Famous for their size and elegance in flight, albatrosses are familiar to anyone who has travelled through the southern oceans, and are a flagship family of conservation concern. However, albatrosses are just one of several groups of 'pelagic' birds - those that visit land only to breed, and spend the rest of their lives far from the coast, soaring from ocean to ocean in a never-ending search for food. Mysterious and graceful, these birds can present a formidable identification challenge to even the most experienced birder. This book provides the answer - the first comprehensive guide to pelagic birds, the albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters, storm-petrels and diving petrels.
A total of 46 spectacular colour plates highlight key ID criteria of the birds in flight, with close-ups of diagnostic regions of the plumage. The plates are accompanied by accurate distribution maps, while the sparkling text brings the world of these amazing birds to life. Several extremely rare species, such as Beck's Petrel, are illustrated for the first time, while the New Zealand Storm-petrel, rediscovered as recently as 2004, is also included.
Sea-watchers all around the world will find this superb field guide indispensable.
"A well-crafted and useful field guide that pays fine tribute to a really fabulous group of birds."
- Birdwatch (June 2007)
"An excellent addition to the field guide series."
- BTO News (May-June 2007)
"Whether you are a travelling birder seeking new ticks around the globe or a local birdwatcher keen to get to grips with the occasional petrel or shearwater seen offshore in British waters this great value book comes highly recommended."
- Morecambe Visitor (July 2007)
"This book is an absolute "must buy" for seabirders."
- British Birds (August 2007)
"[...] This group of birds presents some difficult ID problems, and therefore any helpful resource is very welcome. I know that I will be studying this guide before any future boat trips. In addition, it seems that these birds are prone to vagrancy and that the distribution for some is still a work in progress. Thus it is extremely helpful to have a current, comprehensive guide to the entire group. Pelagic warriors will undoubtedly want a copy of this guide. But for those who only go on an occasional pelagic trip it is a more difficult decision. If you will be taking a trip through a region where the local field guide covers these birds adequately, then you can probably do without this specialized guide. [...] But if the regional field guide isn’t sufficient, or if you want to be prepared for anything, then this guide is recommended."
- Grant McCreary (15-05-2007), read the full review at The Birder's Library
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Paul Scofield is the Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at Canterbury Museum, New Zealand. He has been a seabird biologist for over 20 years and has travelled from the high Arctic to the Antarctic studying them. Also based in New Zealand, Derek Onley is a wildlife artist of international acclaim. Specialising in seabirds, Derek has illustrated more than a dozen books and numerous other publications.