I first heard about the development of this book in 2010 (two years after it started) when birding friends of mine spent time with renowned HANZAB (Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds) illustrator Jeff Davies (the main artist for this book), in his Melbourne studio. With his painstaking attention to detail, I knew this was going to be the bird guide to have. I’ve never anticipated the publication of a book so much. Seven years later, I can confirm the long wait has been well worth it!
This collaborative effort, by the experienced authors and illustrators, has drawn on the knowledge and photography of the Australian birding community with a catalogue of half a million bird images collected to inform the artwork. As a result, this book expresses the explosion of information on Australian birds that has come with the digital photography revolution of the last 15 years. It provides an unprecedented view into the variation within species and diagnostic features to aid with identification (especially for some of the most difficult groups such as seabirds and migratory shorebirds).
With this book in hand, the reader will more easily be able to identify the 900 known Australian species using the 4700 detailed illustrations, text descriptions and distribution maps. This monumental work will be of interest to anyone wanting to learn more about Australian birds.
Review by Todd Burrows