SLATER, P. (1972)

A Field Guide to Australian Birds.

Vol. 1: Non-Passerines.

428 Seiten, davon 64 Farbtafeln, einige s/w-Abbilungen, Verbreitugskarten.
Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh. ISBN 0-05-002357-8.

Review by Arnold McGill:

Except for Cayley’s What Bird is That? there has been no readily available publication in which all Australian species are illustrated. Mr P. Slater is now filling a great need. The first part of his work is available and the second will, it is understood, soon be completed. A Field Guide to Australian Birds has a much wider scope than Cayley’s book. Apart from the continent and Tasmania it covers the political dependencies Norfolk, Lord Howe, Macquarie, Heard, Christmas and Cocos-Keeling Islands. This is commendable; for, often these outposts of the Commonwealth have been sadly neglected ornithologically and for the first time a fully illustrated guide is available, reasonably priced, covering the whole area except the New Guinea region. It is therefore interesting to see included in an Australian book such species as the Ruddy Crake (Christmas Island), Woodhen (Lord Howe), Weka (Macquarie) and even a new family (Sheathbills), which occurs on Heard Island.

The illustrations throughout are ample and appear well-executed. Of special significance are the outlines of bills of the Procellariiformes, drawn to actual size, thus providing for a direct check with any specimen examined in the hand or found as a beach derelict. Patterns of flight, especially of seabirds, hawks, terns and waders, are also depicted carefully. Allowing for difficulties in reproducing exact colour, the appearance and shades of species are most pleasing. The size of bill of the Red-necked Stint (p.279) is far too long, but care in such matters is widely apparent. Because there might be some confusion in identifying swallows and swifts, the former family has been added after the Coraciidae. The second part of this publication will be as eagerly awaited as was the first. The whole will be a notable contribution to the ornithology of Australia and a very helpful guide to every field-worker.



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