Robins and Chats (Helm Identification Guides) (英語) ハードカバー – 2015/10/27
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Peter Clement is a lifelong and well-traveled birder and tour leader, with a particular interest in wheatears and other chats. He is the author of several books, including Finches and Sparrows and Thrushes, both in the Helm Identification Guides series.
Chris Rose is an acclaimed bird artist and illustrator. He illustrated Swallows and Martins, also in the Helm Identification series, and has been working on the Robins and Chats plates for almost twenty years.
|星5つ 90% (90%)||90%|
|星4つ 10% (10%)||10%|
|星3つ 0% (0%)||0%|
|星2つ 0% (0%)||0%|
|星1つ 0% (0%)||0%|
Otherwise the scope of the book is intact with shortwings, alethes, akalats, robins, nightingales, rubythroats, bush robins, robin-chats, palm thrushes, redstarts, forktails, stonechats, wheatears, anteater chats, cliff chats etc.
The book begins with a general introduction about "robins and chats", including their general appearance, behaviour, breeding biology, movements, taxonomy and so on. Then the scope and layout of the book is discussed with reference to sections in each species account. A chapter by Per Alstrom goes into detail about systematics of the species included. It is quite weird (at least in my point of view) that the systematics used in this book and that explained by Alström are quite different from each other. Alström acknowledges how cochas, bluebirds, scrub robins etc. do not actually "belong" in this book or how Ficedula flycatchers are actually chats etc. Yet the book included these, presenting a non-monophyletic group.
The book has 62 magnificent colours plates by Chris Rose, which included most field-identifiable plumages including different ages, sexes and subspecies. My favourites includes the Bluethroat, White-throated Robin, Red-flanked Bluetail, nightingales, rubythroats and wheatears. The pages opposite to the plates also give a brief introduction about the species and summary of the plumages illustrated. Each page has about 1-3 species.
Then comes the meat of the book, the species account. They are certainly very comprehensive and include other/alternate names, introduction, field identification, similar species, voice, habitat, behaviour, breeding, status and distribution, movements, description, moult, measurements, and, where needed, geographical variation and taxonomy. I have been informed about some errors on moult section, but I don't really care much about moult so I wouldn't notice them anyway. My personal favourite parts, namely the field identification, description, g. variation and taxonomy, as far as I have seen, are very accurate and detailed. So I am very happy with the species accounts. However I should note that this book doesn't include every single piece of information on Earth about a species, especially in less information related sections such as movements or breeding.
The main letdown of this book was the photos. Not only are they very small, they are very limited, do not show enough plumage variation for most cases, and again, as far as I've been informed, have some errors on ageing of the birds. I also expected a short study of the individual in photograph in caption, but the caption is instead very brief and includes only name, age, time, location and photographer.
The maps are quite detailed and accurate and some species have separate maps for breeding/wintering grounds or different ssp groups (i.e. Common Stonechat). However for a group of mainly migratory birds I had expected the passage grounds to be represented in the map as well, not only breeding and wintering grounds.
Some people are displeased with the conservative approach on taxonomy, i.e. retainment of Common Stonechat as one huge species; but I find that reasonable given that a) this book was prepared in 25 years, meaning it obviously can't be completely up to date and b) with so much disagreement on taxonomy nowadays, perhaps the best way is to go conservative until the complexes are better resolved.
In conclusion: very good plates, very good account (with (hopefully) minor errors that only the most careful reader can realise), mediocre photos and a somewhat odd but not disturbing taxonomy/scope.
Very happy with it, a great book to spend time with (not for the faint-hearted beginner, though!).
Des photos mais pas trop, des planches superbes !