Sand-plover IDs again

To: "John Clifton-Everest" <>
Subject: Sand-plover IDs again
From: "Andrew Stafford" <>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 10:34:48 +1100

You are not the first person to be confused by the apparent lack of
consistency in our field guides. This is a discussion that has taken place
many times on birding-aus.

Briefly, generalist field guides such as ours find it harder to cover
difficult groups (chiefly seabirds and waders) because of the lack of space
available to illustrate the many variations in age, sex, race, moult and so

This is why we now have field guides dedicated solely to different groups of
birds. The pioneering work of this kind is still probably the best on the
market: Shorebirds by Hayman, Marchant and Prater (Helm, 1986). Had you had
access to this title, I doubt you would have had the problems you describe.

Even then it's worth remembering one obvious fact: birds don't read books!

Cheers, AS

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