Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan … they all have birds, it turns out. Until now there has never been a field guid to the birds of this regino. Raffael Aye, Manuel Schweizer, and Tobias Roth have written one, and it is called, fittingly, Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan.
It covers 618 species using 143 plates with multiple birds on a plate, set up in classic Peterson Field Guide format with the range maps right with the bird descriptions across from the illustrations. The illustrations are drawings showing key features. There is a brief but informative overview of habitats to help make sense of the range maps and some helpful information on organizations linked to Central Asian birds and birding, but overall the front matter (and back matter) is minimal. I think that was a good choice given how many birds needed to be crammed into this one book.
To me, the Central Asian bird fauna looks lot like the Central North American bird fauna but with about double or triple the diversity and most of the names are different! The area covered is rather large, running from the Sapsian Sean to China (west to east) and the southern border of Russia to Pakistan and India (to the south). If you are going to the region, this is a good choice among the many …. oh no, wait, there is only one field guid. Let me rephrase: If you are going to the region, you will find this field guid to be useful and the fact that it has no competitors has not diminished its quality. It is a great field guide.