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By Peter Holden & Stuart Housden | Illustrated by: Hilary Burn, Martin Elliott, Alan Harris, Peter Hayman, Laurel Tucker & Dan Zetterström | Christopher Helm | Paperback | May 2016 | Edition: 2 | 256 Pages | 1000 Colour Illustrations | Colour Distribution Maps | ISBN: 9781472927286

The Publisher’s View: This is a fully updated second edition of 2009’s well reviewed RSPB Handbook of Scottish Birds detailing Scotland’s rich birdlife. Over 250 species are covered in detail with one page per species, including Gaelic names newly added for this edition. The detailed distribution maps have been fully updated and show when birds are breeding, wintering or on migration. More than a thousand superb colour illustrations by some of the world’s leading bird artists have been integrated into the text for easy reference at home or in the field. Each detailed species account includes information on identification, voice, habits, habitat, food, breeding ecology, seasonal movements, population and conservation.

Other Views: “The RSPB Handbook of Scottish Birds fully justifies its existence by virtue of the comprehensive coverage given to each species.”– Birdwatching

“A must-have book for anyone interested in birds, beginner or otherwise.” – Highland News

“Contains much basic information in concise and conveniently accessible form, and it will fit in an OS map-sized pocket.” – Scottish Birds

“It is difficult to imagine a better introduction to the birds of Scotland.” – British Ornithologists’ Union

The Authors: Peter Holden worked for the RSPB for more than 30 years and is the author of several books including the bestselling RSPB Handbook of British Birds and the RSPB Handbook of Garden Wildlife.Stuart Housden is the Director of RSPB Scotland.

Fatbirder View:The other day on my local birding Facebook page there was a discussion about ID following a newbie asking for help. One of the points made was that Collins Fieldguide which is something of a birding bible for European birders was, while undoubtedly the best, likely to confuse new birders. The birder made the point that it makes no sense for a new birder to be drawn into trying to find which of five or six hundred species he or she is looking at, and that it would be far better if they were looking for it among the two hundred and fifty or so birds one is likely to see without chasing rarities or going to some tiny enclaves.

A well-made point that perfectly illustrates the need for this book. It is outstanding in its own right in terms of the information, illustrations and distribution maps, but more to the point it should be more than adequate for the new Scottish birder, generalist wildlife lovers and visitors to Scotland.

Scotland’s birds are often found in scattered locations in their own environmental niche whether it be the highland specialists, the flow country breeders or some of those only found on outlying island groups.

Small ‘though they are the distribution maps are detailed and comparing them with a larger topography map should soon show where the divisions lie.

Moreover, this is a great pocket sized addition to the British birding canon but I still hope the publishers are considering an app based on it.

Buy this book from NHBS Fatbirder