By Gerard Gorman
Bloomsbury, 2018 (‘RSPB Spotlight’ series)
Pbk, 128pp; many colour photographs
ISBN 978-1-4729-5118-2; £9.99
The ‘RSPB Spotlight’ series is shining its bright, if rather narrow, beam on an increasing number of British birds, as well as other popular groups, with each book covering a single species or select band of closely related animals. This one focuses on the four British woodpeckers (including Wryneck Jynx torquilla) and also provides a brief overview of the wide diversity of woodpeckers around the world. The book provides a basic introduction to the group, with well-chosen colour photos on every page and a light, readable accompanying text. There is not much space to go into detail, especially with four very different species to deal with, so you may sometimes be left with unanswered questions or craving a slightly fuller explanation of an interesting facet of behaviour. But, as a basic introduction, this book, like the others in the series, serves its purpose very well. If the approach appeals but woodpeckers are not your thing, it’s worth checking the rapidly growing list of birds (and other animals) that have already received the spotlight treatment.