The Bottom Line
Amazingly detailed, durably bound and comprehensive for a continent, Birds of Australia: Eighth Edition is an excellent field guide for both resident birders and visitors to avian-rich Australia. Both novice and experienced birders will appreciate the extensive information that makes this guide invaluable in the field as well as in a birder's reference library.
- Plastic cover and glossy pages are extremely durable.
- Convenient size for field use.
- Extensive detail in an condensed, accessible format.
- Some plates overcrowded with multiple species and poses.
- Lacks consistent pointers for highlighting field marks.
- All species information is not found on the same page.
- Title: Birds of Australia: Eighth Edition
- Authors: Ken Simpson and Nicolas Day
- Publisher: Princeton University Press
- Publication Date: August 25, 2010
- Format: Softcover
- Bird Artwork: Illustrations
- Dimensions: 8.75" (22.2 cm) tall, 6.35" (15.9 cm) wide, 1" (2.5 cm) thick
- Page Count: 392
- ISBN: 978-0-691-14692-8
- Price: $39.50
Guide Review - Birds of Australia: Eighth Edition
Birds of Australia: Eighth Edition will startle any birder with its amazing detail and comprehensive information, and the more birders use this book the more valuable they will find it to be. The 20-page introduction is highly visual and easy to scan, including information on how to best use the book, keys to bird families and abbreviations, tips for bird observations, bird topography and more. Additional information in appendices includes nesting calendars for bird species, extensive habitat discussion, checklists, a birding glossary and tips for birding.
The bird plates are stunningly colorful and beautifully reflect the amazing variety of bird life in Australia. Plates are well detailed and while not all field marks are highlighted, the characteristic poses help birders get a sense of how they would see the birds in the field. Multiple plumages and genders are illustrated where necessary, including information on subspecies, and flight poses are included for many, but not all, birds. In cases where many birds are similar, pages can be crowded with multiple views.
All bird illustrations are on right-hand pages and the accompanying text is on the left. The text includes notes on behavior, voice and habitat, along with thumbnail range maps and drawings of different postures, pattern variations and other details that can make identification easier. Abbreviations cover species' abundance, endemic status and migration type.
Vagrant birds regularly reported in Australia are included toward the end of the book and while they lack as many details as full species accounts, there is sufficient detail for identification if necessary. Dual indexes are organized first by scientific names, then by common names.
Packed with detail, color and useful information, Birds of Australia: Eighth Edition is an outstanding field guide that can be a pleasure to use in the field as well as a joy to peruse no matter how far from Australia you might be birding.