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A Natural History of the Trogonidae
Joseph M. Forshaw
Illustrated by Albert Earl Gilbert

Winner of the 2010 International Book Awards for Best Interior Design
Finalist for the 2010 International Book Awards for Best Cover Design
One of The Birdbooker Report's Best Bird Books of 2011

Hardcover | 2009 | $175.00 / £120.00 | ISBN: 9780691141589
304 pp. | 11 x 16 | 75 color illus. 10 line illus. | SHOPPING CART


This is the definitive natural history of the spectacularly beautiful tropical birds known as the trogons, a family that includes the legendary Resplendent Quetzal, the sacred bird of the ancient Mayans and Aztecs. A collaboration between renowned ornithologist Joseph Forshaw and eminent bird artist Albert Gilbert, Trogons combines science and art to create an unprecedented picture of a threatened bird family. Forshaw's text provides the most authoritative and comprehensive account of the trogons ever written, and Gilbert's stunning paintings are the first to accurately depict all species of trogons in their natural habitats and true colors. The book's detailed synthesis of current knowledge about the trogons is enriched by Forshaw's personal field observations in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Americas, while Gilbert's meticulous artwork is based on fieldwork in the same areas. With its large format, more than 40 full-color plates, and state-of-the-art five-color printing, this limited-edition book promises to become a classic and a collector's item.

Despite their long association with human culture, trogons remain poorly known. Much of the existing ecological information comes from studies of a few neotropical species undertaken in the 1930s and 1940s by Alexander Skutch in Costa Rica and Guatemala, and more recent field studies of the Elegant Trogon at the northern extremity of the range. There have been longstanding uncertainties about the relations and origins of trogons. Kingfishers and their allies have often been nominated as the trogons' closest allies and a New World origin was assumed because most trogon species are now found in the neotropics. However, recent studies have supported placing trogons in a separate order--Trogoniformes--with possible affinities to the African mousebirds, and there is some evidence for an Old World origin.

At a time when researchers and fieldworkers are showing increasing interest in the trogons, and when tropical forests, the home of most trogon species, are threatened by logging and land clearing, this book is intended to not only summarize and advance knowledge about trogons but also to draw attention to the urgent need to protect these magnificent birds by safeguarding the habitats so critical to their continued survival. Trogons is an essential volume for libraries, birders, conservationists, ornithologists, eco-tourists, and collectors of fine bird books.

  • Text by renowned ornithologist Joseph Forshaw provides the most authoritative and comprehensive account of the trogons ever written
  • Paintings by eminent bird artist Albert Gilbert accurately depict for the first time all trogon species in their natural habitats and true colors
  • More than 80 color and black-and-white illustrations, including a foldout color plate of the Resplendent Quetzal, the sacred bird of the ancient Mayans and Aztecs
  • Large format and state-of-the-art five-color printing
  • Edition limited to 700 copies in the United States and 1,400 copies worldwide
  • An essential volume for libraries, birders, conservationists, ornithologists, eco-tourists, and collectors of fine bird books


"Remarkable. . . . The main advantage of Forshaw's book over [the competition] is the level of detail in the species accounts. Trogons: A Natural History of the Trogonidae should therefore be included in the library of any museum or nature enthusiast."--Alejandro Espinosa de Los Monteros, Auk

"The highlights of the book, however, are the stunning paintings, done from life in almost all cases. . . . [It] will be regarded as the last word on the Trogonidae."--British Trust for Ornithology Newsletter

"Truly recalls the Victorian golden age of natural history books in a modern guise. . . . I cannot imagine a more impressive way of presenting some of the most beautiful and impressive birds in the world."--Eric Salzman, Winging It


"Those long familiar with Al Gilbert's superb artwork, from earlier classics such as Curassows and Related Birds, will eagerly greet his return to full-scale bird portraiture as so well exemplified in this new book. These beautiful trogons are expertly captured in their glowing colors, set amidst their appropriate habitats; Gilbert's depiction of foliage is unsurpassed. This is a major work for bird art lovers of all temperaments."--Guy Tudor, coauthor and illustrator of Birds of South America

Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Joseph M. Forshaw:

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Hardcover: Not for sale in the European Union

Black Throated Trogon
Black Throated Trogon
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Baird's Trogon
Baird's Trogon
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    Hardcover: $175.00 ISBN: 9780691141589

    For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India, and Pakistan

    Hardcover: £120.00 ISBN: 9780691141589

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    File created: 3/10/2015

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