quite excellent book is packed full of quality illustrations and
written information on 1251 species recorded in Southeast Asia.
Even with this number of species this book has been kept to a size
which is easily carried in the field, although may be a little too
large for many pockets. For those visiting Thailand as part of an
extended trip to surrounding countries this book is a must as it
is the only guide which depicts all Southeast Asian species in colour
and is by far the most up-to-date guide for the region. A brief,
but interesting section at the beginning of this book introduces
the reader to the main habitats to be found in the region and an
extensive list of references for the ornithologist interested in
more scientific reading on the region's avifauna. For birders travelling
only to Thailand, however, there is a dilemma in choosing whether
to buy this book or the more specific Field
Guide to the Birds of Thailand by the same author or
the Guide to the Birds of Thailand
by Lekagul and Round.
A number of
small problems prevent this book from reaching perfection, and one
of the most confusing of these is the huge number of illustrations
crammed into each of the 104 plates. Although these are clearly
labelled and referenced, such is the number of pictures on each
page that it can be quite visually confusing at times and may slow
identification of species, particularly for those new to the region.
Obviously this issue has been a result of trying to keep the number
of pages as low as possible, but a little has been lost in clarity
of layout to gain in carryability.
small amount of text is placed opposite the plates for each of the
species, with a much larger amount of informative text in the section
at the back. The text with the plates is largely descriptive and
as this is reasonably obvious from the pictures it may have been
better to have included key identification points in this limited
are minor points when considering the large amount of species covered
in this book and for those birding close to Thailand's borders with
other countries this could be vital in identifying species that
have not before been recorded in Thailand. Given that many regions
of Thailand have been seldom visited by birders this could potentially
be a real issue.
My choice would
be to have this book as well as A
Guide to the Birds of Thailand for any birding trip