Estrildid Finches of the World was written over a period of nine years and is intended for a wide audience, not only bird lovers and bird watchers, but also ornithologists and other scientists. Estrildid finches are among the most fascinating bird families of the Old World with surprising and special characteristics. The family of Estrildidae comprises 34 genera with 145 species and 239 subspecies, each having its own quirks.
All 145 species and their subspecies are described in detail and the unique distribution maps present the spread of all subspecies in different colours. The descriptions of the species are supported by beautiful photographs of the birds in their natural habitats.
These photos represent the work of close to 300 photographers from 40 countries around the world, whose achievements were vitally important to this huge project. Not only did they afford the author permission to use their photos, but they also provided valuable information on the species directly through their first-hand field experience. In fact, some species have never been illustrated photographically before. In addition, the author was very fortunate in that several renowned universities, such as Cambridge and Yale, were extremely helpful.
The reader will also be treated to photos of nestlings at different stages of their development, which were taken by bird breeders so as not to unnecessarily disturb the breeding birds in their natural habitats. Estrildid Finches of the World depicts the largest number of mouth markings ever published, with 111 species being illustrated. Original photos show nestling mimicry of estrildid finches and their parasitic whydahs and indigobirds, making this a fascinating resource for evolutionary biologists.
"[...] Author G J Huisman has invested a phenomenal amount of time (nine years, in fact) in putting this guide together and it really shows, both in the text and the photography. His knowledge and passion for these birds is clearly unparalleled and that has been reflected in an impressively produced tome that biologists and 'recreational' birders alike will find captivating. This isn't a cheap purchase, but one that will undoubtedly provide plenty of hours of fascination for the reader. It comes highly recommended."
– Josh Jones, BirdGuides.com
"One of the pleasures of paging through this fantastic volume is to see the full force of this avian diversity on show."
– Nigel Collar, BirdLife International, from the foreword
"Less obvious to most field observers, however, but beautifully showcased in this book, is the astonishing diversity in estrildid nestlings."
– Gabriel Jamie, Cambridge University and University of Cape Town, from the foreword
"This magnificent book provides an authoritative summary of the state of our knowledge, on which we hope the author, his many colleagues and contributing new estrildid fans inspired by this book, will continue to build."
– Claire Spottiswoode of Cambridge University and University of Cape Town, from the foreword
"I just wanted to say that I am very impressed with your book project and I am honoured to have my photos included. I think the book will be a fantastic resource with all the photos you managed to gather, especially those of nestling mouth markings. I also love the distribution maps showing subspecies ranges."
– Kristof Zyskowski of Yale University, Peabody Museum of Natural History