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Here in one volume is a synopsis of the diversity of all birds. Published between the two volumes of the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, Bird Families of the World distills the voluminous detail of the 17-volume Handbook of Birds of the World into a single book. Based on the latest systematic research and summarizing what is known about the life history and biology of each group, this volume will be the best single-volume entry to avian diversity available. Whether you are a birder with an interest in global bird diversity, or a professional ornithologist wishing to update and fill-in your comprehensive knowledge of avian diversity, this volume will be a valuable addition to your library.
An interest in birds is a life-enriching pursuit; the sheer diversity of birds means there are always stunning new species to see and novel facets of their lives to explore. Yet the grand diversity of birds is also a challenge, as it is easy to become disoriented amidst a group that contains more than 10,000 species that vary in nearly all of their most conspicuous attributes. Learning avian diversity requires a mental map to help us organize our experiences and observations. The scientific classification of birds provides exactly this framework, grouping together into Orders and Families birds that are most closely related to one another, and thereby linking species that share distinguishing traits. For those interested in learning about the tremendous diversity of birds world-wide, the best way to start is to learn the families, and Bird Families of the World is a guide and invitation to do so.
This book has been designed to serve both as a text for ornithology courses and as a resource for serious bird enthusiasts of all levels. Technical terminology is much reduced, and all scientific terms used are defined in a glossary. Introductory material describes the scope and concepts behind the classification used and gives suggestions about how best to use the book. The bulk of Bird Families of the World is a family-by-family account of the birds of the world. Each family is represented by at least a two-page spread, including a distributional map with the breeding, non-breeding and year-round ranges of each family, a short text "teaser" to invite the reader to learn more, standardized descriptions of the appearance, relationships and similar species to each family's members, their life history and conservation status. Each account includes a review of recent ideas about the relationships of the family to other families and relationships within it. The work is liberally illustrated by photographs from bird enthusiasts around the globe as well as paintings of one species from each of the genera in each family. It will be a beautiful and serviceable guide.
"[...] this substantial body of work brings together core information for all the world's bird families, and is the most up-to-date overview of its subject matter to date. It also neatly complements the first volume of Lynx's Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World"
– Dominic Mitchell, 28th May 2016, Birdwatch 287
"The taxonomy of birds being constantly in flux, there is never the perfect time to commit an overview to print. This volume, however, is an impeccable exposition of the state of play. [...] The subtitle invites us to the spectacular diversity of birds. The book being so splendidly illustrated, it does indeed provide spectacle on every page and can thoroughly be recommended as an introduction to the world of birds. Some readers might be frustrated, though, by the lack of information at species level that can be found in most other books about birds. Text at family level suits a more refined palate but will appeal to the more knowledgeable world birder and provide authoritative reference for students of ornithology, phylogeny and evolution."
– John Marchant, BTO book reviews
"[...] Bird Families of the World has been designed to serve both as a resource for serious bird enthusiasts of all levels and a text for ornithology courses. Whether you are a birder with an interest in global bird diversity, a professional ornithologist wishing to update and fill-in your comprehensive knowledge of avian diversity, or a lister trying to see representatives of all the world’s bird families, this volume will be a valuable addition to your library."
– Frank Lambert (05-03-2016), read the full review at The Birder's Library