Birdwatching: a Guide to European Birds. By Bertel B m u n . Illustrated by Philippe Degrave. Paul Hamlyn, London, 1967. 160 pages with 350 illustrations in colour. 5s. The concept of this paperback is that of a handy comprehensive European bird-book at a mass market price for beginners. As such, it has inevitably to be compared with earlier members of the tribe. The format is familiar. There are introductory sections on the book's use, classification, migration, habitat, equipment, bird-gardening and so on. Several pages, particularly those on classification, recall those of other guides very closely. The main body consists of a systematic treatment of all breeding species or regular migrants. These are depicted in coloured illustrations with short texts and, in many cases, small maps giving winter and summer distribution and migratory routes. Though very small, the latter do show some originality of concept. Yet the only really exceptional thing about the book is its price. Does it, however, possess any true value ? The answer has to be almost entirely negative. The main reason for this is the quite appalling standard of accuracy in the illustrations. There is an unidentifiable finch on the cover, Rock Buntings labelled 'Lapland Bunting' on page 10, a desperately misleading pair of wings (theoretically of Teal and Garganey) on page 15, a Buzzard silhouette that looks like a harrier on page 16--and all these are in the introductory sections. What happens thereafter is worse: the Squacco Heron is in fact a Cattle Egret
Volume: 
Issue 6

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