Basics: 2001, 416pp, softcover; 700 small to medium-sized color photographs of 686 (40%) of the Indonesian species; only a couple dozen birds have more than one photo; short paragraph describes each bird along with other notes on behavior and voice; range maps
In the same style as the author's later book (SE Asia), this photo guide is not a complete guide. It shows 686 (40%) of Indonesia's nearly 1,700 species. However, this book does illustrate more species than any other single photo-book available for the region. Most of the birds are shown with a single color photo. About two dozen of the birds have two photos.
The selection of photos is good for 98% of the birds. They show the bird in good light and in the open for a clear view. Some of the birds are displayed a bit small but generally well enough to identify the bird. The remaining 2% really need to have new photos. These are often too small, too dark, too grainy, too obscured, or too indistinct to allow proper identification. It appears many photos were included merely because it was the only photo of any quality available. Since most of the birds have only one photo, this book won't be helpful for immature birds, various races, or many of the females.
The few paragraphs of text are brief, which cover description, voice, and habits. The description, composed of 8-12 short lines, offer some decent tips but are not in-depth enough to offer help for identifying many of the similar species. These descriptions take up about half of the text given to each bird. The section on habits covers habitat preference and some behavioral notes. The voice is generally described in 2-4 short lines.
Each bird has a range map covering the entire Indonesian region. The map contains two colors: Red for breeding and blue for migrant or non-breeding visitor. A minor irk of mine is artifically stopping the ranges at the political boundaries of Indonesia and its neighbors. Why not continue the bird's natural range into the adjacent countries of Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, and Brunei
Will this book be useful for a trip to Indonesia? Yes, but with limitations noted above. I recommend you bring one of the available, illustrated field guides to show the variety of plumages and all the species present. This book is a good practice source to prepare for your trip and, on occasion, a helpful reference when needing to review a photo of the bird you see in the field. This book will allow you to become familiar with many of the species in Indonesia. -- (Written by Soleglad at Avian Review / Avian Books, August 2008)
I've listed several related books below...
1) A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Bali by MacKinnon
2) Field Guide to the Birds of Java and Bali by MacKinnon
3) A Guide to the Birds of Wallacea by Coates
4) Photographic Guide to Birds of Java, Sumatra and Bali by Tilford
5) Birds of New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago: A Photo Guide by Coates
6) Photographic Guide to the Birds of Borneo by Davison
7) A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Bali by MacKinnon
8) A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Southeast Asia by Strange
9) Pocket Guide to the Birds of Borneo by Francis
10) Birds of New Guinea by Beehler