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Field Guides & Natural History  Ornithology  Birds of the Americas  Birds of Central & South America

Birds of the West Indies

Field / Identification Guide
By: Guy M Kirwan(Author), Anthony Levesque(Author), Mark W Oberle(Author), Christopher J Sharpe(Author)
400 pages, 1600+ colour illustrations, 650+ colour distribution maps
Publisher: Lynx Edicions
Covering the Caribbean, this richly illustrated book draws on the HBW image bank to provide an up-to-date field guide to 712 bird species.
Birds of the West Indies
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  • Birds of the West Indies ISBN: 9788416728176 Flexibound Jul 2019 In stock
  • Birds of the West Indies ISBN: 9788416728183 Hardback Jul 2019 In stock
Selected version: £44.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Most people associate the Caribbean with palm-fringed sandy beaches, cricket and rum. Mention the West Indies to birders and they think toddies and tremblers, among a remarkable array of c. 190 endemic species. Furthermore, no fewer than six families are confined to the region, and another (spindalises) virtually so. The region also receives many vagrants from both North and South America, and even transatlantic arrivals from Europe. If this was not sufficient enticement, several of the most poorly known and enigmatic birds in the world – including Ivory-billed Woodpecker and Semper's Warbler – as well as others requiring further taxonomic investigation offer additional allure.

- Taxonomy follows the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World.
- Detailed texts covering status, habitat and behaviour, age, sex and geographical variation, voice, and confusion species.
- Over 1600 illustrations covering all species and distinctive subspecies, birds in flight, males and females, juveniles and non-breeding plumages, where appropriate.
- QR code for each species, linking to the Internet Bird Collection gallery of photos, videos and sounds.
- more than 650 full-colour range maps for all species other than vagrants.
- Well-marked subspecies groups receive full accounts, and the distributions of subspecies breeding in the region are clearly mapped.
- 712 species and c. 190 endemics.

Countries and territories covered in this guide:
Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, Cuba, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados, Isla de Aves, Swan Islands, San Andrés, Providencia, and Santa Catalina.

Customer Reviews (1)

  • So many islands ... many birds
    By Keith 28 Oct 2020 Written for Flexibound
    This is the latest offering in the Lynx and BirdLife International Field Guides collection and covers all of the West Indies except Trinidad & Tobago and the Netherlands Antilles. These are excluded because their fauna is more closely linked to the South American continent rather than the remaining 115 or so islands in the West Indies. Following the pattern of previous guides in the series, the book adopts the HBW/BirdLife taxonomy and uses existing illustrations from HBW – several of which have been improved specifically for this volume.

    The West Indies are of great interest to birders for many reasons. Well over 700 species have been recorded here and although around 200 of these are very uncommon migrants or vagrants, around 190 other species are endemic to the region. Most of the countries or significant islands have at least one endemic, but Jamaica tops the list with 32, followed by Cuba on 29. In addition to this, six families are confined to the region. On the negative side, around 60 species have been introduced to the islands over the years and some are flourishing to the cost of native bird species.

    The West Indies have already lost several species to extinction in the last 200 years, and the book features four of these plus two others that may or may not be extinct, namely the Ivory-billed Woodpecker Campephilus principalis and Semper’s Warbler Leucopeza semperi – last seen in Cuba in 1988 and Saint Lucia in 1961.

    Those who use the IOC taxonomy will notice a number of differences affecting both common and/or scientific names but most of these are easily resolved and the book shows alternative names. IOC splits Providencia Vireo Vireo approximans and in this book, it is treated as part of Mangrove Vireo Vireo pallens (rather than Thick-billed Vireo Vireo crassirostris with which it is lumped by Clements). However, IOC fans will find lots of new splits to think about. Examples include Bahama Lizard-cuckoo Coccyzus bahamensis, Bahama Nuthatch Sitta insularis (possibly now extinct as a result of Hurricane Dorian in September 2019), Grand Cayman Bullfinch Pyrrhulagra taylori, Hispaniolan Elaenia Elaenia cherriei, Lesser Antillean Euphonia Euphonia flavifrons, Puerto Rican Euphonia Euphonia sclateri, Puerto Rican Mango Anthracothorax aurulentus and St Vincent Tanager Tangara versicolor.

    An introductory section explains the layout of the book and describes the region. It also suggests 29 locations to go birding across all of the island groups. There is plenty of information to explain how the West Indies ornithology has been discovered over time, and how modern conservationists are trying to keep it safe. There is an appendix of 36 species for which records are unproven or relate to likely escapes.

    The book follows others in the series using texts of around 150 words per species to cover status, habitat and behaviour, age, sex and geographical variation and voice. Over 1600 illustrations by 29 artists cover all of the species and distinctive subspecies, and for some families, birds are shown in flight. Breeding and non-breeding plumages are shown in many cases and a QR code for each species links to the Internet Bird Collection gallery of photos, videos and sounds. There are around 650 full-colour distribution maps for all species other than the rarest vagrants and these have been zoomed in to cover just the islands of interest when appropriate.

    Once again this is a well-designed and fact-filled guide from Lynx. I am sure James Bond would have been impressed.
    3 of 3 found this helpful - Was this helpful to you? Yes No


Guy Kirwan is a freelance editor and ornithologist currently based in the UK but working for Lynx Edicions, following a lengthy sojourn in Brazil. A regular visitor to the West Indies since the mid 1990s, he is currently finalizing a detailed checklist to the birds of Cuba. Author of more than 150 communications in the technical literature, and several previous books, Guy is a Research Associate of the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, and the Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro; his main avian interests are in taxonomy and the breeding biology of passerines in the New World tropics.

Anthony Levesque arrived in Guadeloupe from France in 1998 after studying Wildlife Management and Nature Protection. Following work at a nature reserve and as a wildlife consultant for the National Hunting and Wildlife Agency, he now owns his own environmental consultancy. An active birdwatcher, he has found more than 50 species new to Guadeloupe, among them many not previously recorded in the Lesser Antilles and, in some cases, the Caribbean as a whole. He is also an eBird reviewer for the Lesser Antilles, and the founder of Amazona – the bird conservation NGO in Guadeloupe.

Mark Oberle is Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington. He trained in biology and medicine at Harvard and Johns Hopkins Universities. Mark has worked in biology and ornithology in the American tropics for four decades, and is a founding member of the Washington Ornithological Society. He has published several books, audio CDs, and a smartphone app for birds of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Chris Sharpe is a biologist who has worked on the conservation of Neotropical birds for more than 30 years, having been based for most of that time in Venezuela. He is an editor of HBW Alive and of the Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International Field Guides series.

Field / Identification Guide
By: Guy M Kirwan(Author), Anthony Levesque(Author), Mark W Oberle(Author), Christopher J Sharpe(Author)
400 pages, 1600+ colour illustrations, 650+ colour distribution maps
Publisher: Lynx Edicions
Covering the Caribbean, this richly illustrated book draws on the HBW image bank to provide an up-to-date field guide to 712 bird species.
Media reviews

"[...] For serious birders visiting these islands, Birds of the West Indies will undoubtedly prove to be indispensable, even for visits to single islands in the region. It is compact enough to carry in a small bag, comprehensive in its coverage, easy to use, competently illustrated, and up-to-date. What more could you want?!
– Frank Lambert (23-01-2020), read the full review at The Birder's Library

"[....] despite the niggles on size and cost, given its other advantages over the previous guides, it is an excellent contribution to furthering ornithology in the region and I would highly recommend it if you’re considering a birding trip to the West Indies."
– Hugh Hanmer, BTO book reviews

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