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9 Reviews
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The complete field guide to this region, October 27, 2012
This review is from: Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan (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
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for birders in Central Asia or deployed!, June 20, 2013
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This review is from: Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed for Afghanistan, April 11, 2013
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This review is from: Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting new field guide, December 27, 2012
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This review is from: Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan (Paperback)
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. I don't presume that this is a matter of geographical variation. So I wonder how the other pigeons really look like, the ones I am not familiar with.

Over all however, the book has lots of excellent plates, and many species shown make me eager to visit the area. I'd definitely love to visit the eastern parts of Kyrgyzstan and the south-east of Kazakhstan from what I have gleaned from this fine book.

It would seem that this book is not intended for local users, as it would need the addition of local names for that purpose. But it's definitely a good start from which such local editions would be possible.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful and worthwhile., November 22, 2012
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This review is from: Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God yob, June 14, 2013
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This review is from: Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan (Paperback)
The book arrive me very fast in germany.
The quality of the book is exelent.
I stay three times in missions in Afghanistan and I neet this book to check my birdobservation
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5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely and useful book, July 11, 2013
This review is from: Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan (Paperback)
This latest volume in the Princeton Field Guides series covers Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. As noted in the preface, it is the first comprehensive field guide to the birds of this region. The authors are experienced with the birds of the area, and the introductory material includes a useful guide to the bioregions of this geographically and geologically complex region. Since the region is very diverse zoogeographically, the guide covers a tremendous diversity of habitats. It is difficult to evaluate a field guide without using it in the field, but there are some aspects of the book that indicate it would be easy to use in that arena. The images are high-quality paintings, arranged on opposite pages from well-written text descriptions and range maps. The text emphasizes field marks, and only irregularly discusses behaviors, so it is hoped that a subsequent edition can include more behavioral clues. Often the behavior is more diagnostic, particularly at a distance, than the plumage color or pattern. But that is a small quibble, and in general this is a well-written, well-organized, and very serviceable guide to a region of the world with lots of interesting avifauna and few avian biologists. (This is excerpted from my review in Choice, the review journal of the American Library Association.)
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great field guide, December 10, 2012
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This review is from: Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan (Paperback)
This is a great field guide to the birds of Central Asia. I just wish it had come out a few years ago when a good friend of mine was deployed to the mountains of Afghanistan, and I was looking for a bird guide to send him.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Tirkmenistan, Uzbekistan, January 2, 2013
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This review is from: Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan (Paperback)
Very comprehensive - wish I'd had it on my recent trip to Kazakhstan, but a helpful review of what i saw there.
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Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan
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