Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research Vol. 13, No. 2, 2003. Copyright © 2003 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


Several books regarding the status and distribution of the birds of Nebraska have appeared since 1980, including annotated checklists (Paul Johnsgard, A Preliminary List of the Birds of Nebraska and Adjacent Great Plains States [1980]; Johnsgard, The Birds of Nebraska and Adjacent Plains States [1997]; T. E. Bray et al., The Birds of Nebraska: A Critically Evaluated List [1986]) and treatments of breeding birds (James E. Ducey and Johnsgard, Nebraska Birds: Breeding Status and Distribution [1988]), but none of these is a truly comprehensive account of the state's avifauna. The current volume is aimed at just such a niche and does a fine job of filling it. Like most books in this genre, Birds of Nebraska contains pertinent introductory material, but the bulk of the book is comprised of individual species accounts. The introductory chapters cover geology, climate, habitats (accompanied by a photographic gallery), and a history of Nebraska ornithology. Color maps of native and current vegetation, geographic regions, and counties are also provided. The treatments of habitats and ornithological history are more extensive than is typical for such volumes and provide some engaging reading. Concluding material includes an excellent and wide-ranging bibliography relating to Nebraska birds and a gazetteer with brief descriptions of the locations listed in the species accounts.