The latest installment of book reviews for Princeton Press who graciously provided me a review copy...
South American, the Bird Continent. Who doesn't aspire to eventually go (or return there)? This book contains every flycatcher, manakin, antwhatever, swallow, tanager, along with tapaculos, tityras, and donacobiuses (though it turns out there's only one donacobius, so I guess we don't need to worry about whatever the plural is). And lots more. 1900-2000 species are illustrated in a book about the size of an Eastern Peterson (though with 400 birds it's a little thicker) on a little less than 200 plates, with brief info about each species on the facing page.
Let's open it, shall we? To some random page, how about 314?
Though it's probably easier to judge using birds we're all familiar with
However, this book isn't really a field guide. While it does give some concise information about the bird's identification, its habitat and voice, and the book is small, I don't think anyone would carry it in the field given that the overwhelming majority of the birds aren't going to be possible in any given region. What it is, is an excellent (and at $22 on amazon a very economic) reference book for the armchair birder. While many of us have a few (or more) field guides to various regions (I think I have 5-6 for Central America and 1 for Equador), this helps give a much broader picture of bird distribution (and species possibilities). A person can see what overlap occurs between Colombia, Equador, and Peru, or what parts of Brazil would give a reasonable sampling of its birds.
Want to know how many attilas there are?
Want to stare at (one of 5 1/2 plates) of Antpittas that you're realistically only going to see on paper? No problem.