Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version


Document Type



The Nebraska Bird Review Vol. 87 No. 2 (2019), pp 62-65


Published by the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union, Inc.


This book is a tour de force.

Not only is it a comprehensive summary of field identification, range, and taxonomy of species of the New World family Passerellidae, but the introductory paragraphs for each species, which describe the provenance of the English and Latin species names we know today, read like a historical novel that is a perfect vehicle for Wright to display his well-known erudition and could quite justifiably stand alone. Wright’s extensive research into often obscure places and sources that may be penetrated and interpreted only by one with his classical literary background is clear in these historical accounts. ...

Overall, I highly recommend this book, even if only for its readable and entertaining historical account of North American sparrows. However, it is much more: it is a complete and wide-ranging compendium of the latest knowledge on distribution, identification, and taxonomy to the subspecies levels that will serve as an icon of its genre, an icon attainable only by the few writers able to delve into the eclectic combination of subject areas expounded upon by Wright.