The World's Rarest Birds

& others. Princeton Univ. (WildGuides). 2013. 352p. illus. maps. index. ISBN 9780691155968. $45. NAT HIST
OrangeReviewStarOrnithologist Hirschfeld, zoologist and editor Andy Swash, and naturalist Robert Sill collaborated with scientists and photographers on this book, which provides 2012 data on population, distribution, and threats to survival of several hundred bird species, using the Red List of Bird Life International and the International Union of Conservations of Nature as their authorized sources. More than 977 color photos come from winners of a contest to secure these images, showing shots of all but 75 of the 650 endangered, critically endangered, and data-deficient bird species included. The other birds, of which there are no known photographs, are represented by illustrations. After chapters outlining the threats facing birds, the distribution of endangered birds, and definitions of threat categories, the book is divided by region, each section containing information on the threatened birds there, including common and scientific names, threat level (endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild), estimated population, threats endangering this species (agriculture, water use, pollution), a photo or illustration, distribution map, and a QR code linking to BirdLife International's regularly updated information on the species' status.
VERDICT Essential for birders, both armchair and actual, and readers in ecology and conservation. The scope, depth and organization is exemplary. The links to regularly updated information through the QR codes means the book's value will continue.
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