Many readers will be familiar with Nils van Duivendijk’s Advanced Bird ID Guide and Advanced Bird ID Handbook, both of which are characteristic in their lack of illustrations and photographs, opting instead for identification features in easy-to-digest bullet-point form. Nils has now gone a step further, producing an amazing two-volume set, complete with identification points and – this time – photographs. The coverage is less than that of the ‘every species recorded in the Western Palearctic’ Advanced guides but, for most birders in western Europe, short of a Pacific auk or an obscure East Asian flycatcher, just about every species likely to be encountered is covered. Many distinctive forms are treated, too, such as ‘Mediterranean Storm-petrel’ Hydrobates pelagicus melitensis, ‘American Black Tern’ Chlidonias niger surinamensis and ‘Asian Red-rumped Swallow’ Cecropis daurica daurica/japonica. Harriers receive an impressive 14 pages, black-and-white flycatchers eight.
There are no distribution maps and nothing on vocalisations, but that isn’t what this pair of books is about: they aim to give as much information on visual identification and in-the-field ageing as you could ever want, with just as much attention given to common species as to rarities. At over 3.2 kg, these are not books for taking into the field. At present, the title is available only in Dutch – but an English-language version is in preparation, which should be published quicker than the year or so that it will take you to learn to correctly say ‘er zit een Grijswangdwerglijster op Schiermonnikoog’!
A full review of the English-language edition of this title will appear in BB once it is published. Eds.