30 August 2011

Book Review: Birds of the West Indies

Birds of the West Indies by Norman Arlott is a concise 240 page book that is considered an illustrated checklist by Princeton University Press.  What I found is that this little volume is more than a checklist but almost as grand as a full fledged field guide. The text was superb and provided many insights on the species and the plates are certainly colorful.  I especially like that the whole West Indies is covered.  As a travelor of the Carribean, this will be the perfect tome to keep in a bird bag as one island hops. 

With every great book there are a few setbacks and I could only find two with this one.  A personal pet peeve of mine is when the range maps are not found within the text and plates.  I know that this is an illustrated checklist and not a real field guide so this can be forgiven.  The other setback doesn't affect me personally but I will admit that the text is VERY small.  This volume packs a lot of punch and to include all the juicy tidbits the author decided to keep the font size little and the information big.  I am a fan of this and it's hardly fair to call it a setback but for some it may be an issue.

If you're planning a trip to the West Indies I would highly recommend adding this book to your library.  I think it would be the perfect addition in the field and small enough to fit in any travel bag.  I wish I had it on my last trip to Puerto Rico but I'm sure that I'll be back to the West Indies soon enough and this little guide will be going along with me for the ride.  

Princeton University Press has a whole line of Illustrated Checklists that cover diverse regions of the world if you're interested. 

This review copy was provided by Princeton University Press.  All photos taken from the PUP website.

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