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The Birds of the Bangkok Area by Philip Round
 
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Birds of the Bangkok Area

Birds of the Bangkok Area by Philip Round was published in 2008 and more accurately focuses on the avifauna of Thailand's Lower Central Plains.

This book is not a field guide, with Robson's Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and Lekagul & Round's Guide to the Birds of Thailand there is little need for another, instead this book fills a previously much-needed niche in that it provides detailed information about the species recorded in the area; their habitats, migratory habits, status and maximum counts. In this way the author attempts to inform ornithologists about the avifauna of the region and encourage birdwatchers to participate in helping to discover more about them.

The introduction to The Birds of the Bangkok Area is very informative with information on the habitats and land use found within the region; drawing the reader's attention to the fact that many habitats used by previously common birds are disappearing quickly as the city of Bangkok grows. The introduction goes on to discuss the conservation issues concerning the various bird habitats within the area; issues such as the lack of planning restrictions, agricultural change and climate change. This section of the book will give visiting birdwatchers an excellent idea of the problems that birds face in Thailand.

The second section of this publication briefly lists and comments on some of the best birdwatching sites in and around Bangkok.

The main body of this book concentrates on the species accounts which give far more information than any field guide in existence and answers many of the commonly asked questions about many species: What does it eat? When does it breed? When do they migrate? In many cases these facts are unknown and if more birdwatchers were to read this book then they would be encouraged to contribute to the growing pool of knowledge on Thai birds.

The Birds of the Bangkok Area is an excellent book that contains information that many visiting birders should be aware of and, most importantly, this book will encourage more people to be better ornithologists, to concentrate less on ticking new birds and instead to focus more on behavioural and distributional observations.

The only thing which slightly spoils this book is the poor quality of the illustrations on the colour plates. However, this book is more about the text than the pictures so that with the addition of a number of informative photographs this book serves as excellent reference material for ornithologists visiting or living in Thailand.

The Birds of the Bangkok Area is available from branches of Asia Books in Thailand for 1650 baht or from Amazon.com for £39.00 or NHBS for £47.99.

Phil Round tells me that it is his intention to update and improve this volume in the future so buying a copy and submitting records which complement those recorded here is a great way to become involved in ornithology in Thailand.

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