Please note (August 2014): With the publication of volume 8 in 2013, Christopher Helm initially announced it would be reprinting The Birds of Africa, Volume 5: Thrushes to Puffback Flycatchers (originally published in 1997) without modifications and release it as part of an 8-volume set. We have received confirmation from the publisher however that these plans have been abandoned and that both these reprints and the 8-volume set have been cancelled.
The Birds of Africa, Volume 5: Thrushes to Puffback Flycatchers deals with the passerines of the continent, covering the thrushes; Old World warblers; Old World flycatchers; monarch flycatchers; wattle-eyes; and puffback flycatchers. Each species account covers range and status, description, voice, general habits, food and breeding biology. Breeding species are covered in detail, non-breeding migrants more briefly, with emphasis on their status and behaviour whilst in Africa. Each species is fully illustrated in colour. Also includes full bibliographies, acoustic references and indexes of English, French and scientific names.
"It is impossible to not be impressed by the spacious design and almost opulent feel to this tome. All paintings are by Martin Woodcock: a stunning achievement, with 312 species illustrated by 676 portraits on 32 plates. The texts are comprehensive, but not overpowering. It is providing us with one of the great sets of reference handbooks devoted to a single continent. This is an essential purchase for every serious ornithological library. With the recently formed and thriving African Bird Club, there will also be many birdwatchers who will want to own their personal set of volumes."
- R. Sharrock
"An extremely useful series of maps at the beginning showing the location of over 350 localities referred to in the text. The largely excellent artwork still makes this book a joy to leaf through. This series is everything a handbook should be: full of concise, mouth-watering plates that just make you want to get out there. Expensive? Of course. Value for money? Definitely. Got to have? Absolutely."
"More than any other volume, this book opened up for me a new world of African ornithology. The end of a wonderful and lasting project is now in sight."
– Alan Kemp, Ostrich
"Without a doubt, [this book] has been worth the wait. In covering ground thrushes through to batises, it treats some of the most difficult groups of birds to identify in Africa – notably the cisticolas and the batises [...] The plates are generally of a high standard and they continue to improve as the series progresses. The plates are the most comprehensive set of cisticola illustrations ever published and include the previously unillustrated Dorst's Cisticola. This volume is an essential purchase for the keen African birder."
- Birding World
"The effort expended has been enormous and remarkably successful considering the immensity of the project. The Birds of Africa is indispensable for anyone with serious interest in African ornithology."
– Dale A. Zimmeran, Auk
"A magnificent achievement: the sheer depth and compass are breathtaking."
– Leon Bennun, Ibis
"One of the best handbooks that I have seen and a joy to use; this volume in particular is a magnificent work."
– David Emley, British Ecological Society Bulletin
"When one thinks of the sheer enormity of the project, the beauty and accuracy of the result earns this [...] unusually high marks. In every way [the] work complements the diverse and fascinating panorama of African birds"
– Larry Schwab, Wilson Bulletin