H a n d b o o k o f the Birds o f Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The Birds of the Western Palearctic. vol. VI: warblers. By S. Cramp et at. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1992. 728 pages; 31 colour plates; numerous line-drawings. ISBN 0-19-857509-2. £75.00. When reviewing a book as large and important as volume 6 of BWP, it is difficult to know where to begin. The presentation of the work is up to the high standard expected from Oxford University Press and, of course, it matches the rest of the set in your bookcase. Having stated the obvious, what is the content like? My major binding interest is identification, so I shall confine my comments to the plates, field characteristics and the 'small print", including plumage, moult and geographical variation. OUP could have printed the sonagrams upside-down and I would not have a clue. The first thing that readers will notice is that there are very few plates. Volume 2 had 52 pages of plates for 104 species, whereas volume 6 has only 16 pages for 63 species. There are only three birds each of Menetries's Sylvia mystacea and Cyprus Warblers S. melanathorax. and four each of Lesser Whitethroat S. curruca and Rûppell's S. rueppellii and Spectacled Warblers S. conspicillata. So. there are not enough, but what is the quality like? In my opinion, it is variable. The illustrations of Locustella, Acrocephalus and Sylvia warblers are superb.

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