Thursday, April 11, 2013

Book Review: The World's Rarest Birds

Rob writes: As birders, we all know that there are many species that are in serious decline. The World's Rarest Birds provides an in-depth look at the four extinct in the wild species, 197 critically endangered, 389 endangered, and 60 species that are so poorly known that they are considered Data Deficient.

The idea behind the book is very unique. The authors held an international photo contest for the rarest birds in the world with the winning images being featured in the book. In addition to the winners, 800 other images are shown. If an image could not be obtained for some of the birds are that rare or maybe even extinct, an artist created beautifully done illustrations.

This book is absolutely fascinating from start to finish. The introductory chapter contains a wealth of information about many aspects of these rare birds and manages to do it in an extremely interesting and visually pleasing way. The page shown in the first image below is a great example of the type of information that you will find in the introduction.

The main body of the book is broken down by continent. Each section has a short introduction with fantastic information. The Hawai'i and Polynesia & Micronesia pages below are examples of one of the features included in each section, "Threatened Bird Hotspot". These features highlight some of the most important spots for conserving the world's rarest birds. After having experienced Hawai'i first hand in February, I can tell you that these sections really highlight the critical issues!

The image directly above shows what the bulk of the pages in this book look like. Each page features four birds and includes a picture, small range map, the estimated population of the species, the key threats to its survival, some additional information about the species, and a QR code that you can scan with your smartphone to find more information about each species on the BirdLife International website.

Critically Endangered Category - 1ST PRIZE White-bellied Cinclodes (Copyright Dubi Shapiro)

This book is a reminder of all of the beautiful species that are in serious danger of going extinct and will hopefully lead people to develop a strong desire to prevent this from happening. It's incredibly well laid out and really brings each species to life. This book is a must have for all bird lovers!

Title: The World's Rarest Birds
Authors: Erik Hirschfeld, Andy Swash, & Robert Still
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: April 3, 2013
Official Website:

We received a copy of this book from the publisher to review on The links are to our Amazon Affiliate account.

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