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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2001
This field guide has been awaited with excitement (already having existed in Swedish and Danish for a year or so) - now I know why. I have seen a huge variety of field guides, but this is simply the best yet. It covers Europe (east of Ural), Northern Africa (north of ca. 30 degrees north), and the Middle East (e.g. Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Armenia and so on). Also included is the islands of the Canaries and Madeira. All species naturally occurring (and several species not considered to be native) in this area are included. The only exception being a number of species only recorded a few times (usually meaning ones or twice) in the area. These rarities are included in a list. The species are dealt with taxonomically, and each group (e.g. Swans) starts with a short (or long in the "hard-to-id" groups) introduction. Each species has a text which I can only refer to as perfect. All relevant information is included (id, habitat, voice etc.). Also included is a map. However, the truly incredible thing is the drawings. Not only are they precise, they also include all kinds of plumage's and positions (often shown in a natural habitat as you would see it in the nature) that you could only wish for in most guides. Arrows (with a short and simple text) point at features of the birds especially important for identification. A thing most (if not all?) will find great is that the drawings are placed next to the text (and map) - no more endless going through pages. Incredibly it is still a handy guide. This is the field guide for the beginner as well as the pro. Sorry, I'm not able to find any bad things to say about this guide.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2000
This book covers all of the European birds and lots potential visitors. There are good plates showing variations in plumage. Field marks are pointed out on the plate, which greatly reduces potential confusion. Thin lines separate species on the plates, making it easier to know what you are looking at on some of the more crowded plates. Text and range maps are opposite the plates and are quite detailed with further field marks, habitat information, identification tips, and detailed discussion of voice. The important characteristics are in italics which make them easier to find in the very small print. The information is incredibly thourough, especially for a book of this size. Attention is also paid to hybrids ducks and identification skills for gulls and waders. The range maps are clear with migration areas also marked. The guide is small enough for use in the field, well organized, and easy to use. The only major drawback of this guide is that the type is very small, but the plates and the information it contains more than make up for this problem.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2002
If only there were so good guides for every other region of the world!!!! It is simply the best guide I've ever had. It ^has very good paintings and perfect descriptions. Impossible to miss one identification with that. And it's also not so heavy to transport, so you can easily bring it to the field. BUY IT!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2010
I purchased this book as my husband and I have a house in rural Europe and want to learn as much about the local birds as we possibly can. Maybe we will even become birders! We will be taking it along with us each time we go mushroom (and other foraging) and hikes.

This field guide is laid out in encyclopedic format including identification features and photographs. On the bottom of the page are maps showing where each is found.

This is a no-nonsense (albeit impersonal) practical reference guide that will be useful for years and years. Exactly what I was looking for.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2001
This is by far the best field guide I've come across. The illustrations are more refined, more detailed and - in my mind - more lifelike than in any other fuild guide. And there are so many of them! There are male and female, juvenile and adult, on-land and in-flight pictures of almost every species. Svensson covers a larger area than is usual for a 'european birds' guide: he includes many Middle Eastern and Northern African species. The maps, pictures and text are conveniently located on the same page. Only one drawback: some of the rarer species don't have an accompanying map.
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on October 1, 2012
Very useful in the field and as a reference. Very complete with not only all European species, the book also covers the extremely rare vagrants from North America. Despite its relatively small size, it manages to offer several drawings for each species, covering pretty much every relevant situation (in flight, juvenile, female, etc.).

The only thing I really don't like from this book is the author's obssession to uselessly try shortening species names, which result in funny, non-sense situations. For instance, you get the "Eider" (being the Common Eider) and the "King Eider" on the same page, the "Goldeneye" (being the Common Goldeneye) and the "Barrow's Goldeneye", the "Cormorant" (being the Great Cormorant) and the "Pygmy Cormorant", the "Nuthatch" (being the Eurasian Nuthatch) and other nuthatches on the same page, and so much more cases like that.

Still, great book and awesome value!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2004
More experienced birders can tell you more about the technical wonders of this book -- they are many, and in short you should buy it! As a beginning birder but a more experienced traveller, however, I can tell you that this is a fabulous resource to have along, even if you are just generally curious about nature in the places you visit.
This guide covered EVERY region in a recent cruise from the most western to the most eastern points on the Mediterranean, inlcuding many islands. It was terrifically easy to figure out which birds were likely candidates for each sighting -- and each time of year.
Getting to know an area is more than having a favorite restaurant and knowing how to get from one point to the next. Recognizing the creatures around, and maybe even getting to know their songs, will bring you even further into a new place. This book is exhaustive yet accessible, and will really help you "get there."
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on July 7, 2010
This book contains everything a birdwatcher needs: precise information that's quick to find. The illustrations are beautiful, often depicting the birds in their natural habitats. Another thing that is very useful is that comparative pictures have been put for species of birds that are harder to identify.
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on June 20, 2015
This was a good addition to my library but I would have preferred country-based books. This will have to do until we get more of them. It's a little heavy.
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on May 5, 2013
Maps, descriptions and plates on same page. Improve by adding German and French names to the birds at each heading,
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