Re: birding-aus Melanesia

Subject: Re: birding-aus Melanesia
From: Ronald Orenstein <>
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 00:21:40 -0500
At 12:31 PM 17/12/1999 +1000, Phil Gregory wrote:
G'day birders,
I've not yet had a chance to take a look at Doughty's Solomon's guide, I am keen to get hold of it. Regarding the Bismarcks (New Britain and New Ireland) and Admiralty Islands (Manus), Guy Dutson spent a year researching the entire Melanesian area (Vanuatu and Solomons included) with a view to producing a Melanesian Field Guide.

After receiving the Doughty guide today I hope another guide is in the works. I would call the Doughty guide just adequate - the text is minimal with very little on behaviour, the plates are variable (with Nicolas Day's plates much better than Andrew Plant's), there is almost no introduction to the area itself etc. I think the area deserves a much more thorough treatment -the Doughty book has only 206 pages, of which 91 are plates.

The plates are a bit misleading in spots, particularly in matters of scale - for example, the Fearful Owl is shown to be the size of a Barn Owl, when (as the measurements given show) it is quite a bit larger. One real problem I have is with the plate and account of the New Caledonian Owlet Nightjar. The text makes no mention of its rediscovery, and the bird in the plate is clearly an Australian Owlet Nightjar - the plate in Handbook of the Birds of the World shows a very different-looking bird, with no crown-band and with dark, barred underparts. As HBW notes this error has been made before, and there is only one specimen of the NC bird, but still, the mistake is unfortunate.

Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          
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