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Shorebirds: An Identification Guide
by Peter Hayman, John Marchant & Tony Prater
 
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Although not exclusively about Thai birds, this book is most useful for resident and visiting birders alike, particularly when visiting coastal areas such as Khao Sam Roi Yot, Bang Poo, Laem Pak Bia, Khok Kham or Krabi. Eighty-eight detailed plates show all of the world's 214 wader species with distribution maps and identification notes on the opposite page from the plates. Additionally, the second half of the book provides detailed notes on identification, call, habits, migration etc. The two sections of the book are nicely linked by referring the reader to the right page for the text for each illustrated species, meaning that it can be quickly found, rather than leaving the user to flick through pages of text while trying not to lose the page containing the picture. The book also contains a bibliography, which is referenced throughout the book, for those wishing to read more on any individual species and the index refers to plates and text, and is concise, easy-to-use and contains both scientific and common names together.

The size of this book is a little large for an identification guide but considering the large amount of information contained within it the size remains manageable, although a large pocket would be needed to carry it in the field. The illustrations are excellent, although in some cases the plates are rather crammed full and sometimes it is a little difficult to see immediately which is which. This small problem is largely a result of the attempt that has been made to keep the book as small as possible.

This book is invaluable to birdwatchers in Thailand in the identification of some difficult shorebirds, particularly if trying to pick out a Little Stint from thousands of Rufous-necked Stints, and is also interesting if speculating which shorebirds could arrive as "new" vagrants. Some distribution maps are interesting in that they reveal some surprises, for example Swinhoe's Snipe would appear to be a common winter visitor to Thailand, but in reality is almost never recorded. This could reflect an inaccuracy in the maps or, more likely, that this species is under recorded due to its similarity to other species. If birders have any aspirations to pick out a Swinhoe's Snipe from Common or Pintail, or indeed dealing with many other similar species within Thailand or anywhere else in the world, then this book is essential.

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