Book News

Birds of Australia Photographic GuideBirds of Australia: A Photographic Guide
by Iain Campbell, Sam Woods, and Nick Leseberg

From Princeton University Press:

Australia is home to a spectacular diversity of birdlife, from parrots and penguins to emus and vibrant passerines. Birds of Australia covers all 714 species of resident birds and regularly occurring migrants and features more than 1,100 stunning color photographs, including many photos of subspecies and plumage variations never before seen in a field guide. Detailed facing-page species accounts describe key identification features such as size, plumage, distribution, behavior, and voice. This one-of-a-kind guide also provides extensive habitat descriptions with a large number of accompanying photos. The text relies on the very latest IOC taxonomy and the distribution maps incorporate the most current mapping data, making this the most up-to-date guide to Australian birds.

  • Covers all 714 species of resident birds and regularly occurring migrants
  • Features more than 1,100 stunning color photos
  • Includes facing-page species accounts, habitat descriptions, and distribution maps
  • The ideal photographic guide for beginners and seasoned birders alike

 

A little big to carry into the field, but lots of nice photos make this an excellent photographic reference/secondary field guide for Australia.

 

Birds of Australia: A Photographic Guide
by Iain Campbell, Sam Woods, and Nick Leseberg
Paperback; 392 pages
Princeton University Press; November 9, 2014
ISBN: 978-0691157276
$35.00

When Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife AdventurerWhen Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife Adventurer
by James Alexander Currie, with Bonnie J. Fladung

From Ukhozi Press:

Follow the daring safari of James Currie as his love of birds, fascination with wildlife and craving for adventure lead him into humorous and life threatening situations. James captures the essence of what it means to be African today, facing everything from the Big Five to the vestiges of apartheid to the AIDS epidemic. He provides authoritative information on African wildlife and illustrates hair-raising encounters with lions, buffalo, leopards, elephants, rhinoceros and snakes through exciting and humorous stories. The book follows James’s journey from city boy to conservationist and shows what it takes to become an African game ranger. From his first graphic encounter with the brutality of nature on Table Mountain in South Africa to his disappearance as a boy on safari in Malawi to the rigorous training he underwent to become a game ranger at Phinda Private Game Reserve, this book will delight and educate anyone fascinated with nature, wildlife, travel and adventure. James provides wonderful insights into African conservation and a fascinating glimpse into the importance of cross-cultural relationships in Africa’s wildlife tourism environment. He details his own inner journey overcoming physical challenges and finding the balance between following passions and what’s important in life.

 

This memoir, from the host of Birding Adventures TV, is one of the best books I’ve read this year.

 

When Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife Adventurer
by James Alexander Currie, with Bonnie J. Fladung
Paperback; 312 pages
Ukhozi Press; September 27, 2014
ISBN: 978-0990766001
$15.95

Birds of New Guinea 2nd EditionBirds of New Guinea: Second Edition
by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce M. Beehler

From Princeton University Press:

This is the completely revised edition of the essential field guide to the birds of New Guinea. The world’s largest tropical island, New Guinea boasts a spectacular avifauna characterized by cassowaries, megapodes, pigeons, parrots, cuckoos, kingfishers, and owlet-nightjars, as well as an exceptionally diverse assemblage of songbirds such as the iconic birds of paradise and bowerbirds. Birds of New Guinea is the only guide to cover all 780 bird species reported in the area, including 366 endemics. Expanding its coverage with 111 vibrant color plates–twice as many as the first edition–and the addition of 635 range maps, the book also contains updated species accounts with new information about identification, voice, habits, and range. A must-have for everyone from ecotourists to field researchers, Birds of New Guinea remains an indispensable guide to the diverse birds of this remarkable region.

  • 780 bird species, including 366 found nowhere else
  • 111 stunning color plates, twice the number of the first edition
  • Expanded and updated species accounts provide details on identification, voice, habits, and range
  • 635 range maps
  • Revised classification of birds reflects the latest research

 

The first edition of this guide was published almost 30 years ago and, long out-of-print, was commanding big bucks. Needless to say, this new edition has been much anticipated. If you’re lucky enough to go birding in New Guinea, you’ll want this field guide.

 

Birds of New Guinea: Second Edition
by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce M. Beehler
Paperback; 528 pages
Princeton University Press; October 1, 2014
ISBN: 978-0691095639
$49.50

Birds of Western Africa 2nd EditionBirds of Western Africa: Second Edition
by Nik Borrow and Ron Demey

From Princeton University Press:

This revised and expanded edition of Birds of Western Africa is now the most up-to-date field guide available to the 1,285 species of birds found in the region–from Senegal and southern Mauritania east to Chad and the Central African Republic and south to Congo. It now features all maps and text opposite the plates for quick and easy reference. The comprehensive species accounts have been fully updated and expanded, and the color distribution maps have been completely revised. This premier guide also includes more than 3,000 illustrations on 266 stunning color plates.

