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Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World: Non-passerines

…the best world checklist

The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World, Volume 1: Non-passerines | EC Dickinson (Editor), JV Remsen Jr. (Editor) | 461 pages, with CD-ROM | Aves Press | Hardback | May 2013 | Edition: 4| ISBN: 9780956861108 | Price: £59.99Publisher’s View: This is a new edition of the major reference work and most respected scientific checklist of birds. Due to its increased size, the fourth edition has been split over two volumes, with Volume 1 listing the non-passerines and Volume 2 (which is in preparation and scheduled for June 2013) listing the passerines.

The fourth edition of The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World has been updated to reflect the considerable change in our understanding of the evolution of birds derived from the study of their DNA over the past decade; thus the Cracraft sequence, adopted in 2003, is completely revised here. The new edition also reflects revisions to species limits and includes newly discovered species and subspecies. For each genus, type designation details are now given, and superspecies groups are frequently mentioned in the footnotes. Evaluation, as before, is based on the Biological Species Concept, carefully and conservatively applied. Range statements have been totally revised, particularly for the Americas. Overall the number of footnotes and references cited nearly doubles.

To cut down on the number of printed pages, a CD-ROM is included. This complements a species level index in each volume by providing the full index down to subspecies level. It also includes several appendices. Amongst these are:

* appropriate phylogenetic trees in support of the ranked list of the division in which birds are grouped above the family level which is in Joel Cracraft's chapter
* an appendix on corrections to the spelling of Latin names for some 500 species or subspecies, how such decisions were reached, and the reasoning behind them
* an appendix on date changes, which effectively is an update to table 66 in Priority! The Dating of Scientific Names in Ornithology

* 10 full-colour maps of geographical areas where even major world atlases are not much help with finding names of places birders want to reach whether in New Guinea or East Africa or the Southern Ocean.

Lastly, The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World, Volume 1 includes a tear-off sheet that can be sent to the editors to request a licence to obtain free downloads of planned regular updates. We understand it is quite likely that such updates may be just part of a new scientific journal and that the free downloads will for some time include all of each issue and not just a PDF of the update itself. This journal will, for the first few years at least, be free to those who bought the fourth edition of The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World, whereas others can purchase a subscription.Fatbirder View This is not really a review so much as an alert – to let the birding and ornithological world that the best world checklist is arriving in a new edition.

Of course, unless you are a professional ornithologist you have to be very interested in taxonomy or nomenclature to shell out the purchase price. There are times when I am very pleased that I write reviews and put them out on Fatbirder as this is a prized part of my library which my pockets are not really deep enough for otherwise. Having said that the CD and the fact that if you follow the procedure you can get free updates are a real bonus.

The other half of the work will be out quite soon and you will want both as this is a massive undertaken requiring patience and fortitude as well as a great deal of knowledge.

I also believe that any birder should base their lists on Howard & Moore rather than the ‘other products which are also available’, because they draw from a truly worldwide network of ornithologists and select new data according to the biological principle of taxonomy.


Buy this book from www.nhbs.com