Paperback(Third Edition)

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"The island nation of Trinidad and Tobago has long served as a window on South American birdlife. Birders have been visiting the two islands in large numbers since the 1960s, when Asa Wright converted an unproductive plantation into one of the first neotropical ‘ecotourist traps.’ Anyone traveling to Trinidad and Tobago shouldn’t leave home without this work."—Journal of Field Ornithology

"This book will be wanted by any birder visiting Trinidad and Tobago, as well as by many ornithologists as a general reference."—Wilson Bulletin

Members of nearly all the families of South American birds can be found on the two beautiful West Indian islands of Trinidad and Tobago, where the pleasant climate, varied habitat, and avian diversity create a "birder’s paradise." This easy-to-use book is the third edition of a comprehensive yet compact field guide to all 477 species of the islands’ birds, including 35 new species accounts added to the country’s bird list since the last edition. Richard ffrench’s work has been a "bible" to birders since the appearance of the first edition in 1973. This new edition incorporates five decades of his notes and records of the island’s birds to present in a handy and readable form detailed and comprehensive information about the birds of Trinidad and Tobago.
Showcasing 40 all-new color plates by the very best bird artists working under the direction of John P. O’Neill, the third edition now includes illustrations of not only the islands’ endemic and resident species, but also the many migratory species that visit the islands from both the north and the south. The taxonomic arrangement and treatment of families and species has also been brought in line with the most recent determinations of the A.O.U. Committee on Nomenclature for a thoroughly up-to-date presentation.
In his introduction, Richard ffrench offers a full treatment of the history of ornithology in Trinidad and Tobago and sets the scene by describing the islands’ physiography, climate, and vegetation. Individual species accounts, arranged by family, make up the core of this identification guide. The accounts cover habitat and status, range and subspecies, field description and basic measurements, voice, food, nesting, and behavior. Richard ffrench’s summary of the distribution of species and their breeding and migration, as well as local conservation and protection measures, makes this volume much more than a typical field-guide treatment, and invites visitors to this premier ecotourism destination.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801473647
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 12/04/2012
Edition description: Third Edition
Pages: 436
Sales rank: 797,014
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

The late Richard ffrench first went to the West Indies in 1955, and pursued his avocation of ornithology for the rest of his life; after returning to the UK he frequently led field trips to the neotropics.

John P. O'Neill is an acclaimed bird artist.

Table of Contents

List of Colour Plates xi

Tribute to Don R. Eckelberry xiii

About the Asa Wright Nature Centre xv

Foreword Carol J. James xvii

Preface to the Third Edition Richard ffrench xix

Editor's Note R. Geoff Gibbs xxiii

Artist Acknowledgments John P. O 'Neill xxv

Map of the Caribbean Area xxviii

Introduction 1

Characteristics Included in the Species Accounts 29

Species Accounts 33


Tinamidae: Tinamous 35


Anhimidae: Screamers 36

Anatidae: Ducks 36


Cracidae: Guans and Chachalacas 44


Podicipedidae: Grebes 47


Procellariidae: Petrels and Shearwaters 48

Hydrobatidae: Storm-Petrels 51


Phaethontidae: Tropicbirds 52

Sulidae: Boobies 53

Pelecanidae: Pelicans 56

Phalacrocoracidae: Cormorants 57

Anhingidae: Anhingas or Darters 58

Fregatidae: Frigatebirds 59


Ardeidae: Herons 60

Cochleariidae: Boat-billed Herons 74

Threskiornitbidae: Ibises and Spoonbills 75

Ciconiidae: Storks 78

Cathartidae: New World Vultures 80


Phoenicopteridae: Flamingoes 83


Accipitridae: Kites, Hawks, Eagles, and Allies 83

Falconidae: Caracaras and Falcons 101

Gruiformes Rallidae: Rails, Gallinules, and Coots 106

Heliornithidae: Sungrebes 115

Aramidae: Limpkins 116


Burhinidae: Thick-knees 116

Charadriidae: Plovers 117

Haematopodidae: Oystercatchers 122

Recurvirostridae: Stilts and Avocets 123

Jacanidae: Jacanas 124

Scolopacidae: Sandpipers and Snipe 125

Laridae: Skuas, Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers 142


Columbidae: Pigeons and Doves 159


Psittacidae: Macaws, Parrots, and Parakeets 169


Cucuhdae: Cuckoos 176


Tytonidae: Barn Owls 182

Strigidae: Owls 183


Caprimulgidae: Nighthawks and Nightjars 187

Nyctibiidae: Potoos 193

Steatornithidae: Oilbirds 194


Apodidae: Swifts 195

Trochilidae: Hummingbirds 202


Trogonidae: Trogons 217


Momotidae: Motmots 219

Alcedinidae: Kingfishers 220


Galbulidae: Jacamars 223

Ramphastidae: Toucans 224

Picidae: Woodpeckers 226


Furnariidae: Ovenbirds 230

Dendrocolaptidae: Woodcreepers 234

Thamnophilidae: Antbirds 238

Formicariidae: Ground Antbirds 244

Tyrannidae: Tyrant Flycatchers 246

Cotingidae: Cotingas 278

Pipridae: Manakins 280

Vireonidae: Vireos and Peppershrikes 285

Hirundinidae: Swallows 289

Troglodytidae: Wrens 295

Sylviidae: Old World Warblers and Gnatcatchers 297

Turdidae: Thrushes 299

Mimidae: Mockingbirds 304

Motacillidae: Pipits and Wagtails 306

Parulidae: Wood Warblers 306

Coerebidae: Bananaquits 317

Thraupidae: Tanagers and Allies 319

Emberizidae: Seedeaters, Grassquits, and Allies 335

Cardinalidae: Grosbeaks and Buntings 346

Icteridae: American Orioles and Blackbirds 350

Fringillidae: Cardueline Finches, Euphonias, and Allies 362

Passeridae: Old World Sparrows 366

Estrildidae: Estrildid Finches 366

Appendix: Species Checklist for Trinidad and Tobago, with Locations of Collected Specimens 369

Bibliography 383

Index of Scientific Names 397

Index of Common Names 403

Colour plates follow page 172

What People are Saying About This

Moss Taylor

"For a book to go to a third edition forty years after it was first published speaks volumes for its author [and] it will remain as a fitting legacy to this doyen of Caribbean ornithology. With an expanded Introduction, updated Species Accounts and the inclusion of all accepted records up to 2010, it is valuable as both a reference book and a most enjoyable read.... The greatest change from the previous editions are 40 brand new color plates, illustrating all but the rarest birds recorded in Trinidad & Tobago. The larger format of the book (yet still small enough to be carried in the field) has allowed the eight artists to beautifully and accurately illustrate the birds of these delightful islands. It will certainly accompany me on my next trip there."

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