Author Topic: Book recommendations  (Read 13056 times)

tyrantqueen

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Book recommendations
« on: December 20, 2012, 12:29:11 AM »
We have this thread at DTF, so why not start one here too? Post your recommendations for reference books about animals, whether they be mammals, insects, birds, fish or whatever :) I'm sort of a bibliophile anyway, so this was bound to crop up eventually.

I'm particularly interested in a good reference for reptiles and amphibians. I have The Ultimate Guide to Snakes & Reptiles: An Illustrated Encyclopedia with More Than 465 Photographs by Derek Hall...


...but I did not find it comprehensive enough. I would like to have as many species as possible, with good information and photos. Sort of like a Princeton Field Guide.

I am also getting The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Birds of the World: The Ultimate Reference Source and Identifier for 1600 Birds, Profiling Habitat, Plumage, Nesting and Food by David Alderton for Christmas this year. I would like to get The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Animals of the World: An Expert Reference Guide to 840 Amphibians, Reptiles and Mammals from Every Continent by Tom Jackson too. Does anyone own it?
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 01:21:39 PM by animaltoyforum »



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brontodocus

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2012, 10:14:43 AM »
I agree we should have such a book recommendations thread here, too, so it was a good idea to bring it up, Tyrantqueen. :)

Since you've mentioned Gregory S. Pauls "Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs", it is an exception to the Princeton Field Guides series because it actually isn't a proper field guide. But others are. I have "Sharks of the World" by Compagno, Dando & Fowler:

I'd like to recommend this for all shark enthusiasts who like to know how to identify different shark species. Compagno is one of the world's leading shark experts and the book includes virtually all extant shark species with a short description, diagnostic features, geographical & bathymetric distribution, and very good colour drawings. As opposed to Gregory S. Paul's book, the taxonomy used here is widely accepted. It is, as usual for a field guide, much smaller in its dimensions. Of the shark books I have, this is them most comprehensive. I'd also like to know if other members can recommend more books from the Princeton Field Guides, so any thoughts about them would be helpful! :)
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 01:21:54 PM by animaltoyforum »

Jetoar

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2012, 01:18:56 PM »
In Spain we find these books that tehy are amazing because they have currently information and a lot of images of sharks. These books are Omega editorial.

The firts is it: Sharks of the world.



And the second is the old version but they have another format: Sharks of Iberian water, North Est Atlantic and Mediterranean sea.



I have these books and I have not found better books in my country  ^-^.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 01:22:15 PM by animaltoyforum »
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Ana

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2012, 02:09:03 PM »
I search book about birds anatomy. Preferable with descriptions of anatomical differences between birds' groups and families. Any recommendations?  :)
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 02:09:45 PM by Ana »

brontodocus

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2012, 02:33:22 PM »
In Spain we find these books that tehy are amazing because they have currently information and a lot of images of sharks. These books are Omega editorial.

The firts is it: Sharks of the world.


Jetoar, I'm pretty sure that this is actually the Spanish edition of the Princeton Field Guide. :) The authors are the same, the book covers 440+ species and the artwork on the title are the same drawings (if I remember correctly they were done by Marc Dando) that are in the Field Guide.
I search book about birds anatomy. Preferable with descriptions of anatomical differences between birds' groups and families. Any recommendations?  :)
So you are searching for books that focus on morphology and bird evolution? My knowledge about those is pretty slim, alas. :-\ I have quite a lot of field guides (and could recommend some of them) and they do contain characters to identify the species but they are generally not that morphology based to explain anatomical differences between families and don't list apomorphies. Maybe somebody else here can help and recommend some?



tyrantqueen

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2012, 03:50:33 PM »
I search book about birds anatomy. Preferable with descriptions of anatomical differences between birds' groups and families. Any recommendations?  :)
Well, in regards to bird anatomy specifically, there was an out-of-print book called Ghetie's Anatomical Atlas of Domestic Birds, which had lots of very good plates of dissections of bird anatomy. It is very comprehensive. It's not available to buy anymore, but luckily it can be downloaded here for free http://www.oucom.ohiou.edu/dbms-witmer/1976_Ghetie_Avian_Anatomical_Atlas.pdf

http://witmerlab.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/ghetie%E2%80%99s-atlas-of-avian-anatomy-a-virtually-unknown-treasure%E2%80%A6now-available/

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2012, 04:45:34 PM »
Thank You so much TQ!!!! ^-^ ^-^ ^-^

Brontodocus, thank You too! Well, I think the book recommended by TQ will help me to start somewhere hah :) Maybe I shall search books about particular families of birds, one book with them all plus with descriptions of anatomy may be hard to find indeed.  :)
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 07:14:59 PM by Ana »

Jetoar

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2012, 06:53:51 PM »
In Spain we find these books that tehy are amazing because they have currently information and a lot of images of sharks. These books are Omega editorial.

