softcover; 93 color plates show all 670+ species with good artistic quality; key plumage differences are shown between genders, ages, and subspecies; very brief but pointed identification material is given for each bird; a range map with four colors is provided with each species
This book, like its four other sister-books (Northern India, Southern India, Bhutan, Nepal) is a reduced version of the author's previous and much larger work: A Guide to the Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. This lighter Pakistan version is a true field guide-sized book that focuses on just those birds found within Pakistan. The same illustrations and nearly all of the same text are used in this Pakistan book as in the sister books.
The color illustrations are shown in 93 different plates. These show good artistry for the 670+ birds found in the country. What is also nice to see is that most birds are shown with multiple plumages when significant differences exist between genders, age, or subspecies. Each of the plates contain 3-10 different species and illustrate anywhere from 8-30 illustrations. The non-passerines, especially the raptors, gulls, and shorebirds, are show with the most drawings. Plates for these groups of birds can be congested with 25-30 illustrations of perched and flying birds. This causes many of the birds to be a bit small on the page; however, they are still very useful for identification.
Like the book's counterparts, the text accompanying each bird is the weaker part of this book. To be clear, the text is not bad, but, it is often very scant. Each bird receives as little as 3 lines or up to 15 lines to describe it. This text may not always be sufficient to differentiate between many of the more similar birds (e.g., Bush or Leaf Warblers). For some of the birds, a line or two is offered about the habitat or distribution. The raptors receive the most coverage information (6-17 lines) while the passerines receive the least (e.g., as little as 3-4 lines per bird). There is only the sparsest of information given for vocalizations on some of the birds.
Unique to this book is the inclusion of range maps across Pakistan. None of the other four related books have maps. The maps provide very good detail of the bird's range, outlined with four colors representing summer, year-round, wintering, and migrant.
To help supplement the relatively thin text on identification, eight tables are included as appendices. These tables provide a list of identification features that compare the more difficult bird groups such as nightjars, warblers, rosefinches, and the Yellow Wagtail subspecies.
This guide will serve you very well in Pakistan and is probably the second-best option, aside from the superior, but more expensive, book Birds of South Asia by Rasmussen.
If you're looking at other titles by these authors (Inskipp and Grimmett) keep in mind this Pakistan guide comes from the combined (but still condensed) Birds of India, which includes range maps for the entire subcontinent. Basically, if you own Birds of India, you already own everything in this Pakistan book. And, these two books (India and Pakistan) all come from the aforementioned larger work that has everything along with extensive, in-depth text. -- (written by Jack at Avian Review with sample pages, June 2009)