The World of Birds

By Jonathan Elphick with illustrations by David Tipling | 608 pages | 1000+ colour photos and colour & black & white illustrations | London Natural History Museum | August 2014 | ISBN: 9780565092375

Publisher’s Description: The World of Birds is a groundbreaking guide to every aspect of bird life and a complete survey of the world’s orders and families of birds. Written by eminent natural history expert Jonathan Elphick and with special photography from award-winning wildlife photographer David Tipling, it is the ultimate companion for birders, wildlife enthusiasts and anyone wanting an accessible and accurate account of these amazing creatures.

The World of Birds begins by examining the evolution of birds since the age of the dinosaurs. It then explores in greater detail each of the significant elements of bird life: bird biology including anatomy, physiology, the brain and senses, plumage, calls and songs; flight techniques and styles; food and feeding; bird lifestyles and social relationships; breeding, growth and development; bird geography and habitats; and migration.

The second part of The World of Birds provides a comprehensive survey of the world’s birds which includes an introduction to the 32 orders and a detailed account and concise fact panel for every one of the 196 families. A glossary, further reading list and two indexes ensure easy reference. With its clear, lively text and fact boxes, and sumptuous illustrations throughout – over 1,000 photographs, maps and diagrams – The World of Birds is a book everyone interested in birds should own.

Author: Jonathan Elphick, BSc, FZS, FLS, is a highly regarded wildlife writer, editor, consultant, lecturer and broadcaster, specializing in ornithology. During a career spanning over 40 years, he has worked on many books, including spending twelve years as specialist researcher on Birds Britannica and Birds & People. He has also written a variety of titles, such as the bestseller Birdsong, Birds: The Art of Ornithology and the award-winning Birdwatcher’s Handbook, and was a contributing editor on Natural History Museum Atlas of Bird Migration.

Illustrator: David Tipling has worked as a freelance wildlife photographer since 1992. He is one of the most widely published wildlife photographers in the world and his pictures have been used on hundreds of book and magazine covers, and regularly on TV. He has written and been the commissioned photographer for more than 40 books on birds and wildlife photography that include the best selling RSPB Guide to Digital Wildlife Photography. He has received the European Nature Photographer of the Year Documentary Award for his work, and has multiple wins in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

Fatbirder View: With such a team behind it one would expect nothing less than excellence… and you will not be disappointed. This weighty tome is light of touch and very accessible despite its scientific rigour. This is no bedtime read but a terrific reference, which any swot or boffin teenager will be delighted to have to refer to and is a great starting point to understanding the whole zoological order and families. That seems very up to date too with all the latest IOC re-ordering.

Mention must be made of the illustrations too which range from good to superb.

All in all this is a bit of an all things to all birders type of book but is in the tradition of Birds Britannica and Birds & People. To be trusted and admired. Well done both author and illustrator.

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