Birds of Spain

Birds of Spain
Eduardo de Juana & Juan M Varela Simó English translation by Ernest Garcia
Publisher:  Lynx Edicions, Barcelona
Page Count:  258
ISBN Number:  9788416728022

The 3rd edition of the guide of Birds of Spain by Eduardo de Juana and Juan M. Varela is the first to be translated into English (by Ernest García). It is a compact, easy to use field guide, covering the avifauna of Spain (including the North African cities of Ceuta, Melilla, the Canaries and Balearic Islands).

With over 40,000 books sold in the Spanish editions, this 3rd version has been improved and uses the updated taxonomy list following the HBW and Birdlife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. This ordering of species will require getting used to by experienced users of bird guides, but will presumably be followed by many new bird publications in the future. Other improvements from the 2005 edition are a revision of the illustrations and inclusion of latest information from the Spanish Winter Atlas 2007-2010.

The main section of the book comprises the description of 372 species, with 3-5 species shown per page. For brevity, species are covered in terms of the key field identification features differentiating from similar species, and as such leave out some description of more general plumage. Species accounts also describe favoured habitat, movements, distribution, abundance and status; all specific to Spain.  The distribution and mapped information is more accurate than any other European-wide guide which I think is very helpful. There is also a list of birding localities of interest.

Following the species descriptions, there is a listing of vagrants that comprises any species recorded in Spain up to the end of 2013. For each of these 206 species, there is a summary of origin, number of accepted records, and the places of occurrence in Spain. Illustrations of some of these species are also included. A very useful list of references follows the rarities section, which includes links to all the online bird reports of Spain.

One day it would be nice to see a field guide that covers the whole of the Iberian Peninsula, combining Spain and Portugal. However if I needed a bird field guide for Spain only, I would definitely consider buying this one. Both authors are very well known in their field and have authored many books previously. This publication represents a further improvement since the first edition.

Diana de Palaci