Scottish Bird News - Num. 65: 16 - September 2002

Scottish Bird News
Num. 65: 16 - September 2002

Handbook of the Birds of the World, Volume 7.

Del Hoyo. J., Elliot, A. and Sargatal, J. (Eds.). 2002. Lynx Edicions. 613 pp, 70 colour plates, 317 colour photographs and maps. ISBN 84-87334-37-7. Hbk. £110.

If I was stranded on a desert island (as the cliché goes) and was able to choose only one book, without hesitation I would want this set. Quite simply 'HBW' (as it is affectionately known) is the most superb set of bird books ever published.

Volume 7 (Jacamars, Puffbirds, Barbets, Toucans, Honeyguides and Woodpeckers) completes the non-passerine section. We are fortunate to have a further nine volumes to look forward to, covering the world's passerines.

Continuing the practice set in earlier volumes, specialists have been used to produce the family accounts (e.g. Hans Winkler and David Christie who previously wrote the text for the Pica Press Woodpeckers guide, are responsible for the woodpeckers), which are lavishly illustrated with colour photos. The individual species accounts are necessarily concise, but remarkably instructive, all being accompanied by a range map. Every species is fully illustrated on 70 outstanding colour plates (painted by sixteen artists including Hilary Burn, Ian Lewington, Chris Rose and Ian Willis).

I thoroughly recommend that anyone who is not already collecting this series should commence doing so without further delay. Whilst not cheap, it nevertheless represents outstanding value for money.

by Ron Forrester