The culmination of more than a decade of work, this is the most complete manual available on the large family of insectivorous passerines, the Old World warblers Sylviidae, native to Israel and other Mediterranean countries.
The authors include detailed information on the phylogeny, distribution, ecology, appearance, and behavior of Sylvia warblers. They draw on tremendous experience and expertise to sort out the complex plumage variations of these notoriously stealthy birds, noting coloration changes by distribution, age, and sex. Attention is also given to the wide variation in song among Sylvia. The volume contains an incredible amount of original data, compiled from field studies and meticulous museum research. Importantly, the authors use a novel approach to systematics, resulting in the proposal of four new species splits. One of Europe's finest bird illustrators contributed the beautiful color plates, and a respected pioneer in field bird photography spent countless hours in desert conditions to obtain the 546 remarkable color photographs of these furtive warblers.
No other book has provided such an abundance of detail for one genus of birds, nor the quality and number of illustrations showing individual and geographic variation. All this, combined with DNA information on systematic relationships, makes this book unique among modern identification guides. It is that rare guide that constitutes both a major contribution to ornithology and an excellent reference for birders. It marks a new stage in ornithological literature and will set the standard for future works.
"A significant extension of the handbook genre. . . . I can express little but awe at the scholarship of the authors and of the remarkably comprehensive nature of this volume, which now sets a very high bar indeed."--Thomas S. Schulenberg, Quarterly Review of Biology
"Based on Hadoram Shirihai's field research and interpretation of plumage detail, what we have here is one of the most exciting and detailed reference books . . . ever written on a genus of Old World warblers. . . . The book sets a standard of achievement that is head and shoulders above other monographs and will no doubt receive many accolades as one of the great modern standards in ornithological field study."--Steve Madge, author of The Handbook of Bird Identification for Europe and the Western Palearctic
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File created: 3/28/2014