Friday, August 8, 2008

The Auks: Alcidae (Bird Families of the World)

Although now out-of-print, this fascinating account of the biology of the world's auks (or alcids) is part of the authoritative Bird Families of the World series from Oxford University Press. Full of valuable nuggets of information, much coming from years of field research by the authors. The text is rich in useful maps, line drawings and tables of facts and figures. Lewington's color plates are up to his usual high standard and show all of the living species in the majority of plumage states. The discussion of the evolution and radiation of both extant and extinct species of alcids is particularly interesting. The high price and limited treatment of field identification may put off many birders, however, anyone who dips into the book will be surprised at how interesting the auks really are.
Title: The Auks: Alcidae
Authors: Anthony J. Gaston and Ian L. Jones
Illustrator: Ian Lewington
Publication Date: 1998 (UK), 2000 (US)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN-10: 0198540329
ISBN-13: 978-0198540328
Retail Price: Out-of-print. Available from book sellers at ~£70(UK)/~$80(US).

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