Birds of Australia: A Photographic Guide by Iain Campbell | Sam Woods |Nick Leseberg | Geoff Jones (Illustrator) | Paperback | November 2014 | Princeton University Press | ISBN: 9780691157276

The Publisher’s View: 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.

The Author: Iain Campbell, a native of Australia, is builder of the Tandayapa Bird Lodge in Ecuador and cofounder of Tropical Birding, which leads bird and wildlife tours around the world.

Sam Woods and Nick Leseberg are nature guides for Tropical Birding. Campbell and Woods are the authors of Wildlife of Australia.

Fatbirder View: I was going to say nothing, or at least remind my followers of my prejudice against photographic fieldguides. Perhaps I would have said this adds nothing to the already crowded Australian fieldguide canon. The truth is the pictures are not remarkable, how can they be when each is so small. You can detect that some would be fine stand-alone photos and others would be competent and others still, well, not much cop really. But the truth is its worse than that. They are misleading. When an artist creates a plate of certain species he or she will create them to scale and so the plate will show relative size. Stick a lot of photos together and you get total distortion so a page or pigeons shows Diamond Dove (7.5-9 inches) larger than the Crested Pigeon (12-14 inches). You cannot compare like with like as all the birds are, naturally enough, shown in different poses. Some birds are sat others in flight and so on.

I think, if I wanted to showcase some of the wonderful Australian bird photographers (a couple of whom regularly appear on Fatbirder) then I might attempt a book on a bird family or two with the best photos displayed on a page of its own and make sure the printing processes did not detract from that excellence.

You pay your money so you make the choice, its not one for me.


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