Nature Tours - October 2002

Birdletter. Victor Emanuel Nature Tours
October 2002 

The Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW) is the first work ever to illustrate all the species of birds in the world, some of which have never even been illustrated before. This is a remarkable project. Each volume is a delight to look at. The photographs and plates are superb. The text is excellent.

The Handbook of the Birds of the World is an international project involving the collaboration of a team of authors, artists, and photographers from around the globe. The first volume was greeted with great enthusiasm by the ornithological world and received outstanding reviews in almost all of the world's specialized journals (see some of the reviews at the Lynx Edicions website: It was also awarded "Best Bird Book of the Year" by two important British magazines, Birdwatch and British Birds.

The format of HBW remains the same in all volumes. A family is covered in each chapter, which is divided into two parts. The first part covers the family in a global manner and it is divided into different sections: Systematics, Morphological Aspects, Habitat, General Habits, Voice, Food and Feeding, Breeding, Movements, Relationship with Man, Status and Conservation, and General Bibliography. The plates that illustrate the species include all the species, as well as a significant number of subspecies and other forms.

Among the main characteristics of HBW that we wish to highlight:

  1. The importance and the innovative character of the work, given that it is the first time that each and every bird species from around the world has been illustrated in color and treated in such detail (including a map of distribution for each species).
  2. The exceptional response that the project has received from the scientific world, which has contributed to the Handbook being considered the leading publication in its field.
  3. Finally, the positive implications that this work could have for the conservation of birds and their habitats on a global scale. This is due to it being the first time that the state of conservation of all birds is analyzed, where quantitatively possible. This includes all those birds which are under threat of extinction as well as those which, at least for the time being, are not faced with such a threat. 

Kevin Zimmer is one of the authors for Volume 8. It will be available in the summer of 2003. I strongly recommend that you acquire al least a few of these volumes. Pick a volume that covers some of your favorite families and start with that one. I know you won't be disappointed.

by Victor Emanuel