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

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Editorial Reviews


"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."

"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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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Field Guides
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Second 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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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12 of 13 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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10 of 11 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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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
Changes have been made to the second edition to make it more user friendly and more helpful in the field. Range maps, text and plates are all together in a more modern format. It still retains a good portable size that will be easy to carry all day.

The introduction is brief covering the basics of how to use the guide before you are into the plates. Each of the 176 plates are well illustrated with good, sharp artwork. Most are not crowded and most of the artwork is a fairly decent size with a few exceptions. A good portion of the raptors though are only shown in flight, this is most likely where you'll see them especially as this is a major flyway between breeding and non-breeding grounds. There is a good plate on the comparison of large white-headed gulls which will help with this tough group.

The range maps are in three tones with resident breeding, migration and all year resident, I would have liked to see red for the endemic species to add emphasis to those that are only found in this region. The maps also indicate the political borders so you have a better clue where species lie. Though countries like Egypt, Sudan, Armenia and Turkmenistan are shown on the maps the range indicators do not also include them. Only the countries represented in this book are shown in white, all others are in grey with no color ranges shown.

The text covers English and Latin name with size then a description of the bird with identification tips rather than a general description. Hints on how they differ from other similar species, distinguishing habits and key factors are highlighted in bold as the main points to look for. There is a good deal of information on voice where applicable and notes on habitat.
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