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.

Comments

  1. #1 Tlazolteotl
    November 4, 2012

    As someone interested both in birds and birding, and in the cultures and history of Central Asia, this sounds like a book that will definitely be on my radar! Thanks!

  2. #2 Digit Embroidery
    http://digitembroidery.wordpress.com/
    November 12, 2012

    Main Oriental fowl wildlife looks lot like the Main North American fowl wildlife but with about exponentially increase the variety and most of the titles are different! The area protected is rather large, running from the Sapsian He to Chinese suppliers (west to east) and the southeast edge of Italy to Pakistan and Indian (to the south).

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