WorldTwitch (New York USA)

Awards 2004

WorldTwitch 2004 Best Bird Book - Australasia

(Three Awards)

Michael Morcombe. Field Guide to Australian Birds: Complete Compact Edition. Steve Parrish Publishing 2004. ISBN: 1740215591. 4" x 8.5". 384 pages. This is the most compact Australian field guide since Slater (1986). It sets new standards for usability and for use of available space in a compact field guide, cramming an enormous quantity of helpful information into a narrow book only slightly heavier than Slater. Whereas Slater is arranged conventionally, with text on left and bird plates on right, Morcombe merges color bird illustrations with related text, with concise ID notes next to each Peterson pointer. Graduated color range maps show subspecies. Summary pages grouping thumbnails of similar species are useful for navigation and size comparisons. This is the book I would carry in the field in Australia.

Michael Morcombe. Field Guide to Australian Birds. Steve Parish Publishing. ISBN: 174021417X. Revised edition, 2004 (2000). 448 pages. About 3400 illustrations and 800 maps, with 1000 illustrations of nests and eggs. The revised edition includes at least seven new color plates. Tremendous amount of useful information in a large (6.5" x 9.5") field guide. Improved Simpson & Day format, with species separation lines carried across to the facing plates to align paintings with text. Peterson pointers and detailed notes on the plates, as in Mullarney et al., only much more extensive - almost like a field notebook, taking full advantage of the large paper format. Probably the best of the guides I have seen for foreign twitchers learning the Australian birds. Birds of territorial islands, i.e., Christmas, Lord Howe, Torres Strait, Heard, etc., are covered in the same fashion in an appendix.


Field Guide to Australian Birds - Michael Morcombe

If you are a bird watcher, this is the book for you. It is an encyclopaedic collection of 850 species of Australian birds, written and painted by a man who has been working in this field all his life. There is an entry for each bird, dealing with identification, habitat and nesting habits. Opposite each individual description are a number of colour illustrations of individual birds drawn from various angles, which make for easy identification. This book is comprehensive, able to be carried without much difficulty and an indispensable tool for all bird lovers.