Indiana Audubon Quarterly - May 1995

Indiana Audubon Quarterly
May 1995.

Del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and J. Sargatal (eds.), 1994.
Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 2 (New World Vultures to Guineafowl).

Lynx Edicions, Passeig de Gràcia, 12, 08007 Barcelona, Spain. 638 pp. Illustrated with 60 color paintings by 10 different artists and hundreds of color photographs and maps. $ 165 cloth.

This book is an international project with a host of talented authors and artists. It includes general overall descriptions of each family and general species accounts. In contrast to most regional works, the family texts are lengthy, and although written in a very readable style, they delve into many fields of scientific investigation, including the latest discoveries regarding biology, ecology and relationships of the family in question. These texts are by far the most comprehensive at the family level ever published, with the exception of a few monographs. The species accounts, on the other hand, are highly condensed, aimed at giving as much information as possible (on taxonomy, distribution, descriptive notes, habitat, food and feeding, breeding, movements, and status and conservation) in a reasonable space, so that the whole series remains of managable size. For many species these texts bring together all the published information available about the species, while in the remainder all the essential information is included. Particular attention is paid to the matter of conservation which is evident in the fact that the sections on status and conservation both in the family texts and the species accounts, are very often the longest. The species’ accounts concludes with a list of more than 6,000 bibliographical references. The color plates by a battery of 10 artists represent some of the best ornithological illustration available with color phases and subspecific variations included. Complimenting this illustrative odyssey are some 300 color photographs.

This massive and impressive work continues to be one of both superb artistry and unsurpassed scientific value and one that is worthy of any naturalist’s or birder’s library.

Charles E. Keller