Albatrosses and Petrels across the World
Albatrosses and Petrels
across the World by Michael de L. Brooke [Illustrated by John Cox] OUP 2004 £85 ISBN 0198501250
This is part of the outstanding Bird Families of the World and not inexpensive at £85. It is written by an acknowledged expert and will no doubt be recognised as the seminal work on Procellariidae as it draws together work from a variety of sources As well as adding much new material. It is well illustrated throughout with line drawings, sketches and photographs and has some excellent colour plates by John Cox many in situ on nesting cliffs etc that give great impressions as well as accurate portraits.
There are some 125 species covered and all the oceans of the world are represented by this most cosmopolitan family. Indeed the author has visited 40 countries in pursuit of his quarry enabling him to give breadth as well as dept to his subject.
In addition to the detailed species accounts there are 10 introductory chapters giving a wonderful overview of the family and of their interactions with the wild world and, less fortunately, the world of man with albatrosses particularly at risk from long-line fishing not just because of high mortality rates but because of their long and slow reproductive cycle.
The species accounts are said
to be the most comprehensive and up to the minute available and are, moreover, accessible to humble birders as well as academic
ornithologists and science based aficionados. So up to the minute that it even includes an account of the recently re-discovered New
For pelagic birders it will be an invaluable resource and a virtually inexhaustible treasure chest of information, for travelling birders the distribution maps give one a far better understanding of how likely [or unlikely] it is that one will meet up with birds which field guides often list despite the rarity of their occurrence in observable waters.
The price is, so far as I can see, the only drawback and will make it more likely to grace library rather than birders` home shelves.
Created: 3rd Sep 2004