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Parrots of the World (Princeton Field Guides) Paperback – October 17, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Provides an interesting look into the diversity of one of the most well-known families of birds and also some of the most rare and beautiful species on the planet."--Birdfreak.com

"This guide is a must-have for any parrot lover or bird enthusiast."--Eva Matthews, Flying Mullet

"One major highlight of this book for me is the treatment of subspecies. Ranges of all subspecies are depicted on the maps and all are briefly described in the text, and many subspecies receive their own illustrations. . . . This is an excellent reference for anyone interested in general parrot diversity."--Nicholas Sly, Biological Ramblings

"Noted Australian ornithologist Forshaw has designed this new work to be more useful in the field. It features paintings and text allowing identification of 356 species. Subspecies are also illustrated and discussed, adding immensely to the value of the book. . . . It is the best book on the market for those who want to view and identify parrots in the wild."--Choice

"Although there are other books on the parrots of the world, this guide is, in my opinion, the easiest to use. It would make a fine addition to anyone's library."--Fritz Brock, Wildlife Activist

"Those working in markets, museums, border inspection, aviculture, etc., will find the guide sufficiently small and portable that they will be comfortable taking it along to compare directly with individual birds to be identified. As a result, Forshaw's 2010 Parrots of the World accomplishes its stated goal of providing the best available option for those needing to reliably identify parrots either in the wild, the museum or captivity."--Donald J. Brightsmith, Ornitological Neotropical

"Colorful, well-organized and amazingly detailed, Parrots of the World is a grand book for any birder to browse, whether they are interested in their local parrots, exotic species or just birds they hope to add to their life list one day."--Melissa Mayntz, About.com

About the Author

Joseph M. Forshaw is one of Australias foremost ornithologists and a world-renowned expert on parrots. His books include "Parrots of the World: An Identification Guide" (Princeton). Frank Knight has been an illustrator for three decades, producing artwork for scientific papers, books, and lectures. His books include "The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia."
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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Field Guides
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (October 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691142858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691142852
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bruce M. Miller on April 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A gorgeous book. More usable than the previous edition: physically smaller (still a coffee-table book, but lighter & smaller - binding should hold up now), much more up to date, no more hunting for pictures. Downsides: text refers to color plates but color plates don't refer back to text, and a short bibliography (<100 cites. It does cite the previous edition and Juniper & Parr, each with over 700 cites, but you'd need those to track references). Compared to Juniper & Parr's Parrots: A Guide to Parrots of the World, it's cheaper, more recent and better for phylogeny; but has less information about each species and doesn't cite references for each species. The larger size allows an elegant layout but makes it a poor field guide.
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Format: Paperback
This is certainly the best parrot guide I've ever seen, the result of a great deal of expertise and talent. The illustrations are clear, and for many species the bird is shown from the top and bottom to aid identification. Where birds vary in appearance by sex this is shown, and in most cases it seems the different subspecies are shown as well. This is particularly pleasing in the case of the Rainbow Lorikeet, the multiple highly variable subspecies of which are treated over six pages (including three plates). Similar looking species are lumped together and the illustration quality makes it clear what to look for to tell them apart. The maps are generallly good with each map using separate colours to mark the separate ranges of the subspecies.

There are, unfortunately, flaws. The common names used follow earlier editions, with a seeming preference for avicultural names over those used by birdwatchers and the various ornithological organisations. While this is the perogative of the writers, it would have been helpful to include commonly used alternatives either in the text or in the index. Additionally the taxonomy used seems somewhat out of date for a book just published. It's been ten years since Boon (2001) showed that the Norfolk and New Caledonian Parakeets were not only distinct from the Red-fronted Parakeet (actually the Red-crowned Parakeet, but never mind) but actually basal to the entire genus, yet they are still lumped in that species in this new edition. Similarly the Chatham Parakeet should be treated as very distinct from the Yellow-crowned Parakeet, but isn't. In some instances these splits are alluded to in the text (as they are for the Chathams Parakeet), but this isn't consistently done (for example in the case of teh Ouvea Parakeet from the Horned Parakeet).
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Format: Paperback
Noted Australian ornithologist Forshaw has designed this new work to be more useful in the field. It features paintings and text allowing identification of 356 species. Subspecies are also illustrated and discussed, adding immensely to the value of the book. The text is terse but includes details about habitat, behavior, and distinctive plumage characteristics to help avoid confusion with similar species in the same geographic area. The maps are detailed, and the quality of the illustrations is excellent. A casualty of the downsizing from the earlier work, however, is the loss of the bibliography. In general, this would be a good guide for travelers and birders. Unlike the previous volume, however, it is probably not the best choice for the aviculturist, since it lacks many varieties that have been generated in captivity. It is the best book on the market for those who want to view and identify parrots in the wild; there are probably other more suitable books on parrots in captivity. But it is a beautiful volume about some of the most striking birds in the world, and well worth the purchase price for anyone interested in parrots. (This is excerpted from my review in Choice, the review journal of the American Library Association.)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is not the kind you can slip into your backpack as it is large and it is heavy. That being said, it is an absolute necessity for anyone involved with our avian friends. It is also a reference book for the home library. The photographic images and written information has as much value as a gold bar in your pocket. That is to say, value for money. The information provided will have every avian enthusiast engrossed in trying to absorb it all. Factual and beneficial, this book should be on the shelf of every bird club.
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Format: Hardcover
The Parrots of the World: An Identification Guide by Joseph M. Forshaw is an excellant book that shows beautiful color pictures of the Parrots, tells where the Parrots are from with a colored map of the area they are originally from in the wild. Also the book tells in detail the color and size of the Parrots. I would highly recommend it for anyone interested in recognizing the different Parrots.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Buyer Alert: At least as of early January 2015, Amazon points to this volume as the paperback edition of _Parrots of the World: An Identification Guide_ by the same author and the same illustrator. As noted below, it is not.

Some of the reviews placed here SEEM to address not the Princeton Field Guide but rather the Forshaw & Knight identification guide (part of the Helm Identification Guide series). Unfortunately, I don't have that volume, but almost certainly it is more likely to induce rave reviews ("best parrot book") than is this Princeton Field Guide. The concept of a field guide devoted to such a large and cosmopolitan family of birds is to my mind puzzling. By definition a field guide is intended for use in the field, usually by birders (or birdwatchers, depending on your terminological preference) matching up a bird encountered with descriptions and illustrations of birds that might fit the bill. Most such guides depict the species known to occur in a specific region or locality (the birds of North America, the Birds of Costa Rica, etc.). It's inconceivable that a birder would fill his pouch with guides covering each family of birds likely to be encountered; in fact, such an approach would be at this time impossible.

The illustrations certainly merit praise, and the species accounts when combined with the genus accounts offer a reasonably good insight helpful in determining species ID. The accounts are concise, as would be expected in a field guide. If a birder decides to embark on a worldwide pursuit of parrots (and only parrots), this book will be among the guides to be brought into the field. But most birders will opt for a guide devoted to all of the bird families (and species therein) associated with the place.
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