The firts is it: Sharks of the world.


Jetoar, I'm pretty sure that this is actually the Spanish edition of the Princeton Field Guide. :) The authors are the same, the book covers 440+ species and the artwork on the title are the same drawings (if I remember correctly they were done by Marc Dando) that are in the Field Guide.
I search book about birds anatomy. Preferable with descriptions of anatomical differences between birds' groups and families. Any recommendations?  :)
So you are searching for books that focus on morphology and bird evolution? My knowledge about those is pretty slim, alas. :-\ I have quite a lot of field guides (and could recommend some of them) and they do contain characters to identify the species but they are generally not that morphology based to explain anatomical differences between families and don't list apomorphies. Maybe somebody else here can help and recommend some?


Ok rehén i have the Spanish version of this amazing book   ^-^. Thanks for your answer friend.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 06:55:08 PM by Jetoar »
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Varanus

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2012, 09:22:59 PM »
I'd also like to know if other members can recommend more books from the Princeton Field Guides, so any thoughts about them would be helpful! :)

I'd be happy help! ;D  I'd highly recommend all of the Princeton bird field guides.  There are two main varieties, illustrated checklists and actual field guides; both serve the same function.  The former tends to be slimmer, has less, text, range maps are in the back, and the illustrations are good but very painted looking.  Some are better than others.  The latter group is all excellent, but the more recent additions seem bulkier with more text and a different layout (no color plates, just illustrations next to each entry).  I'll tell you more when I have more time. ;)

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2012, 10:31:50 PM »
Ah, thanks for the info, Varanus! :) Do you have other field guides by them, too? I am especially interested in "Whales, Dolphins, and Other Marine Mammals of the World" and "Carnivores of the World". Oh, and I've just seen how many bird guides they have! :o 8)



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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2012, 11:03:53 PM »
Collins makes some great guides--Europe, African (large mammals and all mammals), and even an endangered mammals (although, sadly, it is becoming a bit of an extinct-mammal guide). I have a few different carnivore guides too.

What I want is Freshwater Fish guides (beyond just cichlids)! Anyone out there have one to recommend, in particular for Africa and South America (North America is easy, I've got lots)? Other than the Baensch Aquarium atlases (which aren't location specific).

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2012, 11:14:36 PM »
I agree we should have such a book recommendations thread here, too, so it was a good idea to bring it up, Tyrantqueen. :)

Since you've mentioned Gregory S. Pauls "Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs", it is an exception to the Princeton Field Guides series because it actually isn't a proper field guide. But others are. I have "Sharks of the World" by Compagno, Dando & Fowler:

I'd like to recommend this for all shark enthusiasts who like to know how to identify different shark species. Compagno is one of the world's leading shark experts and the book includes virtually all extant shark species with a short description, diagnostic features, geographical & bathymetric distribution, and very good colour drawings. As opposed to Gregory S. Paul's book, the taxonomy used here is widely accepted. It is, as usual for a field guide, much smaller in its dimensions. Of the shark books I have, this is them most comprehensive. I'd also like to know if other members can recommend more books from the Princeton Field Guides, so any thoughts about them would be helpful! :)

Does that book include rays and chimaera as well?


I'm particularly interested in a good reference for reptiles and amphibians. I have The Ultimate Guide to Snakes & Reptiles: An Illustrated Encyclopedia with More Than 465 Photographs by Derek Hall...


...but I did not find it comprehensive enough. I would like to have as many species as possible, with good information and photos. Sort of like a Princeton Field Guide.

You might need to get group-specific (eg lizards-only, snakes only) or area-specific references like this. A book that comprises the entire realm of living reptiles might actually be impossible!
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 11:15:46 PM by sbell »

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2012, 11:36:47 PM »
Does that book include rays and chimaera as well?
No, it's just sharks. But containing 440+ species it really is comprehensive. Even huge genera like Etmopterus are mostly complete and a few are figured that haven't been formally described, yet. There is a good one that includes the most important sharks, rays, and chimaeras of the world by Ralf Michael Hennemann "Fischführer Haie & Rochen weltweit"

but it seems to be sold out and is only in German. The book is much better than its cover looks like but it is heavily based on photographs rather than scientific drawings which is often not helpful when diagnostic characters are obscured in a photo.

