Forest and Bird - February 2008

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Forest and Bird
February 2008

By Josep del Hoyo, 800pp, Lynx Editions, hardbound, $397 per volume 

SINCE Volume One appeared, this series has been widely accepted as the definitive reference work on the world's 10,000 bird species.

These two most recent volumes in a projected series of 16 get off to a powerful start with absorbing introductory essays on the ecological role of birds and the evolution of birds. The essay in Volume 12 draws on the latest fossil evidence and includes interesting examples from this part of the world.

The bird families covered in Volume 11 include the fantails, flycatchers and monarchs, many of which occur in the Pacific Islands. The endemic New Zealand fantail is also included among the 44 fantail species covered.

Volume 12 has a stronger emphasis on Australian and New Zealand bird species covering the babblers, logrunners, whistlers, Australasian robins and fairy-wrens. The yellowhead (mohoua), whitehead (popokatea), brown creeper (pipipi), New Zealand tomtit (riororiro), New Zealand robin (toutouwai) and Chatham Island black robin are all covered.

In the absence of a comprehensive, up-to-date guide book to the birds of the Pacific Islands, this series offers the most in-depth contemporary account of them.

Each species is illustrated with specially commissioned paintings which show the different plumages of the sexes and juvenile stages necessary for field identification.

Copies can be ordered online at 

Michael Szabo