Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


BOOK REVIEWS- Nebraska Bird Review September 1983

Copyright 1983, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


Wading Birds of the World, Eric and Richard Soothill. 334 pp., 6 x 91/2, Blandford Press, England, Sterling Publishing Co. Inc., New York. Hardbound, indexed, $29.95.

This book covers the sixteen orders of wading birds, over 300 species. The book consists of discussions of the individual species. As a minimum it gives "Description" and "Habitat and Distribution"; for the more important species it includes "Description", "Characteristics and Behaviour", "Habitat", "Food", "Voice", "Display" (surprisingly often "not recorded" or the like), "Breeding", "Distribution", a color photo or a line drawing (96 color, 70 line), and a map of the world (about two inches wide) showing the breeding distribution. For those species whose common name in America differs from that in Britain (this is a British book) the American name is given in the species account and included in the index. There is one exception - we regard the Black-necked Stilt as a separate species (Himantopus mexicanus). It is not indexed by either name, and the only indication in the book of its existence is the following sentence under "Distribution" of the Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus): "H. h. mexicanus breeds in southern and western USA, through Central America, the West Indies, and the coastlands of north-western. South America (there is also a black-necked variety, with black head, hindneck, and upper face; with white forehead, and white patch over eye)." but once one knows this, there is no problem. The book's order is not that of the new AOU Checklist, but with the large number on Non-American birds the index would be quicker anyhow. There is a one page biography. (This book, like Palmer, lumps the White-faced Ibis with the Glossy Ibis. The index entry is a parenthetical entry under Glossy; no entry under W.)