This entirely new and authoritative work of reference has been planned to take account of the great advances that have been made in ornithological knowledge since the publication of the Handbook of British Birds (1938-41), which for many years provided the basis on which ornithological research in the UK was built. Ornithologists now work on a wider geographical basis, and this new Handbook covers the whole of the Western Palearctic, which includes all Europe together with the Middle East to Turkey, Iraq, and Jordan, and Africa south to about 19 degrees N.
The nine volumes of which this is the ninth, contain: Descriptions of over 770 species of birds occurring in the Western Palearctic, of which about 600 are breeding species. Each breeding species is described in full, with entries averaging about 10 pages of text and sections on field characters, habitat, distribution, mortality, population (with maps showing the breeding and wintering areas), movements, food social pattern and behaviour, breeding, voice, plumages, moults, measurements, weights, structure, and geographical variation. Regular migrants and accidental species are also treated under these headings where relevant.;This volume contains descriptions of 61 species. Illustrations of each species in the form of specially commissioned colour plates, showing the full range of normal plumage together with more distant flight views.
The artists for this volume are Norman Arlott, Trevor Boyer, Ian Lewington, and C E Talbot-Kelly. Colour plates of eggs, black-and-white illustrations, and many text-figures showing such features as display postures, voice sonagrams and melograms, and annual cycles. A bibliography and indexes in each volume. This volume also contains indexes to all nine volumes.
In addition to the large editorial team, many experts from a wide range of countries have been called on for advice, and co-operation with the editors of more specialized works on parts of the area has been sought throughout. The Handbook is an indispensable work of reference, both for the professional scientist and for the ever-growing body of amateur ornithologists whose range of interests is expanding every year.