birding-aus Buying Bird Books; E. Whipbirds not dimorphic?

Subject: birding-aus Buying Bird Books; E. Whipbirds not dimorphic?
From: (Syd Curtis)
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999 20:19:36 +1000
Hi all,

        "Traps for young players."  Or in this case, an old player trapped!

After reading a favourable review of a new edition of Pizzey & Knight, a
field guide I had not previously owned, I bought a copy.  (This some time

Last week a zoologist friend showed me the Whipbird page in his copy
because it appeared to show an immature (or was it juvenile) female
Eastern.  My friend has had a particular interest in Eastern Whipbirds for
many years, considers them not to be sexually dimorphic, and wondered at
the illustration.  Other illustrations in the book seem not to identify the
sex of immatures.

I thought to put a query on birding-aus, and got out my copy.  The female
is simply labelled as female and is very different from the male.  This
caused me to do what I ahould have done in the book-shop: look for the date
of publication.

"First published in 1997."  "Text copyright Graham Pizzey 1997."  My friend
says his copy, purchased a few weeks ago, was published in 1999, and is the
third reprint.

Clearly I was sold old stock.  Caveat emptor!

What I reckon has happened, and my friend agrees that this seems probable,
is that the book came out with the female shown as different from the male.
Someone pointed out the error.  It was simple to add immature but
difficult to remove the female sign for the later edition.

Anyone want to buy a 1997 Pizzey & Knight, almost unused?  No, I thought
not.  Oh well, such is life!


Syd (I'll be more careful next time) Curtis at Hawthorne in Queensland

H Syd Curtis

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