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From blackbirds and orioles to meadowlarks, grackles, and cowbirds, the variety and variation shown by members of the family Icteridae is legendary. The family exhibits great diversity in size and coloration, mating and nest building, and habits and habitats. This group of 94 New World species once known as the troupials is well represented in backyards across America; yet most icterids are tropical or semi-tropical species that remain largely unstudied.
The least known of these species are perhaps best known to Alexander Skutch, who has studied birds in a Costa Rican tropical valley for more than half a century. In this fascinating book – the first devoted exclusively to the icterids – he combines his own observations with those of other naturalists to provide a comparative natural history and biology of this remarkable family of birds. Devoting a separate chapter to each major group or genus, he delineates the outstanding characteristics of each and includes observations of little-studied tropical species such as caciques and oropendolas.
Orioles, Blackbirds, and Their Kin is an eminently readable natural history in the classic style. Enhanced by 31 scratchboard illustrations, Orioles, Blackbirds, & Their Kin will delight nature enthusiasts everywhere with its fascinating exposition of avian diversity. Because so much of the published information on the icterids is widely scattered, Skutch's painstaking compilation has created a valuable reference work that will provide students and researchers with a wealth of new insights into the tropical members of this New World family.