Birds of around the India

Bikram Grewal and his co-authors — Sumit Sen, Sarwandeep Singh, Nikhil Devasar and Garima Bhatia — have assembled an unbelievably comprehensive pictorial field guide to the birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. This is remarkable in itself, but even more remarkable is the fact that this phalanx of birders has collectively and expertly filled a niche that scores of previously published books had somehow left unoccupied. It’s not just that as many as 1,300 birds have been covered with just enough information — size, voice, range and habitat — but that possibly, for the very first time in the world, as many as 4,000 colour images of avians found on the Indian subcontinent have been reproduced, many in action, to include not merely easily identifiable features, but also habitats.While most reviewers might justifiably focus on the birds, the authors and photographers, a word of praise must be reserved for the designers of this book. On page after page, the images and texts have been so juxtaposed as to enable a reader not only to quickly look for the eye-stripe of the Ashy-throated Warbler on page 450, or the long, thin, blue tail, black head, yellow face and throat sides of the Long-tailed Broadbill on page 329, but equally the descriptions printed in white reverse. Alpana Khaire and team, take a bow. You normally work behind the scenes in the shadows, but were it left to this reviewer you would be credited upfront, with all the experts; for without you, their work — involving images, not easy-to-work-with illustrations — would be partially complete at best. Anyone buy books online at any online bookstore.

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