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Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan Paperback – October 28, 2012


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Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan + Birds of Melanesia: Bismarcks, Solomons, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia (Princeton Field Guides) + Birds of India: Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives (Second Edition) (Princeton Field Guides)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (October 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069115337X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691153377
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is a valuable and much-needed book, one that very neatly fills a hole in the bibliography of Palearctic birding and has instantly become the standard guide to the region."--Steve Rooke, ABA Blog

"This is an excellent guide and one that is essential for any visit to the region. Central Asia provides a rich source for many vagrants to Europe, and this is a concise guide to the many iconic species and distinctive races that are highly sought after in Europe in late autumn. The appeal of this book extends well beyond its intended market and should be useful for anyone with an interest in Central Asia and its birds."--Peter Kennerley, British Birds

"Birds of Central Asia has done more than just plug the geographical gap that previously existed on many birder's bookshelves. It's provided a guide for the region that is comparable in standard to Birds of the Middle East and will prove invaluable to any visiting birder."--Stephen Menzie, BirdGuides

"The images are high-quality paintings arranged opposite well-written text descriptions and range maps. . . . Overall, a well-written, well-organized, and very serviceable guide to a region of the world that has lots of interesting avifauna and few avian biologists."--Choice

"Here is an excellent, first-ever guide to a little birded part of the planet. . . . The book is a must for anyone who plans to bird this region of the world. The book also would make a nice addition to anyone's library if they collect bird guides to all places on the globe."--FHB, Wildlife Activist

About the Author

Raffael Ayé, Manuel Schweizer, and Tobias Roth are ornithologists based at SVS/BirdLife Switzerland, the Natural History Museum of Bern, and the University of Basel, Switzerland, respectively. They are experts on the birds of Central Asia, and their notable achievements include the discovery of the breeding grounds of the Large-billed Reed Warbler in Tajikistan.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This is a great field guide to the birds of Central Asia.
Truman Goldendog
It is as informative and easy to use as any guide I would use in the States.
Michael P. O'Brien
Overall, I would recommend this book to both birders and non-birders alike!
Dana N.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mike "Madbirder" Nelson on October 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
From the Caspian sea in the west at sea level to the snowy peaks above 4000 meters in the eastern mountains of Altai, Tien Shan, Hindu Kush and others this guide covers a vast array of habitats. This is also the first guide to cover this dynamic region.

This guide opens with an introduction and glossary and how to use the book. A map, bird topography and taxonomy are also included. A nice section on Biomes and habitats cover the region with nice photographs, descriptions and typical species encountered in these areas. 143 plates of very good artwork cover the regions species. The artwork is clear, crisp and detailed and though done by many fine artists the consistency of quality is very good throughout. Most species have multiple plumages and flight shots where relevant.

The text covers the subspecies that frequent the region with descriptions and identification points, the most important ones in bold text. The many plumages of adults, females, males, juveniles or immatures are all discussed with comparison to similar species also covered. Voice, where relevant, is discussed in song and call with good descriptions of both. The habitat covers the style of habitat and the species frequency within that habitat.

The range maps are a bit on the small side for such a large area but the multiple colors for resident, breeding, winter and migration help to define where they occur in the region.

There are three appendicies in the back covering old, vagrant and doubtful records; moult of large raptors and; moult of gulls.

Overall this is a very good guide to a region that will become more often visited. This guide will enable anyone visiting the region to identify birds from an area that was only covered in much larger guides. This guide also picks up where the Birds of the Middle East ends making for a nice continuous range coverage from the Mediterranean to China.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dana N. on June 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was deployed to Afghanistan, and wanted a guide that was both easy to use as well as illustrated well enough to accurately ID birds. This guide is great, and although I consider myself a novice; its easy enough to feel like a pro. It has had all the birds that I've seen in Afghanistan, but only complaint is the ranges are slighty off I believe. I'm sure this is because of limited collected records of the ranges of the birds. So I do not blame the authors for the lack of information. Overall, I would recommend this book to both birders and non-birders alike!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael P. O'Brien on April 11, 2013
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In two months I was able to positively ID 40 species of birds in southern Afghanistan largely due to the fact I had this book- there is no way I could have ID'd many of the birds had I not made this purchased. It made the difference between positively seeing the Desert Finch or the Pied Bushchat as opposed to see a tan looking bird with some pink coloring or a mostly black bird with some white in the wings. It is as informative and easy to use as any guide I would use in the States.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert K. Furrer on December 27, 2012
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This is the same book, just a different edition as the one issued by Helm. Thus the books basically just differ by their cover.

This is definitely a very interesting addition to my field guide library. One particularly interesting aspect of this new book is the fact that it provides info for an area that - to me - constitutes somewhat of a no man's land and at the same time the transition between familiar Europe and less well known Asia, with Siberian migrants mixed in. Of course, one could glean this info from the now complete 16 volume series of the Handbook of the Birds of the World. But it is much more convenient and exciting to have a compilation of the avifauna of this little known region.

The basic layout follows the by now traditional - and thus most welcome - pattern with the plates on the right side of a page spread, and the text with a fine, informative range map on the left page. Up front, there is an interesting chapter on the various habitats of the area, and some info on the countries. Though one would need to do a fair bit of research if trying to visit the area on one's own, I think.

The species texts are concise, yet fairly detailed within the constraints of such a book, regarding identification info. A most welcome feature is the highlighting of the most important distinguishing features. There are brief notes on voice and habitat as well.

There is a bit of getting used to the variety of the plates. I think the number of illustrators has been a bit too large, or else the quality of their illustrations is too variable. And some colors have been overdone by quite a margin. At least, I have yet to see such a bright red on a Curlew Sandpiper, and some of the pigeons I'm familiar with look much more exciting than what I'm used to.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ferro on November 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This pioneering new guide covers a little-known geographical area, but will also be of much use to those in the wider region.

It immediately produces a pleasing impression. The plates are nicely laid out and not too crowded. The illustrations are, helpfully too scale, mostly borrowed from various other field guides, but also including some very attractive new artworks such as e.g. the shrikes, grasshopper warblers and penduline tits. Gulls- which have had various taxonomic changes in recent years- are updated here with new illustrations including wingspreads.

The species accounts are brief and concise, with diagnostic ID points highlighted.

The maps are simple and easy to grasp. The species accounts are succinct and aimed primarily at identification. I also enjoy the efforts to tackle the diagnostics of recent splits and otherwise closely similar species.
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