Series: Princeton Field Guides Series
528 pages, 110 plates with colour illustrations; 1 b/w illustrations, 635 colour distribution maps, 4 colour maps, 1 colour table
This is the completely revised edition of the essential field guide to the birds of New Guinea. The world's largest tropical island, New Guinea boasts a spectacular avifauna characterized by cassowaries, megapodes, pigeons, parrots, cuckoos, kingfishers, and owlet-nightjars, as well as an exceptionally diverse assemblage of songbirds such as the iconic birds of paradise and bowerbirds. Birds of New Guinea is the only guide to cover all 780 bird species reported in the area, including 366 endemics. Expanding its coverage with 111 vibrant color plates – twice as many as the first edition – and the addition of 635 range maps, The Birds of New Guinea also contains updated species accounts with new information about identification, voice, habits, and range. A must-have for everyone from ecotourists to field researchers, Birds of New Guinea remains an indispensable guide to the diverse birds of this remarkable region.
Regarding the geographic scope of the book, the introduction mentions that
"The name New Guinea can cause some confusion. New Guinea is a geographic rather than political term that refers to the main island in the region, herein also abbreviated as NG or referred to as the mainland. The island is not Papua New Guinea (here PNG), which is a country that includes both the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous other islands to the north and east, most of them outside the region covered by this book. The western half of the island of New Guinea comprises the Indonesian provinces of West Papua (Papua Barat) and Papua, collectively once called West Irian or Irian Jaya. (The name Papua was formerly, but separately, also adopted for a portion of Papua New Guinea prior to the independence of that country). To keep things simple, we'll avoid the name Papua and the adjective Papuan when we mean New Guinea or things New Guinean, although this word is conserved for many bird names.
Aside from the main landmass of New Guinea, the New Guinea Region includes numerous islands on the continental shelf or verges thereof: the Raja Ampat Islands, here called the Northwestern Islands; islands of Geelvink (Cenderawasih) Bay, here called the Bay Islands; the Aru Islands to the southwest; the small fringing islands along the North Coast of PNG; and lastly the islands of Milne Bay Province, here called the Southeastern Islands. Politically, the New Guinea Region is made up of two countries, Indonesia in the west, and Papua New Guinea in the east. Thus, it does not include any of the islands in Torres Strait, which belong to Australia."
"[...] As you would expect from a book out of the Princeton University Press stable there is plenty of information in here and the species accounts, in particular, have a good degree of depth to them. Although this is the second edition, the book has been significantly updated – the first edition was published nearly three decades ago and it feels more like a handbook to the birds of the region than a typical field guide [...] All round, this is a solid field guide/handbook and one that does justice to the series."
– Mike Toms, BTO book reviews
"[...] Pratt and Beehler’s impressive book will surely help you to make the most of your visit."
– Vincent Nijman, Ibis 157, 2015
"[...] The first edition contained no range maps and eight of the 55 Plates were in black-and-white. The second edition, as you would expect, is nothing like this – indeed, it is an incredibly good field guide, meeting all the expectations that you might have for a regional bird guide. [...] Anyone who picks up a copy of this wonderful field guide is certain to quickly realize that Birds of New Guinea remains an indispensable field guide to the birds of this extraordinary region. As such, it is a must-have book for anyone interested in the birds of Papua New Guinea, West Papua, or Indonesia."
– Frank Lambert (25-01-2015), read the full review at The Birder's Library
1. Introduction 14
2. How to Use This Book 17
3. New Guinea Natural History 20
4. In the Field in Search of Birds 33
Selected References 36
Web Sources 39
Species Accounts 262
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Thane K. Pratt is wildlife biologist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey's Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center and a conservationist of birds of the tropical Pacific. He is the lead editor of Conservation Biology of Hawaiian Forest Birds.
Bruce M. Beehler is an ornithologist in the Division of Birds at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and a tropical ecologist with interests in the birds and rainforests of the Asia-Pacific region. He is the author of Lost Worlds: Adventures in the Tropical Rainforest.