Compact and lightweight, this new edition of Birds of Western Africa is the must-have field guide to one of the most exciting birding regions in the world.

  • The premier field guide to West African birds–now completely revised and expanded
  • Covers all 1,285 species found in the region
  • Features fully updated maps and text opposite the plates for easy reference

 

The timing of this new edition could be better – I doubt many birders are going to this region right now. Hopefully, this horrible Ebola outbreak will be over soon. And when it is, this looks like a good field guide to have for the region.

 

Birds of Western Africa: Second Edition
by Nik Borrow and Ron Demey
Paperback; 592 pages
Princeton University Press; October 26, 2014
ISBN: 978-0691159201
$45.00

The Stokes Essential Pocket Guide to the Birds of North AmericaThe Stokes Essential Pocket Guide to the Birds of North America
by Donald and Lillian Stokes

From Little, Brown and Company:

A new landmark in nature guides: the most authoritative, beautiful, and useful national pocket guide to birds.

Pocket-size, brilliantly colorful, and easy to use, THE STOKES ESSENTIAL POCKET GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA contains everything you need to identify and enjoy birds in your backyard and beyond. Whether you’re age 9 or 90, whether you’re a novice or advanced birder, this book will help you identify birds quickly and accurately. It offers more than 580 stunning color photographs, coverage of more than 250 species, key identification clues, descriptions of songs and calls, notes on feeding and nesting behavior, advice on selecting bird feeders and binoculars, important behavioral information and key habitat preferences, and up-to-date range maps.

The culmination of many years of research, observation, and study, this book is factually, visually, and organizationally superior to any other beginner’s guide on the market.

 

Large, stunning photographs highlight this new compact field guide, but it also has lots of useful information for new and budding birders.

 

The Stokes Essential Pocket Guide to the Birds of North America
by Donald and Lillian Stokes
Paperback; 288 pages
Little, Brown and Company; October 14, 2014
ISBN: 978-0316010511
$15.00

Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North AmericaDucks, Geese, and Swans of North America
by Guy Baldassarre

From Johns Hopkins University Press:

Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America has been hailed as a classic since the first edition was published in 1942. A must-have for professional biologists, birders, waterfowl hunters, decoy collectors, and wildlife managers, this fully revised and updated edition provides definitive information on the continent’s forty-six species. Maps of both winter and breeding ranges are presented with stunning images by top waterfowl photographers and the acclaimed original artwork of Robert W. Bob) Hines. Originally authored by F. H. Kortright and later revised by Frank Bellrose, this latest edition, which has been meticulously updated by renowned waterfowl biologist Guy Baldassarre, continues the legacy of esteemed authors. Each species account contains in-depth sections on: • identification• distribution• migration behavior• habitat• population status• breeding biology• rearing of young• recruitment and survival• food habits and feeding ecology • molts and plumages• conservation and management To facilitate identification, the species accounts also include detailed illustrations of wings. An appendix contains comparative illustrations of ducklings, goslings, and cygnets. This edition of Ducks, Geese, and Swans consists of two volumes, printed in full color, and packaged in a slipcase, along with a CD containing references and additional maps.

 

Wow, this thing is huge! This is a two-volume set, housed in a slipcase. Each of the hardcover books is large and looks great. Its focus isn’t identification (although it does cover that and has lots of photos and some great artwork), but does have just about anything you would want to know about this group of birds.

Preview an excerpt of Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America

 

Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America
by Guy Baldassarre
Hardcover; 1088 pages
Johns Hopkins University Press; September 24, 2014
ISBN: 978-1421407517
$69.95

The World of BirdsThe World of Birds
by Jonathan Elphick

From Firefly Books:

The ultimate illustrated, authoritative reference to the avian world.

Written by a highly regarded ornithologist and natural history expert and sumptuously illustrated throughout with photographs and illustrations, The World of Birds is a comprehensive and authoritative guide to every aspect of bird life and a concise survey of the world’s orders and families.

Jonathan Elphick begins by defining the distinguishing features of birds before going on to describe their evolution since the age of the dinosaurs. With the aid of fact boxes and clear photographs, he then explores in greater detail each of the significant elements of bird life.

Topics include:

  • bird biology including anatomy, walking and swimming, plumage, calls and songs
  • flight techniques and styles
  • food and feeding
  • bird lifestyles and social relationships
  • breeding, growth and development
  • bird geography and habitats
  • the mysteries of migration

He also considers human attitudes towards birds through the ages.

The book contains a comprehensive survey of the world’s birds (including extinct species), detailing every one of the 29 orders and each of the approximately 200 families. Reflecting the latest classification changes to the Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World, it explains how birds are classified and provides an outline of the system of classification.

With special photography from award-winning wildlife photographer David Tipling, this book is a unique insight into the world of birds and essential reading for all ornithologists, bird watchers and natural history enthusiasts.

