Geoffrey Davison's revision of this classic handbook fully lives up to the high standards set by the late Bertram Smythies. Much new information on the Bornean avifauna and its habitats has come to light since The Birds of Borneo's last revision in 1981. This new fourth edition acknowledges and incorporates our expanding knowledge of the country's birds.
In addition to revision of the text and the plates there are special new chapters by Tom Harrisson, the Earl of Cranbrook, Lim Chan Koon and J.D.Freeman on the Borneo environment for birds, migration, conservation, and cave swiftlets, and re-introduces from the first edition those classic chapters on birds and man, bird augury and the Iban hornbill ritual.
Since the first edition the total number of birds recorded from Borneo has risen from 554 to 622. The additions include ten species newly recognised as endemic to Borneo, through the re-definition of species limits; eight newly resident either by introduction or colonisation; and an additional 50 migrants and vagrants. This swift and continuing growth of information is due to many factors-a change in methods of study, the rise of local scientific institutions, and the protection of a network of managed areas where birds and their habitats are conserved. Severe new challenges have arisen, such as fire, drought and forest loss, and this new edition sets the avian scene for the massive changes likely to occur in Borneo over the next few decades. The new edition contains 57 plates, including the 45 colour and 4 monochrome plates from the first edition, and eight newly constructed plates reproduced direct from paintings by A.M. Hughes showing a further selection of birds that occur in Borneo. Together, these plates illustrate 394 of the 622 species on the Borneo list. The plates have been greatly enhanced in quality compared with those from earlier editions. Also included are colour maps of Borneo showing geology and forest cover. Surviving forest cover is intimately connected with species conservation, as reviewed in the introductory chapters. The species texts have been expanded with recent information about behaviour, occurrence, habitat and nesting, gleaned from the great array of recent literature as well as birdwatchers' field observations. The Birds of Borneo is completed by an update of the history of Borneo ornithology up to the present day, and a summary table showing the distribution of species in each of the political divisions and island groups around Borneo.