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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars20
4.4 out of 5 stars
Format: HardcoverChange
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2014
Overall a pleasing 400 page book that will give me many hours of pleasure having only seen a small number of species myself (in Brazil in 2013). It has a 'Hummingbird Directory' of 360 pages with accounts and small distribution maps for 338 species.
There are life size photos for 262 species on pages 32 to 351 in taxonomic order. Generally there is one page and one photo per species but some species have photos of both sexes, some species have a double page spread.
However the remaining 76 species do not have any photos at all and these are all grouped together, two species per page, on pages 352 to 389 in taxonomic order. I would have preferred the species without photos to have been interspersed amongst related photographed species in one coherent taxonomic section. 76 species (22%) without photos seems rather a large proportion so I hope future editions will plug some of the gaps - a challenge for keen photographers to get their teeth into!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2014
This is a well presented book that will fulfil a need for photographers and birders alike. The photographs are good and the fact that the birds are reproduced life-size is excellent. The descriptions are functional, but could have been more detailed. What would have been really useful, however, would have been to group the birds by easily identifiable features such as beak shape/ size / colouration / geography. This would have made it faster to use as an identification guide in the field. Its compact size does lend itself to use as a field guide.
In the Amazon product descriptor it says that the book contains QR links to further information. My copy does not appear to have these links, which is a disappointment as I thought this would be a really interesting and forward-thinking addition to the volume.
Still, it's a book well worth having for anyone interested in hummingbirds, as there are no other publications that I'm aware of which cover the same ground so comprehensively
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2014
Hummingbirds make up the second largest family of birds in the world, and depending on whose checklist you follow (this book follows Howard & Moore, 2013) there are around 338 of them. This book sets out to provide a description of each one together with brief information on distribution, habitat, size and status. A colour distribution map is given for each species.

The main attraction for most people will be the photographs gathered from around 40 photographers. The largest contribution is by Michael Fogden, who with his wife Patricia, has spent much of his life writing about and photographing hummingbirds. Each image is “cut out” and shown against a white background, and while this rather clinic approach reduces some of the natural beauty of the images is allows each species to be compared on the same basis. All are shown at life size, but often just one sex is shown.

The text has been gathered by Marianne Taylor and Sheri Williamson, and this includes 22 pages giving an overview of how hummingbirds live. The main part of the book consists of species accounts in taxonomic order. However 76 species are not included here, but are placed at the end without any illustrations. The text explains that these are mostly rarely-seen species. That is true for some, but not others such as Reddish Hermit Phaethornis ruber and Black-eared Fairy Heliothryx auritus that are widespread and relatively easy to see. In a quick search on the internet I found photographs of many of these very quickly, so for them to be lumped in an “also ran” section is very disappointing and really devalues the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2014
I was looking for a book on hummingbirds, and this volume appeared on Amazon at almost the same time.
After a little research and a "Look Inside" I ordered almost immediately, and then waited patiently for three months until publication!
Field Guide in style, but restricted to the (super)family and hardcovered, I bought this without ever intending for it to experience the great outdoors. It is purely for reference, and whilst I won't use it as such would make and interesting and alternative coffee-table book.
Easy to read (perhaps an interest in the subject matter helps) it is presented in typefaces more designed for appearance than clarity. The cut-out style photographs are beautiful, and the whole book is a thing to admire for its style rather than its practicality.
The first part of the book covers some to the ecology on hummngbirds.
Next follow the entries in order of classification for those (many) species with photographs. The accompanying text is sometimes a little repetitive, but this must be expected for such similar creature.
These in turn are followed by those species for which photographs are not included, and I echo the feeling of other reviewers who feel that this is perhaps not the best way to present these.
I think they would have been better interspersed in their appropriate place within the photographed species, especially as reference is often made to those photographed species. However I suspect that this was a deliberate stylistic choice by the author and/or publishers.
Well, I've now read it cover to cover and overall believe my money was very well spent.
Good book!


Having just posted this review, I see there is now an alternative version of this book.
I should point out that I have reviewed the Ivy Press version.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 July 2014
As far as it goes, this is a delightful little book but its title is a bit misleading. To me, 'a life-size guide to every species' means a life-size guide to EVERY species, not most species. At the back are 76 species with no photo, a fairly large percentage of hummingbirds. It would be unrealistic to expect the authors to have photographed every species but I'd have thought that at least an illustration could have been provided where no photo is available.

Given the absence of so many photos the book isn't really a great deal of use for identification in the field; it's more a book to pick up and flick through from time to time. Overall, though, if you like hummingbirds it's definitely a book worth having.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 2014
When I bought it I thought it was better,the thing that disappointed me most was the fact that it didn't feature photos for 76 out of 338 species wich could have at least been compensated with plates,otherwise a good book with beautiful pictures and information on reproduction,feeding and behaviour with few page chapters at the begining of the book covering colour,evolution,feeding,reproduction,flight,feather care and moulting,and migration
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2014
Information good and relatively detailed but a lot of the photographs are disappointing, both from the pictorial and certainly the reproduction point of view.
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on 4 July 2014
This is a fabulous book with fantastic photographs.The only reason I did not give 5 stars was that I was slightly disappointed with the amount of photos missing from the list of birds at the end of the book.
Perhaps there will be a second edition which will have the whole spieces photographed.
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on 6 August 2014
This book is a mammoth work. To obtain photos of 300+ species is amazing. The photos are on a white background and in some cases the "cutting out" of the bird seemed to lack accuracy. Still a brilliant book at a very reasonable price.
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on 31 July 2015
A very comprehensive guide to the little darlings and the photographs really capture the beauty and colours of this enchanting little species.
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