Any serious birder that explores the Western Palearctic (WP) will know how complex this region is: from its bird diversity to its different cultures, languages and socio-political contexts. It thus becomes easier to understand how a simple updated checklist of the birds occurring within this region hasn’t been published in more than two decades when the game-changing series Birds of the Western Palearctic was last published.
This new book is the biggest and most up-to-date compilation of all the birds recorded within the “greater” Western Palearctic area – a biogeographical region which includes Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, including Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.
It starts with an exhaustive description of the author’s chosen definition of the Western Palearctic, detailing and justifying all of its regional borders.
It goes on to present a comprehensive checklist of all the 1,148 extant bird species that have been recorded within this region, summarising key information such as taxonomic notes, distribution, IUCN Red List category and list of countries with vagrancy occurrences up until 2013. For the scarcer rarities, it details the date and location of each and every record, including some which still haven’t been accepted by rarity committees. The systematic list is based on the IOC World Bird List’s taxonomy, additionally including alternative English names. At the end of the book, a checklist with all the regionally endemic and extinct birds is separately provided.
In Birds of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, Dominic Mitchell manages to compile extensive information which is often scattered through multi-lingual books, rarity reports, notebooks or even blogs and forums somewhere on the internet. Its 34 pages of bibliographic references provide a clue to how thorough this work has truly been.It is a fundamental piece of valuable information that anyone with a passion for this region’s avifauna should own.