Unfortunately, my freshwater fish guides are only focusing on European Species, so I can't help with those. :-\

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2012, 12:01:32 AM »
Does that book include rays and chimaera as well?
No, it's just sharks. But containing 440+ species it really is comprehensive. Even huge genera like Etmopterus are mostly complete and a few are figured that haven't been formally described, yet. There is a good one that includes the most important sharks, rays, and chimaeras of the world by Ralf Michael Hennemann "Fischführer Haie & Rochen weltweit"

but it seems to be sold out and is only in German. The book is much better than its cover looks like but it is heavily based on photographs rather than scientific drawings which is often not helpful when diagnostic characters are obscured in a photo.

Unfortunately, my freshwater fish guides are only focusing on European Species, so I can't help with those. :-\

German, sold out and photograph-heavy don't do much good!

It's interesting that I can only find reference to freshwater guides for Europe and N.America (I'd bet there's an Australian one out there though). Could this have anything to do with the huge task of trying to organize and list the freshwater faunas of Africa, Asia or South America? Other than aquarium atlases, which also tend to be photo-based.

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2012, 12:22:25 AM »
Yes, that and the fact that Europe and North America are the best studied continents regarding fauna.

tyrantqueen

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2012, 12:26:11 AM »
I'm thinking about getting the Princeton Field Guide Parrots Of the World, the illustrations look lovely. I think Princeton gets a thumbs up all round from me since their guides are usually fantastic.

Quote
Thank You so much TQ!!!
You're welcome :)

« Last Edit: December 21, 2012, 12:26:26 AM by tyrantqueen »

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Varanus

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2012, 02:34:40 AM »
Ah, thanks for the info, Varanus! :) Do you have other field guides by them, too? I am especially interested in "Whales, Dolphins, and Other Marine Mammals of the World" and "Carnivores of the World". Oh, and I've just seen how many bird guides they have! :o 8)

I don't have those two, but I have looked into them and they seem really good! :)

One of my goals in life to is to get enough field guides to cover every terrestrial vertebrate species in the world!  I'm almost done with birds, mammals are half way done (but finding comprehensive guides to them is really difficult), reptiles and amphibians will be the stumbling block probably as there are some major holes.  Here's a list of all the guides I'd recommend for various regions of the world.  Since it's a long list, we'll start with birds. :)

Birds:
- Field Guide to the Birds of North America (NatGeo, 6th, 2011): Extremely comprehensive and all around excellent!
- Birds of Melanesia (Princeton, 2011): Comprehensive and with good illustrations, the text and plates are mostly seperate though
- Birds of South America, Non-Passerines (Princeton Illustrated Checklist, 2006): The best of the checklists, highly recommend, includes Galapagos
- Field guide to the Songbirds of South America, The Passerines (Texas, 2009): comprehensive, not every species is illustrated but all are given text and have a range map, does not include Galapagos
- Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands, An Identification Guide (Wild Guides, 2nd, 2005): comprehensive, uses composites of photos not illustrations, good info and range maps
- Birds of Mexico and Central America (Princeton Illustrated Checklist, 2006): the only guide to all of this region, includes vagrants, range maps also show relative abundance, illustration okay but not great, text minimal
- A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific (Princeton, 1989): a little dated taxanomically but still the best to the region
- The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds (New Holland, 2006): very good, range maps don't show seasons, shows eggs for each species, I suspect the Princeton verison is probably at least as good but I don't own it to say for certain
- Birds of East Asia (Princeton, 2009): excellent, but when they say east Asia they really mean northeast Asia so don't expect to get all of China or any of southeast Asia
- Birds of Britain and Europe (Peterson, 1993): good but not great, anyone have a more up-to-date bird guide to this area? ???
- Birds of the West Indies (Princeton, 2003): excellent, tends to scatter different plumages of some birds on different pages though
- The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand (Penguin Books, 2005): highly recommend, includes a chapter on the best birding sites in New Zealand, also includes many distant islands and recently extinct species, taxonomy could use an update
- A Comprehensive Illustrated Field Guide to the Birds of Africa South of the Sahara (Struik Nature, 2003): highly recommend, all around excellent!
- Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands (Struik Nature, 2003): includes Madagascar and all surrounding islands, highly recommend, includes a chapter traveling and birding tips for the various islands
- Birds of Europe, Russia, China, and Japan (two volumes, non-passerines and passerines)(Princeton Illustrated Checklist, 2009 & 2007 respectively): covers all the holarctic including north africa and many islands and small countries not mentioned in the title, illustrations good, range maps very small and some are nearly useless, only guide to cover central Russia and a few other areas
- Birds of the Middle East (Princeton, 2nd, 2010): all around excellent
- Birds of India (Princeton, 1999): covers all the Indian subcontinent, very good but could probably use an update
- A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Bali (Oxford, 2009): excellent, the only guide to cover all of the Greater Sundas, Princeton makes a guide to just Borneo which is very good but for the same size this one covers more
- Birds of Southeast Asia (Princeton, 2005): very good overall but no range maps
- A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines (Oxford, 2000): highly recommend, excellent and the only one of its kind

