Saturday, 12 September 2020

All the Birds of the World from Lynx Edicions - A Book Review


Lynx Edicions is fast becoming my favourite publishers of high-quality wildlife literature. I have been collecting their Handbook of the Mammals of the World series, a landmark 9 volume series detailing every single mammal known to science at the time of writing.

Lynx’s first epic work was the 16 volume Handbook to the Birds of the World. Priced at about £120 per volume this was a little rich for my blood and so I was delighted that this year they released a book entitled All the Birds of the World. This mighty tome is not as hefty as one might as imagine, given that it includes a colour plate drawing of every species known to science. By focusing on the image of the bird and removing all written information Lynx have managed to distil each bird to the essential information outlined by Josep del Hoyo Calduch’s full works.

Each species is rendered in a beautiful illustration which is accompanied by its approximate size, nomenclature, taxonomy, number of sub-species, IUCN status and a simple map of its distribution. The genius part of the book is the inclusion of a QR code for each species. This offloads a wealth of images, sound clips and videos to the online resources of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that can be used to supplement the sparse text.

Lynx products excel in their presentation. Each page is a work of art and scrupulously researched by experts. The paper is heavy duty and close. The cover is hardback with a protective sturdy gloss dustjacket and with a strong binding. You also get a large laminated bookmark with an explanation of the information provided and a list of the country codes.

With images taking centre stage the book very much illustrates the beauty and diversity of the avian world. The nuances of speciation are laid out on each page and provide a powerful representation of Wallace and Darwin’s principles of natural selection.

Lynx books are not the cheapest, but they are most definitely of the highest quality. I am biased as a lover of books, but this volume is first rate and a welcome addition to my slowly bending bookshelf.

All the Birds of the World can be purchased from Lynx Edicions

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