Listers Tickers or twitchers” ornithologistspeak for those who have master lists of all the bird species in the world, and delight in marking off each species they have spotted will find this book a joy.
The first third of the book provides 74 colour plates and facing-page descriptions of every species of living bird recorded from New Zealand.
There is even a page for five species exterminated since 1900, just in case you should happen upon a huia or piopio at the bird bath.
Although small, the illustrations are lucid, with most species depicted in all their guises non-breeding, immature, male, female, even in flight. Accompanying descriptions give physical details, a distribution map, habitat and calls for each species.
But there is much more. The bulk of the book is occupied by detail about the biology, behaviour, distribution, ecology and conservation status of the 328 species that have been found here, and a list of key references is given for each.
Expect to find all that is significant, but no wasted words. The volume has a pleasing heft to it, but is not too bulky to be squeezed into the corner of a rucksack.
The book is a descendant of the original field guide to the birds of New Zealand, produced by Falla, Sibson and Turbott in 1966, but is a completely new work.
Like the original field guide, this volume has close links to the Ornithological Society of New Zealand, and the authors are donating their profits to the society to support bird research.