Long needed, a well written and well organised field guide to the birds of the Philippines is finally available. The 72 color plates illustrate all the species of the islands. A nice color distribution map and a short summary of status and occurance, along with identification information is opposite each image.
The book follows the current trend in bird guides of using more than one illustrator. The result, though well done in some other books, often results in a clash of styles, and worse, inconsistancy. This book is illustrated by twelve artists and suffers a little from the latter. The work here is uneven, some of the illustrators being better at capturing the look of the birds than others. And so we have a fair number of illustrations here that betray a lack of knowledge of the form of birds that really shouldn't be in a modern field guide. Not with the high standards achieved in other works, which this book otherwise seems to meet.
The proportions, build, and "facial expression" are not correctly drawn for many species. Experienced birders will have fewer problems translating what they are seeing in their binoculars to what is on the color plate. But beginners and more casual observers may encounter some frustration. For example, the figure of the Citrine Flycatcher on plate 62 resembles the bird only in general color pattern. This species usually appears brighter, and you would not be far wrong if your impression on seeing it, is of an all yellow bird. Also, given the head size, the body should be shown slightly larger and more filled out. The folded wing is incorrectly drawn, as are those of every other bird on the plate.
Although not unique to this guide, many of the species that have olive or yellow-green upperparts are shown too dull and gray. The White-eyes on plate 70 for instance are bright, trim little characters, that may remind North American birders of Wood Warblers, not the dull, misshapen things depicted.
Despite these problems, all of the plates are adequate for identifying the birds, indeed, many are quite well done (e.g. Plate 11 - especially Palawan Peacock-Pheasant - also note very good parrots, kingfishers, hornbills), and the authors and artists have produced a work of lasting value. It certainly will be a useful book in the field or reference on the shelf.