Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Book Review: Birds of Central Asia

Princeton University Press sent me a copy of Birds of Central Asia, and it's a beauty.

This is the first field guide ever to central Asia, including Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. I wish it had been out when my son-in-law was deployed to Afghanistan--I would have sent him a copy.

Central Asia is a diverse environment, encompassing steppe, semi-desert and mountains. The pictures of the various biomes in the book show the diversity. It is also a fairly remote part of the planet.

This guide covers 618 species, including all resident, migrants and vagrants. The book contains 143 beautiful plates showing many distinct plumages and races. I found the descriptions to be a little more extensive than most field guides, which I consider a good thing. Of course, to get that additional information in the guide and still make the guide a good size to take into the field, the print is pretty small. If you have reading glasses, you'll definitely need them. However, the font is crisp and clear, making it easier to read.

Available from Princeton University Press for $39.50. I did find it on Amazon for $26.07.

This is a nice diversion for an armchair birder. After reading the book, I would be more likely to consider a birding trip to this area. If you know a birder stationed in that area of the world, this would be a very nice gift.

Good birding!

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