Working for birds in Africa

Handbook of the Birds of the World Volume 7

Fri, 21/12/2012 - 13:33 -- abc_admin
Josep del Hoyo, Andrew Elliott and Jordi Sargatal (eds). 2002. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. 613 pp, 70 colour plates, 317 colour photographs. Hardback. UK£110.
page 143

Volume 7 of this series is the last covering non-passerines and has a distinct Neotropical bias, although there is still plenty to interest Africa aficionados (given that it includes barbets and woodpeckers). Following a now familiar format, an essay prefaces the volume proper. Herein, Errol Fuller writes authoritatively on the subject of bird extinctions since 1600. Unsurprisingly, island endemics account for around 90% of recent extinctions, with the Mascarene Islands faring particularly badly, given 13 losses since Man first started visiting the islands. The family accounts follow the tried and tested format, with a general introduction to family systematics, morphology, habitats and behaviour, lavishly illustrated by top-quality photographs. Species accounts are concise and succinct, accompanied by a distribution map and full-page colour plates, all of which, incidentally, are superb. Overall, this volume reflects the high standards set by its predecessors and, given the amount of information presented, represents excellent value for money.

Rob Lucking

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