Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol.9: Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails

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9788487334696: Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol.9: Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails

This is the fourth volume of HBW to appear since 2001, and the ninth in the 13 years since 1992, when the first volume was published. With the pre-publication-offer leaflets for Vol. 10 (due in September 2005) appearing on the doormat long before I had got round to writing this review, the publication schedule of HBW is almost as impressive as the quality of the work. Successive reviewers in BB and every other ornithological publication I can think of have lauded this series and drained the barrel of superlatives almost dry, so that, for a reviewer, there is an element of 'what else is there to say?' This volume, the second of the series to cover passerines, covers the cotingas (Cotingidae), manakins (Pipridae), tyrant-flycatchers (Tyrannidae), New Zealand wrens (Acanthisittidae), scrub-birds (Atrichornithidae), lyre birds (Menuridae), larks (Alaudidae), swallows and martins (Hirundinidae), and pipits and wagtails (Motacillidae). The format remains steadfastly familiar, with an introductory essay preceding the treatment of each family in turn, these family sections consisting of a lengthy introduction illustrated with photographs, followed by the individual species accounts and their accompanying colour plates. Richard Banks has provided an authoritative, balanced and readable text on Ornithological Nomenclature for the introductory essay; perhaps not a subject guaranteed to ignite the enthusiasm of every prospective reader, but one which is particularly timely in these days of taxonomic upheaval. The family and species accounts seem to me to maintain the high standards set by, and now expected from, the series (and have been written by well-known and well-respected authorities such as Per Alström, Mike Brooke, David Snow and Angela Turner). The photographs which illustrate the essays introducing each family are simply stunning, and I have to confess that they are my favourite part of the book. Most of the 'big, serious' books in my office are there to be dragged off the shelves only in response to a specific query or (occasionally) when I cannot face the long trek to the gym and need some exercise. You can do both of these with HBW; but you can also simply take down each volume and browse, let the photographs transport you to foreign lands, and, well, quite simply be inspired afresh with birds. The reproduction quality of the photographs and plates (and the book as a whole) is excellent but, to me at least, the standard of the plates is more variable than that of the photographs, ranging from simply good to breathtaking (Chris Rose's cotingas, for example). HBW has reached a stage where almost everyone who already owns Vols. 1-8 will have ordered Vol. 9 automatically; and they will not be disappointed. Have we also reached a point where those who, for whatever reason, decided in 1992 against testing their bookshelves to the limit, now feel that the cost of 'catching up' is beyond them? Almost £1,000 (£980 for the first ten volumes if you take advantage of the latest special offer) for a set of books that's not yet complete? Pricey yes, of course; but less than the price of a decent telescope, and arguably much better value. It may not be too late ... Roger Riddington. Thu Sep 01 07:50:00 UTC 2005 British Birds

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Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails. Prólogo sobre nomenclatura ornitológica. Más de 6000 referencias bibliográficas.

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