Publisher: Lynx Edicions, Barcelona
Publication Year: 2012
Page Count: 244
ISBN Number: 978-8-4965-5383-5
Price: £ 28.50
Extremely Rare Birds in the Western Palearctic
This book catalogues records of 155 bird species recorded fewer than ten times in the Western Palearctic during 1800–2008, with full references and more than 300 photographs of the birds themselves. There is a short introduction to each species, which also mentions records up to August 2010. Rarity within such a vast area is a complex topic, compounding true vagrancy with short-distance dispersal along the region’s long and remote land boundaries. The casual reader will notice that the species and records that are included depend very heavily on matters of opinion – on the boundaries chosen, the taxonomy, standards of identification and whether occurrences stem from the bird trade. Haas has elected to follow the same boundaries as BWP (Birds of the Western Palearctic), the taxonomy set by the Dutch authority CSNA and decisions on acceptability made at national level.
It does not help that national bodies, where they exist, vary widely in standards and outlook. Ross’s Goose is included, for example, with multiple records for The Netherlands listed over three pages, while the text reveals that many similar records elsewhere in western Europe, some presumably of the same individual birds, are excluded as escapes. The book is beautifully produced and relatively cheaply priced. Its concept, however, is decidedly esoteric! Nevertheless, any listers regarding the whole of the WP as their home territory will want to own a copy, and for ornithologists of more scholarly outlook it is a useful update to BWP.
Book reviewed by John Marchant
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