Author: Emmet Reid Blake
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 1977
Containing more than one-third of the world's bird species, the neotropical region surpasses all other zoogeographic regions in the diversity of its avian fauna. Though the exploration and cataloging stages of ornithology are now virtually complete, new species and undescribed subspecies of birds are still occasionally discovered. In this manual, Emmet R. Blake has drawn on his experience of forty-eight years in the field and laboratory to prepare a comprehensive, detailed, and authoritative synopsis of the avifauna of tropical America as now known.
A large and spectacular bird of prey, the Goshawk lives in boreal forests throughout the Northern hemisphere. A powerful hunter of large birds and woodland mammals, it was persecuted for many years by game keepers to the point of extinction in the UK. However, escaped falconry birds led to the establishment of a new population in the 1960s, though the species remains rare and elusive - birders need a combination of hard work and a little luck to see this magnificent raptor. The Goshawk is an authoritative yet highly readable monograph of the species. It includes chapters on nomenclature, races and morphs, biometrics, nesting, incubation and chick-rearing, migration, feeding ecology, population dynamics, and conservation, punctuated throughout with illuminating tales from author Robert Kenward's extensive field research. The book is packed with illustrations, figures and maps, and contains a selection of the author's superb photographs of the birds. The product of almost 30 years work, this title is a classic Poyser monograph; birders will enjoy the fascinating insights into the biology of the bird, while academics will appreciate the book's comprehensive literature review.
Author: Ernst Mayr
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2001-12-06
Speciation is the process by which co-existing daughter species evolve from one ancestral species - e.g., humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas arising from a common ancestor around 5,000,000 years ago. However, many questions about speciation remain controversial. The Birds of Northern Melanesia provides by far the most comprehensive study yet available of a rich fauna, composed of the 195 breeding land and fresh-water bird species of the Bismarck and Solomon Archipelagoes east of New Guinea. This avifauna offers decisive advantages for understanding speciation, and includes famous examples of geographic variation discussed in textbooks of evolutionary biology. The book results from 30 years of collaboration between the evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr and the ecologist Jared Diamond. It shows how Northern Melanesian bird distributions provide snapshots of all stages in speciation, from the earliest (widely distributed species without geographic variation) to the last (closely related, reproductively isolated species occurring sympatrically and segregating ecologically). The presentation emphasizes the wide diversity of speciation outcomes, steering a middle course between one-model-fits-all simplification and ungeneralizable species accounts. Questions illuminated include why some species are much more prone to speciate than others, why some water barriers are much more effective at promoting speciation than others, and whether hypothesized taxon cycles, faunal dominance, and legacies of Pleistocene land bridges are real. These years of study have resulted in a huge database, complete with distributions of all 195 species on 76 islands, together with their taxonomy, colonization routes, ecological attributes, abundance, and overwater dispersal. Color plates depict 88 species and allospecies, many of which have never been seen before. For students of speciation, Northern Melanesian birds now constitute a model system against which other biotas can be compared. For population biologists interested in other problems besides speciation, this rich database can now be mined for insights.