The Macmillan Field Guide to North Atlantic Shorebirds. By Richard J. Chandler. Macmillan, London & Basingstoke, 1989. £12.95. From the viewpoint of the average British birdwatcher, this attractive field guide would seem most likely to compete for sales with Waders of Britain and Europe (Colston & Burton 1988). Both are slim, eminently pocket-sized volumes of something over 200 pages, which, despite the somewhat differing geographical coverages implied by their full titles, overlap greatly in species included. Out of a total of 93 species considered in one or other volume, Colston & Burton include all but seven and Chandler all but 22; the Vanellinae, lacking in North America except for the vagrant Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, account for the greatest discrepancy in coverage. Both include all but the rarest of vagrants likely to be encountered within Britain or Ireland, for which recourse to Shorebirds (Hayman, Marchant & Prater 1986) will remain a necessity. The major departure of North Atlantic Shorebirds is that it is illustrated by photographs rather than paintings. Preference in this regard must remain largely personal, depending considerably on the importance one attaches to generalised characteristics vis-a-vis the particular. There is no doubting, however, that Richard Chandler has put together a particularly impressive and remarkably standardised array of photographs, very largely his own, which give one a real feel for the plumages of the species concerned, including the main age and sex differences where appropriate. On average, the layout provides a concise single page of text on the range and identification of each species, together with a facing page of about three colour photographs, although this is flexible.

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