 

Wow, this book contains a LOT of information. The first part is a mini-course in ornithology, while the second provides an overview of the world’s birds at the order and family level.

 

The World of Birds
by Jonathan Elphick
Hardcover; 608 pages
Firefly Books; September 11, 2014
ISBN: 978-1770853041
$75.00

HummingbirdsHummingbirds
by Ronald I. Orenstein, with photographs by Michael and Patricia Fogden

From Firefly Books:

A comprehensive natural history of nature’s smallest bird species.

The tiny hummingbird has long been a source of fascination for birdwatchers and naturalists alike. They number 300 species and Ronald Orenstein has a passion for all of them.

Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world. A hummingbird egg is the size of a pea, barely, and the chick that emerges will be smaller than a penny, if that. But these tiny birds pack a powerful engine: a hummingbird’s heart beats more than 1,200 times per minute.

Nicknamed the “avian helicopter”, a hummingbird’s wings beat from 70 times per second in direct flight, to more than 200 times per second when diving. Not surprisingly, that whirlwind of wing power creates a humming sound. To fuel such energy, hummingbirds must eat as much as eight times their body weight on a daily basis, which means visiting an average of 1,000 flowers — every day — to get enough nectar.

Hummingbirds are found in North and South America, with the greatest number in Ecuador, although some species breed as far north as Canada. Most species migrate from Mexico to Alaska, a distance of more than 5,000 miles.

In this book Orenstein covers all aspects of hummingbird natural history, their relationship with the plants on which they feed, the miracle of their flight, their elaborate social life and nesting behavior, and their renowned feats of migration.

More than 170 color photographs of these magnificent creatures, taken in the wild, adorn the pages of Hummingbirds. Birders and natural history readers alike will gain new insight into the tiny bird and revel in the stunning images.

 

In the first third of this book, Orenstein focuses his text on what makes hummingbirds unique, with emphasis on recent discoveries. The remainder of the book is a portfolio of photos by the Fogdens, probably the world’s preeminent hummingbird photographers. There are 200 photos of 70 hummingbird species, and they are amazing. The book isn’t perfect (I wish there had been more variety in the photographed species), but this is easily the most spectacular collection of hummingbird pictures that I’ve seen.

 

Hummingbirds
by Ronald I. Orenstein
Hardcover; 256 pages
Firefly Books; September 11, 2014
ISBN: 978-1770854000
$35.00

The Secret Lives of PuffinsThe Secret Lives of Puffins
by Dominic Couzens and Mark Sisson

From Bloomsbury:

Puffins are among the most instantly recognisable, iconic and well loved of birds. For many they are a highlight of the UK’s summer coastline and their colourful appearance, comedy antics and approachability just add to their popularity. Several ‘hotspot’ are attracting high levels of interest in visits to their colonies. In spite of the high level of interest in, and appeal of, these birds there has been a surprising lack of books focused on Puffins as a species.

Award-winning wildlife photographer Mark Sisson has spent several years photographing Puffins and this new book combines images that beautifully encapsulate their charm and visual appeal with an accessible text written by leading wildlife writer Dominic Couzens. The book covers the birds’ life cycle, behaviour, habitats and the current and future challenges that they face, along with many surprising facts and anecdotes.

 

This book was published in the UK earlier this year, but just recently in the US. Some great pictures here. A couple of things to note: this is exclusively about Atlantic Puffins, specifically those in Europe. Obviously, the natural history info is location independent, but just don’t expect anything specifically about North American puffins or where to see them.

 

The Secret Lives of Puffins
by Dominic Couzens and Mark Sisson
Hardcover; 176 pages
Bloomsbury; January 28, 2014
ISBN: 978-1408186671
$35.00

National Geographic Complete Birds of North America 2nd EditionNational Geographic Complete Birds of North America, 2nd Edition
by Jonathan Alderfer

From National Geographic:

Essential, comprehensive, and easy to use, the revised edition of National Geographic Complete Birds of North America is an astonishing resource that covers every bird species found in North America as well as all the seasonal visitors. Entries are organized by family group, the taxonomic organization newly updated to match current American Ornithologists’ Union guidelines. Within a family, each separate bird entry has dozens of tips and illustrations on species’ gender, age group, behavior, habitat, nesting and feeding habits, and migration routes. Providing full information on more than 1,000 species, this book features hundreds of range and migration maps, cutting-edge information on identification, and more than 4000 annotated illustrations by expert bird artists.

 

You can think of National Geographic Complete Birds of North America as a greatly expanded NatGeo field guide with additional text and photographs. It’s a great reference for when you need a more detailed description of a bird or help with a difficult identification.

 

National Geographic Complete Birds of North America, 2nd Edition
by Jonathan Alderfer
Hardcover; 744 pages
National Geographic; October 7, 2014
ISBN: 1426213735
$40.00