Princeton recently released two other bird guides, one to Mongolia, and one to the "-stans" of central Asia.  I suspect both are excellent.  A third, covering Hawaii, the tropical Pacific, and New Zealand, is quite poor with little text and poor illustrations, the only thing it has going for it is that it's up-to-date taxanomically.

If your keeping track, you'll notice that a number of random islands (mainly in the southern hemisphere and the Atlantic) and the Lesser Sundas (Sulawsei, New Guinea, etc) don't have guides in production.  Princeton has been planning a guide to New Guinea for several years and it's due to come out some time next year, but it's been delayed a number of times before so I'm not too hopeful. :-\  Antarctica is essentially covered by these other guides.

Herps:
- A Field Guide the Reptiles of South-East Asia (New Holland, 2010): the only comprehensive guide to the region, not every species is illustrated but all get text, some of the numbering on the illustrations is off, includes mainland and Greater Sundas
- Western Reptiles and Amphibians of North America (Peterson, 2003): Could use an update but is still good, range maps at back, includes Baja California
- Eastern and Central Reptiles and Amphibians of North America (Peterson, 1998): Really needs an update, little distinction between what are subspecies and what are full species which gets confusing, range maps in text away from color plates.
- Field Guide to the Frogs of Australia (CSIRO, 2009): Excellent all around!
- Reptiles and Amphibians of Europe (Princeton, 2002): Very good illustrations, range maps, and text
- Reptiles of Australia (Princeton, 2003): Highly highly HIGHLY recommend!  Even includes species known only from specimens, uses photos not illustrations, includes photos of most color variations
- Lizards of the American Southwest (Rio Nuevo): highly recommend, excellent photos, lizard finding tips for each species, and good notes on range and variation.  If only a similar guide existed for other reptiles!

Biggest holes are most of South America, Mexico, the West Indies, the Lesser Sundas, random islands, much of Asia, and much of Africa.  Guides exist for Madagascar and Central America, but they're pricey and I don't own them yet.  Non-comprehensive guides exist for many regions, those about south and east Africa seem close to being comprehensive though.

Mammals:
- Guide to Marine Mammals of the World (National Audubon Society, Andrew Stewart Pub., 2008): Highly recommend, excellent illustrations and info, taxonomy could use a slight update
- Mammals of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East (A&C, 2009): very good and comprehensive
- Mammals of North America (Peterson, 2006): very good and comprehensive, range maps are in text
- The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals (Princeton Pocket Guides, 2004): excellent for such a small guide, comprehensize on larger species less so on rodents and bats, range maps a little confusing but very detailed
- A Field Guide the Mammals of central America and Southeast Mexico (Oxford, 2009): very comprehensive and excellent
- A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia (Oxford, 2004): highly recommend, excellent text and illustrations, includes recently extinct species

A series of three guides exists for South America and seems quite good.  Guides exist for China, Southeast Asia, India (not comprehensive), Madagascar, and New Zealand.

Fish:
- Freshwater Fish of North America (Peterson, 1991): good, could probably use an update, not all plates are in color
- Coral Reef Fishes (Princeton Pocket Guide, 2002): surprisingly comprehensive but appears to ignore the east Pacific, still excellent overall
- Sharks of the World (Princeton): as already mentioned ;)

The most difficult group to finds books for, perhaps I should search by family rather than by location.  Books exist for Europe; New Zealand; the coasts of North America, Australia, and Europe; and there's an out of print book on Australian freshwater fish.

