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A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific Paperback – June 1, 1987

4 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

At last, a first-rate comprehensive guide to the birds of Oceania. All species (including those that have become extinct in historical times) known from Micronesia, Polynesia (except Easter Island and New Zealand) and Fiji are covered in the text; all but the accidentals and a few poorly known extinct forms are illustrated. The concise taxonomically arranged species accounts, emphasizing identification, are followed by the plates in a combined taxonomic and geographical arrangement. A "hypothetical list," regional checklists, and maps and a glossary are appended. Based on extensive field work in the region, this authoritative handbook is highly recommended. Paul B. Bors, Univ. of Wyoming Lib., Laramie
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"An excellent and much-needed guide to the region."--World Birdwatch
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 409 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; 1st edition (June 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691023999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691023991
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.4 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Pratt, Bruner, and Dickinson have produced a superb field guide completely covering all the islands of the tropical Pacific from Hawai'i west through Micronesia. This is a true field guide: it gives the field marks of every species, notes problems in identification with special emphasis on distinguishing similar species, and wastes no space on matters not related to identification. (The exception is that Pratt, a significant ornithologist as well as an expert in identification, summarizes controversies in classification whre appropriate.)
The text is organized by order and family, not by region, so the flycatchers of Tahiti appear next to the flycatchers of Palau rather than near other Tahitian birds. But the illustrations are grouped by region: Samoan land birds appear together, regardless of relationships. This greatly facilitates use in the field.
The illustrations are paintings, not photographs, which allows the authors to show similar birds in identical poses as well as eliminating the accidental marks which appear in even the best photographs and can confuse the user.
The authors have chosen to include the extinct birds of the region as well as the living ones. This puts a certain amount of "deadwood" on the illustration pages, which may be detrimental. But, considering that more than one "extinct" bird has been found after being missing for nearly a hundred years, it is probably worth the minor inconvenience.
I have used the book extensively in Hawai'i and believe it to be the best guide Hawai'i's birds. I would not consider being without it anywhere in its area of coverage.
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Format: Paperback
Still the best field guide to the birds of the tropical Pacific, Pratt's book is now over 20 years old and in need of revision. The bird life of Hawaii is in a constant state of flux, with species arriving and becoming extinct every decade. One of the most common species today, the African Silverbill, was rare when Pratt's guide was published, so is completely missing from the book. Nesting information, feeding habits, and other aspects of natural history are given very little attention. So, while the serious birder will want to own the book and carry it in the field, it is now necessary to purchase a second book to fill in all the missing information that has come to light in the last two decades. For the birder visiting Hawaii, I recommend also carrying the Hawaii Audubon Society's Hawaii's Birds. It is a lightweight supplement that includes all the new species that one is likely to encounter as well as much more information regarding the habits of each bird.
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Format: Paperback
This field guide has excellent sketches of birds but the layout is quite awkward. This guide like most if not all guides breaks down the birds by family groups. This works well for most areas but not Hawaii. As an example, on the first page for Crows and Honeycreepers there are six birds listed, three are extinct, the other three birds all exist on seperate islands, so if I am birding on Kauai and I look on this particular page there is only one bird I would have any chance of seeing but I still have five other birds on the page as a distraction. On the other pages there are on average 8-10 birds per page but once again some are extinct (and not boldly labled as such) while there may only be one or two birds from each island on the pages. My recommendation to make it easier to ID birds in the field would be to put all the extinct Hawai'ian endemic birds on two or more pages (since there are so many of them) for emphasis and then have seperate pages for each island. Since there are so few birds to be found on each of the Hawaiian islands versus say the tropical forests of Costa Rica, I beleive my recommended format would be much less frustrating than the current format of the book to use in the field.
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Format: Paperback
This is a huge area of the world and having a book that covers these islands is a great task. The artwork by H. Douglas Pratt is excellent and the species accounts are good with notes about appearance, habits, occurrence, description and other names where they apply. There are no range maps though, which when covering an area so large with many migrants and pelagic birds can be a bit of a problem. There are several maps near the end that cover the areas the book encompasses as well as area checklists covering island groups. Overall this is a very good book and if you are traveling anywhere in the Pacific this is the book to have.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has it all - color drawings of key species, detailed species descriptions, and the locations where the birds are found - critical since some species are unique to particular islands while others are ubiquitous. The book is organized well, with the pictures all together, and a good index. Essential if you are birding in the Pacific.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This guidebook helped a lot when I was birding in Hawaii. I like that the plates (at least the land birds) are sectioned by island or region in the tropical pacific, and the checklists give a good idea of which birds you will see on each island. It was a great guidebook.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Comprehensive and complete for tropical pacific birds. I like the drawings and field mark notations. Only negative is that there is so much material, in the filed you can get bogged down in minor species from far away (from Hawaii).
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