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Please note that this is a reprint of the 1995 edition without new information.
Buntings and North American sparrows offer a great identification challenge. Many of the long distance migrants are notable wanderers, with a strong tendency to vagrancy, while others are rare and local. Some of the Asian buntings and tropical sparrows are still poorly known, and the skulking habits of some species add to the challenge. Most male buntings acquire a bright plumage, but the American sparrows acquire this exceptionally, rather than as the rule. Many sparrows and female buntings appear to be rather dull brown birds, but a closer look will reveal intricate and often quite beautiful plumage; with these birds, the field marks that will enable positive identification are to be found in minute feather detail.
Buntings and Sparrows is the first comprehensive guide to all the Old World buntings and North American sparrows. It includes 39 plates in full colour depicting all the species and distinct races. In the systematic section each species account is divided into sections: the identification section summarises important field marks; the description section details plumage and bare part characteristics for all ages and sexes; geographical variation covers taxonomy, and other sections give detailed measurements, descriptions of moult and ageing, habits, voice, status and habitat, distribution and movements, and references. A range map is included for each species. This beautifully presented book will for many years to come help solve the identification problems posed by a delightful and sought-after family of birds.
Clive Byers is a professional birder and bird illustrator who made his first sketches in a field notebook at the age of 11. His enthusiasm has led him in pursuit of birds throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. He illustrated A Guide to the Warblers of the Western Palearctic and has contributed illustrations to a number of journals and books.
Urban Olsson's extensive travels in the northern hemisphere in search of birds have resulted in the discovery of several previously undescribed or unrecognised species, and several identi-fication and taxonomic papers. He is a member of the Swedish Rarities Committee and co-founder of Regulus Travel. Currently, he is working on a doctoral thesis on avian systematics at the University of Gothenburg. He lives in Gothenburg, with his wife and their two young children.
Jon Curson is co-author of the definitive and widely acclaimed New World Warblers. He has spent much of the last 10 years studying birds at obser-vatories and in the field in North America, and has made several long research trips to Mexico and the tropics. He has contributed several papers on American warblers to various ornithological journals and is a committee member of the Neotropical Bird Club.