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Warblers of Europe, Asia and North Africa (Helm Identification Guides) [Hardcover]

Kevin Baker
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: £50.00
Price: £49.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 Nov 1997 Helm Identification Guides
Many warblers are notoriously difficult to identify. This guide covers 145 species, covering all aspects of identification. The text includes sections on moult, voice, habitat and behaviour, distribution and measurements. Colour plates and a distribution map are provided for all the species.

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Frequently Bought Together

Warblers of Europe, Asia and North Africa (Helm Identification Guides) + Waders of Europe, Asia and North America (Helm Field Guides) + Gulls of Europe, Asia and North America (Helm Identification Guides)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd; 1st Edition edition (28 Nov 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713639717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713639711
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 828,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"This book is a comprehensive guide to 145 species of this family found in Europe, Asia (including India), and North Africa. . . . Intended solely as an identification guide, the author provides extensive detail on plumage, voice, and measurements, including variation related to age, sex, and geography."--BIOSIS --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 STARS FOR THE TEX 16 April 2010
By Stephen
I brought this book as I was going to spend six weeks birding in Asia, three weeks in Mongolia and three weeks in India. When this book arrived it looked by the cover to be very good. Oh dear,I then realize the best art work in the whole book happened to be on the cover. As I flicked through the book I couldn't belivie my eyes the artwork was pretty poor. Which in this day and age is not good enough. But on the brightside the Tex is excellent and the book has been useful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Appalling Artwork & Maps; Text Can Be Useful 8 April 2013
I own more than 20 volumes of the Helm Identification Series, of which many are invaluable classics. This one, however, get's my vote for the worst of the lot. It's a great shame as this is a popular bird family with plenty of identification challenges.

- Artwork:
It is often said that artwork/plates are a matter of taste, but I think the overwhelming majority would agree that these are pretty appalling. They are the style of decades gone by; very rough and lacking detail (although large in size), some with weird shapes or contortions, strong colours totally inappropriate to the subtle tonal differences that are needed. Several appear to have been doctored afterwards to correct crown shapes, etc.

- Maps:
All distribution maps are opposite the artwork and are very small. Many show huge ranges - some the whole of Europe, Asia and Africa, on a space no greater than a postage stamp. These maps attempt to show all the country borders as well. Pale yellow for summer distribution is often unclear. Small, well executed maps opposite plates can still be very useful, and nowadays they are sometimes even supplemented by enlarged versions with the text (as in other volumes in the series), but that is not the case here.

+ Text:
The book is useful for textual detail concentrating on identification, adding details on moult, voice, habitat and behaviour, distribution and measurements, etc. It appears the author's experience leans towards birds in the hand/ringing. Nevertheless, details on habitat and behaviour helped me identify a poorly seen Smoky Warbler in Nepal, as this info was lacking in the field guide.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful plates! 22 May 2013
Before this volume was published there was as gap in the literature for a comprehensive treatise on the Old World warblers. Regrettably this is still the case. On the positives the text is well researched and well written. The plates though are truly dreadful. Kevin Baker is not an artist and the task of illustrating the book should have been passed elsewhere. The cover art is not bad, but this is not representative of the plates inside. The warblers are (very!) subtle species and in many cases the differences slight. Don't buy this book expecting to be able to use the plates as a field (or museum!) reference. Opportunity missed I'm afraid, and this volume will go down as an example of how not to do a family monograph!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential for the study of the Paleartic Warblers 23 April 2009
This is a book focused on the warblers of Europe, North Africa and Asia.I really wait something more spectacular about the pics, cause i have the Mullarney-Svensson like first bird guide, and it's pics are really the best that i ever seen. So, apart of this the guide is very good, pics are good (not spectaculars), complete text. It's price (what i paid) is the best for this kind of book.
Recommendable for someone who needs a book to make consults, maybe not to simple read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid identification reference 26 Oct 2008
By Jack Holloway - Published on Amazon.com
Basics: 1997, hardcover, 400 pages, 48 color plates of 145 species, range maps

This is an ambitious identification book tackling 145 species of one of the more challenging groups of birds in the Old World. The area covers all Europe, Africa north of the Sahara, the Middle East, and all continental Asia across Russia to Japan and south through India and SE Asia. Not included are the species found only in Africa south of the Sahara, in the East Indies, Australia, and the Pacific islands. Besides warblers, the book includes the related tailorbirds, prinias, and kinglets.

Each of the 48 color plates illustrates 2-4 species with 4-10 different subjects. Most of the birds have 2-5 different plumages illustrated. These illustrations are of good but not great quality. The colors often appear too bright or rich, especially with the greens and yellows. At times, the artistic style makes the birds appear a little rough and sacrifices accurate detail in the birds. The artwork in Parmenter's book (Guide to the Warblers of the Western Palaearctic) is better.

Scattered throughout the book are nearly 60 black-and-white illustrations that offer additional detail necessary for identification. These drawings show tail patterns, relative lengths of primaries, patterning of the vent feathers and, head and facial patterns.

Each bird is covered in 1-2 pages of text. Nearly everything in the text relates to describing the bird or to documenting the various subspecies. The key sections offered for each bird are identification (nearly half the text), description, geographical variation, moult, voice, habitat/behavior, and distribution. This information is quite thorough and is rich with species comparisons garnered from a wide array of references. Reinforcing the focus of this book as an identification guide, the Chiffchaff has over two pages dedicated to just "identification". This section addresses nine different species with which the Chiffchaff may be confused. Identification notes are offered to help separate out each of the nine birds. The only natural history information offered is within the sections on moult and habitat.

A range map is supplied with each bird opposite from each plate. These maps are the weaker part of the book. Besides being small and covering an enormous range, the ranges are often only generalized at best. Three different colors denote resident, breeding, and non-breeding visitors. Many of the maps are printed so lightly that the borders of the various countries cannot be seen. This necessitated an errata sheet to be printed for 26 of the maps in the earlier printings of the book. More than just 26 maps should have been reprinted since many others are rather pale.

This book is recommended for anyone with an interest - or frustration - with the Old World warblers. It is an invaluable asset for identifying and understanding this difficult group of birds.

I've listed several related books below...
1) Guide to the Warblers of the Western Palearctic by Parmenter
2) Sylvia Warblers by Shirihai et al.
3) A Field Guide to the Warblers of Britain and Europe by Moore
4) The Chiffchaff by Clement
5) Birds of Europe with North Africa and the Middle East by Jonsson
6) Birds of Europe by Mullarney et al.
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What an omission! 20 Oct 2001
By Sarakani - Published on Amazon.com
In the same series as the Helm ID guides to bird families, a series that is apparently beating Handbook of Birds of the World in being the first to catalogue Passerines in detail this book like others in the series apparently offers a breadth of coverage including illustrations and species accounts but the volume is seriously flawed compared to all the rest.
It has chosen to avoid references to food and feeding except where considered essential to illustrate a point of habit. For a book that could never be used as a field guide as it is more taxonomic in coverage rather than geographical, this omission represents a grave error by the publishers. All the other volumes cover details of food and I can only say that the authors were lazy. They have no excuse.
They seem to think we the readers already know that warblers are insectivorous, but this fact is not really stated in the introduction to compensate for the omission. Hence this book is more a taxonomic list, not a monograph of the family. It perhaps ignores breeding as well (I was researching them for food details) - very very disappointing for a large group of birds not adequately covered elsewhere at the time of writing.
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