Re: RFI: 20thC Australian bird books

To: "Robert Inglis" <>
Subject: Re: RFI: 20thC Australian bird books
From: Paul Jacobson <>
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2007 13:09:02 +1100
Even the earliest HANZAB is some 15-20 years newer than say "Birds of Australia" or the two volume Slater, so I wasn't intending to dismiss the series with my somewhat tongue in check comment about last century.

That said I have come across a comment made by Don Roberson claiming that Volume One was out-of-date at publication. It seems fairly uncharitable to dismiss the entire volume on the basis of updated information being published on some of the petrels. For the record I've appended the comment and a link to the site it is taken from.


"There is a handbook series on-going (Marchant & Higgins 1991 et al.) entitled Handbook of Australian, New Zealand, and Antarctic Birds. It is modeled closely after the Birds of the Western Palearctic (Cramp & Simmons 1978 et al.), published by the same publisher, and of the same general high quality. Alas, the first volume appeared in 1991 and therefore just missed incorporating all the new identification & distributional information on small Pterodroma petrels published by me and others (Roberson & Bailey 1991, Spear et al. 1992). Since many of these originate in New Zealand or vicinity, the first volume was immediately out-of-date when it appeared. I admit it turned me off to read numerous errors in the Pterodroma sections, and I ended up not buying this set (it is also incredible expensive, even for a handbook). I have used other folk's copies for research since, though, and the more recent volumes seem quite good."

(1991 Cookilaria petrels in the eastern Pacific Ocean: Identification and distribution. Part I: Am. Birds 45: 399-403. Part II: Am. Birds 45: 1067-1081; as senior author with Stephen F. Bailey.)

On 15/03/2007, at 12:38 PM, Robert Inglis wrote:

I just thought I would point out that half the volumes in HANZAB were published last century.
Volume I was published in 1990.

I will leave it to others to decide if the information therein is "out of date" or still relevant but my set will be remaining within easy reach for the foreseeable future.


Bob Inglis
Sandstone Point

Paul Jacobson

mob: 0434 534 161

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