Inverts:  Princeton makes two excellent guide to the dragon and damselflies of North America (east and west).  For butterflies I prefer the Kaufman guide for North America.  Oxford makes guides on the stick insects, grasshoppers and katydids, dragon and damselflies, and butterflies of Australia.  I have the butterfly one and it's excellent.  Other insect guides out there seem to be restricted to Europe and Nw Zealand.  Less than comprehensive guides exist for other regions.

I have other books I'd recommend, but I'll save those for another giant post! ;D
« Last Edit: December 21, 2012, 03:29:25 AM by Varanus »

tyrantqueen

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2012, 04:03:29 PM »
Ah, thanks for the info, Varanus! :) Do you have other field guides by them, too? I am especially interested in "Whales, Dolphins, and Other Marine Mammals of the World" and "Carnivores of the World". Oh, and I've just seen how many bird guides they have! :o 8)

I don't have those two, but I have looked into them and they seem really good! :)

One of my goals in life to is to get enough field guides to cover every terrestrial vertebrate species in the world!  I'm almost done with birds, mammals are half way done (but finding comprehensive guides to them is really difficult), reptiles and amphibians will be the stumbling block probably as there are some major holes.  Here's a list of all the guides I'd recommend for various regions of the world.  Since it's a long list, we'll start with birds. :)

Birds:
- Field Guide to the Birds of North America (NatGeo, 6th, 2011): Extremely comprehensive and all around excellent!
- Birds of Melanesia (Princeton, 2011): Comprehensive and with good illustrations, the text and plates are mostly seperate though
- Birds of South America, Non-Passerines (Princeton Illustrated Checklist, 2006): The best of the checklists, highly recommend, includes Galapagos
- Field guide to the Songbirds of South America, The Passerines (Texas, 2009): comprehensive, not every species is illustrated but all are given text and have a range map, does not include Galapagos
- Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands, An Identification Guide (Wild Guides, 2nd, 2005): comprehensive, uses composites of photos not illustrations, good info and range maps
- Birds of Mexico and Central America (Princeton Illustrated Checklist, 2006): the only guide to all of this region, includes vagrants, range maps also show relative abundance, illustration okay but not great, text minimal
- A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific (Princeton, 1989): a little dated taxanomically but still the best to the region
- The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds (New Holland, 2006): very good, range maps don't show seasons, shows eggs for each species, I suspect the Princeton verison is probably at least as good but I don't own it to say for certain
- Birds of East Asia (Princeton, 2009): excellent, but when they say east Asia they really mean northeast Asia so don't expect to get all of China or any of southeast Asia
- Birds of Britain and Europe (Peterson, 1993): good but not great, anyone have a more up-to-date bird guide to this area? ???
- Birds of the West Indies (Princeton, 2003): excellent, tends to scatter different plumages of some birds on different pages though
- The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand (Penguin Books, 2005): highly recommend, includes a chapter on the best birding sites in New Zealand, also includes many distant islands and recently extinct species, taxonomy could use an update
- A Comprehensive Illustrated Field Guide to the Birds of Africa South of the Sahara (Struik Nature, 2003): highly recommend, all around excellent!
- Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands (Struik Nature, 2003): includes Madagascar and all surrounding islands, highly recommend, includes a chapter traveling and birding tips for the various islands
- Birds of Europe, Russia, China, and Japan (two volumes, non-passerines and passerines)(Princeton Illustrated Checklist, 2009 & 2007 respectively): covers all the holarctic including north africa and many islands and small countries not mentioned in the title, illustrations good, range maps very small and some are nearly useless, only guide to cover central Russia and a few other areas
- Birds of the Middle East (Princeton, 2nd, 2010): all around excellent
- Birds of India (Princeton, 1999): covers all the Indian subcontinent, very good but could probably use an update
- A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Bali (Oxford, 2009): excellent, the only guide to cover all of the Greater Sundas, Princeton makes a guide to just Borneo which is very good but for the same size this one covers more
- Birds of Southeast Asia (Princeton, 2005): very good overall but no range maps
- A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines (Oxford, 2000): highly recommend, excellent and the only one of its kind

Princeton recently released two other bird guides, one to Mongolia, and one to the "-stans" of central Asia.  I suspect both are excellent.  A third, covering Hawaii, the tropical Pacific, and New Zealand, is quite poor with little text and poor illustrations, the only thing it has going for it is that it's up-to-date taxanomically.

