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Birds of the Middle East: (Second Edition) (Princeton Field Guides) Paperback – November 28, 2010


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Birds of the Middle East: (Second Edition) (Princeton Field Guides) + Birds of Europe: (Second Edition) (Princeton Field Guides)
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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Field Guides
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; 2nd edition edition (November 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691148449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691148441
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The artwork is spectacularly good. . . . The authors have expanded their coverage of species by 100 over those found in the first edition. . . . For those heading to the Middle East, this book should make birding easier."--William P. Mueller, Bluebird's Laugh

"I highly recommend this field guide to any birder, beginner or advanced, visiting the Middle East. Most of the plates are true to life and the physical description thorough. More importantly, the information is packaged in a user-friendly format."--The Eyrie

"Birds of the Middle East: Second Edition is a durable, well-sized field guide for an under-birded yet highly interesting region of the world."--Birdfreak.com

"I have decided that this portable well written guide is the one I will take with me. For anyone travelling to the Middle East, whether on business or pleasure but with an interest or a passion for birds, this second edition of Birds of the Middle East sets the standard again, and I highly recommend it."--Phil Slade, Another Bird Blog

"[T]his is truly a field guide based on size and weight; very practical for use in the field. There is no fluff nor wasted pages in this field guide. . . . This field guide is perfectly suited to help people of all skill levels identify birds in the Middle East."--Birding is Fun blog

"This guide will become the book of choice for birders visiting the Middle East. . . ."--Choice

Praise for the first edition: "There has always been a problem deciding which books to take birding in the Middle East. With the arrival of this new field guide to the region it is now possible to contemplate using only one book in the field. . . . This is an indispensable and thoroughly recommended aid for birdwatchers in the Middle East and beyond."--Andrew Grieve, Birdwatch

Praise for the first edition: "This excellent book is a must for anyone going to this region. Beginners will find it easy to use. . . . Advanced birdwatchers will learn something that they have not yet, and what will ultimately help with correct identification. The bottom line is: this is the best field guide published so far on birds of the Middle East."--Zpravy Mos, Wilson Bulletin

"The illustrations in Birds of the Middle East are superior. Not only are they better executed, they tend to be larger and less crowded on each page. As a consequence, the birder probably does not need a secondary bird book."--Dan Tallman, South Dakota Bird Notes

"I recommend this field guide to any birder that plans on exploring the Middle East in search of the 800 plus species covered. The slick layout and very accurate drawings will allow for unmistakable identifications in the field."--Timothy Schreckengost, Words about Birds blog

About the Author

Richard Porter has had a long association with the Middle East and is an adviser on bird conservation for BirdLife International. His books include "Birds of the Middle East and North Africa". Simon Aspinall is a lifelong birder who lives in the United Arab Emirates. His books include "Shell Birdwatching Guide to the United Arab Emirates".

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in birds of the region.
Marina
I definitely like the new arrangement and the more informative distribution maps.
Robert K. Furrer
Each of the 176 plates are well illustrated with good, sharp artwork.
Mike "Madbirder" Nelson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Laura Erickson on November 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
The second edition of this book has the text and maps opposite the photos--all the complaints about going back and forth between text and illustrations are based on the first edition. The second edition looks extremely user-friendly.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Hummer on March 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
I took this well-layed out field guide with me to Israel, where the majority of birds were unfamiliar to me, since I am an intermediate birder from North America. On the whole it is an impressive and complete field guide suitable for serious birders. For the first few days I used it first, however there were too many cases where I just couldn't find drawings of the bird I was looking at, and I had to refer to Mullarney Svensson Zetterstrom and Grant. In the latter half of my trip I used the other book first despite the excess of drawings of birds that never occur in the Middle East. For example, desert lark: this book has the bill shape wrong. Another example, blackstart: this book shows a plain gray bird from the side with no distinguishing characteristics, and that is certainly not what you see in the field when you look at one. You see the striking black tail fanned smartly, and Mullarney includes a drawing of that. Many of the raptors are not shown sitting at all, and the coloring is a little dull. I fault both books for not showing linnet in its winter pink, but this book's version was particularly different from the rosy birds I saw in a Negev village in early March. However, you should still get this book because it covers more southerly species, and because the resolution of its range maps is better and very useful. I hope that future editions set a higher standard and include more drawings, though. Including winter maps separate from migration maps is also a worthy goal, although maybe the data aren't good enough yet for the entire region, parts of which must be sparsely covered.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert K. Furrer on January 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
I should first say that I'm collecting field guides whether I'll ever have a chance to go to a certain area or not. In this case, however, my initial positive judgment that was based mostly on optical appearance and not on actual accuracy has since been confirmed on a recent trip.

My first feeling with this new edition was kind of WOW, what a fine and attractive book. I have the first edition as well, so I can compare. I definitely like the new arrangement and the more informative distribution maps. Most illustrations have been retained from the first edition, but they are often larger now as the plates are now much less crowded. Just as an example, there are now two plates for the seven species of nightjars. In this particular case, however, I liked the possibility of comparing all the species on the same page in the first edition. In many other cases, the spreading over more pages has been most welcome, however. Some species illustrations have been redone without any obvious benefit as far as I can see. A case in point being the sandgrouse, though the larger illustrations per se are welcome. In some cases, the new illustrations are of quite inferior quality as far as I'm concerned. In particular, I think the terns are now of a quality like one could find decades ago. It's mostly the proportions in the flying birds that I think are off in several species, way too slim. It's because of such cases that I think the book would actually not deserve a full fifth star.

In at least one case, the first edition had an additional illustration. Thus the flight picture of the Rufous Turtle Dove is now missing.

Some confusion arises when comparing species names. Thus, again just to list one example, I first thought the Indian Hawk Cuckoo Cuculus varius was missing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alan M. Birnbaum on March 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully printed book, high quality paper facilitating reproduction of the illustrations, as good a paperback as one might find, BUT with that, it is heavy. For someone who needs to travel with it as a reference, in fact one can get the same material as a $20 iPhone/iPad "app," which I will purchase prior to the trip for which it is intended. Regardless, I won't mind having the printed book as a reference in my home library.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good field guide that covers an area of the word that is not well travelled by Westerners.

Positives: These include a good treatment on the status and distribution of the birds of the region. The descriptions are thorough and where applicable, key field marks are BOLD to hi-lite the points. I have found that the habitats and occurrences, by and large, are accurate.

Room for Improvement: The plates are respectable. I struggle with inconsistencies of not including birds at rest/perched with some species and not others - specifically with raptors and terns. I also think a much more thorough treatment on gulls of the region would benefit field ornithologists. The taxa is a complex group, especially the fuscus group, such that a more detailed accounting would help understand the status and distribution. Other accounts are not wholly accurate, for birds such as Broad-billed Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank - to name a few - their occurrence in SW Arabia is virtually absent where as the guide says otherwise. The range maps In some instances need to be updated. The Common Kingfisher and Red-vented Bulbul, for instance, occur in SW Arabia yet are not depicted as such. I also found the treatment of stonechats to be confusing. I understand that there is work in process to clear this group up but it is not as clear as it should be.

Overall I found this field guide to work well except with the comments above - all of which can be readily worked through with today's internet-based field guides to back fill the short falls.

I would recommend this book.
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