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Bird: The Definitive Visual Guide [Hardcover]

Birdlife International
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Sep 2007

The beauty and drama of the avian world brought to breathtaking life

From hummingbirds weighing less than a coin to monkey-eating eagles this is a unique celebration of birds, photographed and studied in their natural environments around the world.

Explore the complete bird story: from their origins to bird watching locations, with up-to-date information on flight, anatomy, feeding, communication, breeding, habitat, migrations and life cycles. Spectacular features on the most impressive birds, plus a huge catalogue that profiles nearly fifteen hundred different species makes this is a must-have for every bird enthusiast.

Published with Birdlife International, the world’s leading avian authority.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Dorling Kindersley (6 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405306335
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405306331
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 25.9 x 30.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 734,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Have you ever wondered how feathers grow, or what owls eat? Did you know Aepyornis titan, the extinct "elephant bird" of Madagascar, laid eggs that weighed 26 lbs? In Bird, all things avian are revealed: feathers, food and fossils, along with courtship, nest-building and camouflaging behaviour. In this Who's Who of the bird world, you'll discover which of our feathered friends is fastest, slowest, largest and smallest, and you'll see for yourself how new-born chicks hatch from eggs. Also included are handy pointers for attracting birds and observing some of the 600 species found solely in Europe. With superb colour photographs and eye-catching text, this highly informative guide will turn an inquisitive child into a knowledgable ornithologist in no time. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

BirdLife international is a global partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats, and global biodiversity. BirdLife’s partners operate in more than 100 countries and have more than 2,500,000 members.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Dorling Kindersley have become well known for producing clear, visually oriented reference books for adults and children. They had previously published a score of smaller volumes on the subject of birds, but nothing quite like this: a definitive guide, as they claim. The book is best described as an encyclopaedia of birds. Measuring 30 x 25 cm and weighing over 2kg, it has the heft of an encyclopaedia and certainly isn't a field guide. At the same time it is an avian art gallery that exhibits some of the most exciting photographs of the world's most wonderful birds.

The book is split into three parts. The 44 page introduction discusses physiology, flight, behaviour, conservation and more. It is nicely concise, making use of numerous photographs and diagrams to explain what birds are. The second, 28-page section explores habitats in the same way. This leaves the lion's share - some 390 pages - for the systematic accounts, which cover all bird families and a selection of over 1,200 species. There is an introductory section for each taxonomic group - species are grouped by Order in the case of Non-passerines and Family for the Passerines. The majority of species are illustrated by a photograph in addition to range map with a short text on the salient features of the bird.

In the US edition (ISBN 075663153X - also available on Amazon), produced in collaboration with Audubon, a CD is included. Prepared by Cornell's Macauley Library of Natural Sounds, it is a delightful audio sample of vocalisations from 60 species from around the world.

This is just the sort of book that would have engrossed me for hours as a child. I remember spending many a happy evening poring over my Mitchell Beazley World Atlas of Birds, which would have been the nearest equivalent back then.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive photographic guide 20 Nov 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have been waiting a very long time for a book like this to be published.
I have a passion for wildlife and, with mammal books a-plenty on the market, praised the day when I saw this book advertised.

As you would expect from DK/Audobon, the layout of this visual feast is excellent and is well-written. The photographs are breathtaking, including some fabulous double-page features. The audio CD contains 60 bird calls and songs from around the world (nearly an hour's worth) - fantastic!!

The only criticism I have is of the main publishers, Penguin. Only the US version has the audio CD of bird calls and songs, and I had to wait until Amazon had it for sale. Why should this be the case?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars birds 8 Nov 2009
By geordie
Best bird book i own . The book is really published in a very expert way. The photos. are outstanding. Perfect xmas gift.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bird 6 Aug 2009
With a title like this it is tempting to think "who are you trying to kid?", but in fact this is the latest in a whole series of well-illustrated DK books with ambitious titles such as "Earth", "Universe", "History", "Human" and of course the best-selling title "Animal - the definitive visual guide". Having been a contributing author on the bird section of the latter book I was intrigued to see how DK handled the entire bird world in one volume.

Anyone who has bought a DK title before will know that they pack in masses of illustrations, with concise but useful facts backed up with short chapters on wider subjects. Everything is always very busy with fact boxes and tables, while photographs may be small or covering half a page or more, perhaps overlapping the text or completely cut out. Everything is incredibly busy-looking, but that is what many people want today - particularly those of school age.

With Birdlife International taking care of the species texts and the National Audubon Society being a consultant on the book's creation, there has clearly been plenty of input from "those in the know", which is always a welcome relief. Indeed a cast of eleven well-known birders wrote the various family chapters, and although I have some criticisms I think they did an admirable job.

The first 40 pages are used to describe a wide range of issues such as anatomy, flight, diet, behaviour, and breeding. Another 28 pages describe the many habitats that birds use. The next 400 pages are the main feature - a selection of the world's species in greater detail.

So how did they tackle fitting nearly 10,000 species into 510 pages? The book follows Howard and Moore's list, and then a sample of each of the 204 families are examined.
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