Princeton University Press has released a beautiful new guide to the birds of India and the surrounding region:

A photographic guide to the birds of indiaA Photographic Guide to the Birds of India
Incluidng: Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh

It is promoted as the only comprehensive photographic field guide to the birds of the entire Indian subcontinent. Every distinct species and subspecies–some 1,375 in all–is covered with photographs, text, and maps. The guide features more than 4,000 stunning photographs, many never before published, which have been carefully selected to illustrate key identification features of each species. The text includes concise descriptions of plumage, voice, range, habitat, and recent taxonomic changes. Each species has a detailed map reflecting the latest distribution information and containing notes on status and population density. The guide also features an introduction that provides an overview of birdlife and a brief history of ornithology in India and its neighbors. The result is an encyclopedic photographic guide that is essential for everyone birding anywhere in the subcontinent.

• Covers all 1,375 subcontinental bird species
• Features more than 4,000 stunning photographs to aid quick field identification
• Includes up-to-date facing-page text and range maps
• Contains concise descriptions of plumage, voice, habitat, and much more

One of the most interesting features of the guide is the used of background colors behind the text and images.  Some backgrounds are a solid color and other images show the bird in its surroundings, with the text over the background.  This approach leads to a very beautiful guide but in some cases the text is difficult to read.  The range maps are small and some text is very small and may be difficult for some people to read.

About the authors:
Bikram Grewal is the author of more than twenty books, including A Photographic Guide to the Birds of India and the Indian Subcontinent (Princeton). Sumit Sen is an expert birder and photographer whose work has been published in books and journals worldwide. Sarwandeep Singh runs the popular birding website Birds of India and is one of India’s leading bird photographers. Nikhil Devasar runs the Delhi Bird Club and is a widely published bird photographer. Garima Bhatia is an avid birder and photographer who has traveled widely in India and beyond.

Another photo guide to India:
An earlier photographic guide to the birds of India and the surrounding area has a similar name:

A Photographic Guide to the Birds of India: And the Indian Subcontinent, Including Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka & the Maldives
By: Bikram Grewal, Bill Harvey, Otto Pfister

It was published in 2002, also by Princeton University Press.

It is an excellent guide but digital photography has increased the availability of much better photographs than were available in 2002.  The text and descriptions are informative but the presentation and photographs do not compare with the new guide.


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