All the Birds of the World – Review

All the Birds of the World is the latest book published by Lynx Edicions. A book that, as the title suggests, aims to illustrate every bird species in the world. Coming in at around a whopping 3.5kg, and with nearly 1,000 pages, this book packs in a lot of detail to keep any aspiring ornithologist happy.  

Upon opening the front cover of the book, you will discover the non-passerine bird families (i.e. the non-perching birds), whilst the passerine bird families can be found printed on the inside of the back cover. Within the front cover is a laminated key to be used with the book to understand a whole range of information being provided to you. The laminated key has information on the taxonomic circle, which is used to show how four of the major world checklists categorise species, especially whether they are their own species or classed as a subspecies by certain lists. The four lists used to determine species are: HBW and BirdLife International Checklist of the Birds of the World. Version 4.; The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019.; The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World, version 4.1.; and finally, IOC World Bird List (v10.1).

The front of the laminated key

There is a section on the laminated card to describe alternate names that may be used. The other three sections on the front of the laminate card include a distribution map key, explaining what the different colours mean, the IUCN/BirdLife International Red List categories key, and also an explanation of how subspecies and subspecies groups are shown in illustration. 

The back of the laminate card has only one section which is a key to all the abbreviations to all the countries in the world. The distribution maps in the illustrations are too small to fit the whole country name in and so they are all abbreviated to two letters. 

The back of the laminated key

The front section of the book contains the most writing with information about how this project came to be; followed by an introduction with fairly typical bird book information such as how to use the book, what you will find on each page, what makes the checklists different, the four major world checklists, and the acknowledgements and references. All of these sections can come in handy when wanting to thoroughly understand in-depth how to use this book properly and gain the most knowledge from looking at each species. 

The most exciting pages (the start of the illustration accounts of all the birds) starts of page 35 of the book, I won’t spoil which species it starts with. The birds are split into segments of family categories, with an illustration of every individual bird species in that family given its own little box. 

Page example
Page example
Page example

Each species box contains at least one illustration, sometimes more of different variants such as similar looking subspecies or sexual dimorphic differences. The boxes also include the different information factors that are found on the laminate key. The species boxes also contain a QR code for every single species; by using the camera on your mobile phone to scan the code, you are then taken to an individual species account on the eBird website where you can get more information about that bird species. Information provided on the online species account includes the bird’s call (song), range maps and photos taken from recorded sightings. There is also a link to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology where more information is available, however, you need to be a member of Cornell Lab to access this. Merlin Cornell Lab do however have a free app that you can download if you are wanting more information. 

Close up illustration example, showing all the features included in each illustration box.

Alongside the 835 pages of extant species illustrations, there is also a particularly interesting section at the back of the book that I have never witnessed in another bird book previously. An additional Appendix section can be found if you continue to turn the page over after looking at all the extant species to find a section on Extinct species. This section identifies birds that were believed to have lived past 1500AD but are now extinct, or at least have not had sightings for centuries in some cases. 

There is also an Appendix 2 which describes differences in nomenclature. This section doesn’t contain illustrations, but detailed written accounts of these species. 

If you are concerned about misplacing the laminated key card that helps to identify country codes and sorts from species accounts, there’s not too much to worry about as there is a full country codes list towards the end of the book after Appendix 2. 

There are additional, larger maps at the end of the book in Appendix 4 so that you can look at countries in more detail, an excellent addition of important information when trying to locate areas for a bird’s existence. There are 34 maps in this section, the first a bigger world map version, with the rest being close ups of specific areas of the world. 

Just before the index, there is a small section to show some other ornithology related books that Lynx Edicions produces to try and encourage even more learning in the wonderful world of birds. I am certainly tempted to buy more of these when funds are available to continue to grow my wildlife library. 

The back cover of the book.

To sum up the information provided in All the Birds of the World, there are 11,524 species accounts in total, with 20,865 illustrations. There are 11,558 distribution maps, with all 3313 one-country endemic species marked. There is information on IUCN/BirdLife international conservation status and all the other wonderful features that I have previously mentioned. 

This book should certainly be in the possession of any budding or professional ornithologist as you will not find a more concise and completed list with such detailed and beautiful illustrations anywhere else. Lynx Edicions should certainly feel proud of the hard work that has gone into this book as I have never owned such an outstandingly beautiful book before. I pre-ordered my book all the way back in July which allowed me to receive it from the first printed batch. I paid a total of £71 for the book and shipping to the UK from Spain, due to a special pre-order deal. They are now running a sort of pre-order with the same deal for the second print run batch. The deal is in Euros; however, the cost is fairly similar in pounds. The current deal is €65 for the book which doesn’t include shipping, with the usual price of the book being €85. I would strongly suggest jumping on this if you’re planning to get this book as it is definitely one that will come in handy for all sorts of birdy things. 

As a fairly new hobbyist ornithologist, having the whole expanse of bird species is somewhat awe inspiring and there are so many thousands of birds I’ve never heard of from all over the world that I now want to make my mission to find. The most exciting spread of the book for me was the hornbills as they are my utmost favourite group of birds and seeing all the species in one place was immense. 

The packaging presentation was also beautiful when I received it, and almost fully recyclable except for the small plastic wrap around the book to protect it from any water damage whilst it was in transport.

I really do commend Lynx Edicions and all the people that worked on this book and I wish all of them the most success with the sale of All the Birds of the World. They really deserve for this book to do well, and as someone who loves the natural world, I would have really missed out if I didn’t purchase it. 

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