Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan
By Raffael Ayé, Manuel Schweizer & Tobias Roth with contributions from Arend Wassink, illustrated by Dave Nurney , Per Alström, Adam Bowley, Carl D’Silva, Kim Franklin, John Gale, Alan Harris, Ren Hathway, Christopher Schmidt, Brian Small, Jan Wilczur, Tim Worfolk & MartWoodcock | Christopher Helm | Paperback | Oct 2012 | ISBN: 9780713670387 | 336 pages | 141 plates with colour illustrations | 14 colour photos | 5 black & white illustrations | 3 colour maps | colour distribution maps

The Publisher’s View: Birds of Central Asia is the first field guide to include the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, along with neighbouring Afghanistan. This vast area includes a diverse variety of habitats, and the avifauna is similarly broad, from sandgrouse, ground jays and larks on the vast steppe and semi-desert to a broad range of raptors, and from woodland species such as warblers and nuthatches to a suite of montane species, such as snowcocks, accentors and snowfinches. Birds of Central Asia includes 141 high-quality plates covering every species (and all distinctive races) that occur in the region, along with concise text focusing on identification and accurate colour maps. Important introductory sections introduce the land and its birds. Birds of Central Asia is a must-read for any birder or traveller visting this remote region.The Authors: Manuel Schweizer, Raffael Ayé, and Tobias Roth are a trio of ornithologists from Switzerland, based at the University of Berne. They are experts on the birds of Central Asia, with considerable experience in the field. Among their many achievements was the discovery of the breeding grounds of large-billed reed warblers in Tajikistan.Fatbirder View: I’ve not a great deal to add this is a good standard fieldguide that bridges a gap… I’d love to see the birds but am not attracted by the countries themselves. Everything is there that you would want and of a high standard. My one gripe are some of the illustrations. Many, for example the waders, are terrific… the very highest standard as they show the bird both as one perceives them AND in a way that aids ID. However, others are not so good to my eye… particularly some of the passerines that appear ‘lumpy’ and many rather dark. It could be that some of the pipits look different in the light of an open plain but surely not as different as some of those illustrations. I understand why a publisher will pull together many illustrators but when they form the final portmanteau they should have some stylistic similarity and yet, in this case, they do not. Having said that, this guide will certainly be first choice for anyone visiting these central Asian republics.


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