If your keeping track, you'll notice that a number of random islands (mainly in the southern hemisphere and the Atlantic) and the Lesser Sundas (Sulawsei, New Guinea, etc) don't have guides in production.  Princeton has been planning a guide to New Guinea for several years and it's due to come out some time next year, but it's been delayed a number of times before so I'm not too hopeful. :-\  Antarctica is essentially covered by these other guides.

Herps:
- A Field Guide the Reptiles of South-East Asia (New Holland, 2010): the only comprehensive guide to the region, not every species is illustrated but all get text, some of the numbering on the illustrations is off, includes mainland and Greater Sundas
- Western Reptiles and Amphibians of North America (Peterson, 2003): Could use an update but is still good, range maps at back, includes Baja California
- Eastern and Central Reptiles and Amphibians of North America (Peterson, 1998): Really needs an update, little distinction between what are subspecies and what are full species which gets confusing, range maps in text away from color plates.
- Field Guide to the Frogs of Australia (CSIRO, 2009): Excellent all around!
- Reptiles and Amphibians of Europe (Princeton, 2002): Very good illustrations, range maps, and text
- Reptiles of Australia (Princeton, 2003): Highly highly HIGHLY recommend!  Even includes species known only from specimens, uses photos not illustrations, includes photos of most color variations
- Lizards of the American Southwest (Rio Nuevo): highly recommend, excellent photos, lizard finding tips for each species, and good notes on range and variation.  If only a similar guide existed for other reptiles!

Biggest holes are most of South America, Mexico, the West Indies, the Lesser Sundas, random islands, much of Asia, and much of Africa.  Guides exist for Madagascar and Central America, but they're pricey and I don't own them yet.  Non-comprehensive guides exist for many regions, those about south and east Africa seem close to being comprehensive though.

Mammals:
- Guide to Marine Mammals of the World (National Audubon Society, Andrew Stewart Pub., 2008): Highly recommend, excellent illustrations and info, taxonomy could use a slight update
- Mammals of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East (A&C, 2009): very good and comprehensive
- Mammals of North America (Peterson, 2006): very good and comprehensive, range maps are in text
- The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals (Princeton Pocket Guides, 2004): excellent for such a small guide, comprehensize on larger species less so on rodents and bats, range maps a little confusing but very detailed
- A Field Guide the Mammals of central America and Southeast Mexico (Oxford, 2009): very comprehensive and excellent
- A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia (Oxford, 2004): highly recommend, excellent text and illustrations, includes recently extinct species

A series of three guides exists for South America and seems quite good.  Guides exist for China, Southeast Asia, India (not comprehensive), Madagascar, and New Zealand.

Fish:
- Freshwater Fish of North America (Peterson, 1991): good, could probably use an update, not all plates are in color
- Coral Reef Fishes (Princeton Pocket Guide, 2002): surprisingly comprehensive but appears to ignore the east Pacific, still excellent overall
- Sharks of the World (Princeton): as already mentioned ;)

The most difficult group to finds books for, perhaps I should search by family rather than by location.  Books exist for Europe; New Zealand; the coasts of North America, Australia, and Europe; and there's an out of print book on Australian freshwater fish.

Inverts:  Princeton makes two excellent guide to the dragon and damselflies of North America (east and west).  For butterflies I prefer the Kaufman guide for North America.  Oxford makes guides on the stick insects, grasshoppers and katydids, dragon and damselflies, and butterflies of Australia.  I have the butterfly one and it's excellent.  Other insect guides out there seem to be restricted to Europe and Nw Zealand.  Less than comprehensive guides exist for other regions.

I have other books I'd recommend, but I'll save those for another giant post! ;D
That's quite a goal. Thanks for the information and recommendations, that is very helpful.

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animaltoyforum

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2012, 05:02:12 PM »
That exhaustive list of field guides might make a really useful first post in a separate field guides thread, too ;) ^-^ Why not?

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Re: Book recommendations
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2012, 05:56:23 PM »
Sounds like a good idea to me, too. :) And that's just been Princeton Field Guides, there may come many more contributions in the future.
Varanus, that's an impressive list of field guides you already have of them. 8) I didn't even know they made some that cover Australian herpetofauna! :o