A few years ago—at the urging of some RainyDayScience readers—we took a look at Vol.16 of the Handbook of Birds of the World (HBW). We were immediately blown away by the breadth and quality of the tome, and have been fans of Lynx Edicions publications since.
The publisher of the 17-volume Handbook of Birds of the World is Lynx Editions. Their goal in providing the encyclopedic 17-volume set is to detail and illustrate every species of bird in the world. Begun in 1992, this worthy goal has taken more than 12,000 pages (and close to two decades) to complete. It is the definitive work in the field.
Bird Families of the World
Lynx’s new publication, Bird Families of the World, is a distillation of the Handbook and provides a synopsis of the diversity of all known birds, packaged into a single book.
Whether you are a professional ornithologist, a serious amateur, or just a weekend birder, this book will be a valuable addition to your library.
The book contains:
- 243 distribution maps
- 750 color photos
- 2,336 bird figures
- 600 pages (but weighs much less than the 400+ pounds of the 17-volume set!)
This book has been designed to serve both as an academic text for ornithology courses as well as a ready reference for all birders.
The material is written in a way that makes it accessible to enthusiast of all levels. Any scientific terms used are defined in the glossary.
The introductory material describes the scope, concepts, and reasoning behind the classifications used and gives suggestions on how to get the most out of the book. The focus of the content is a family-by-family account of the known birds of the world.
For each family there is:
- a distribution map with the breeding, non-breeding and year-round ranges of each family,
- a short “teaser” to invite the reader to learn more,
- standardized descriptions of the appearance, relationships and similar species to each family’s members,
- their life history, and
- their conservation status.
It is a helpful and relevant way to see the connections among the branches of the vast avian tree.
Each entry includes a summary of recent ideas and understanding about the relationships of the family to other families, and the relationships within the family itself.
The book is liberally illustrated by photographs from bird enthusiasts around the world, along with paintings of one species from each of the genera in each family.
Spring can’t come quickly enough. We are looking forward to breaking out the Fujinon binoculars and seeing all the activities in the RainyDayGarden.
We are happy to have added this volume to our library and are certain that we’ll be using it extensively, both to increase our appreciation of our local feathered friends and to understand their more distanced relatives.
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