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The WaterJbwl of the World, VoL I. By JEAN DZLACOUR. Illustrated by Peter Scott .London: Country Life: 1954. Pp. 284, colour plates, 33 maps. s 5s. Their beauty, economic importance and
amenability to captivity have long given the Anatidae a particular interest for ornithologists. Further, since they form a distinctively charac- terised and relatively homogeneous group, they have provided excellent material for taxonomic studies.
This book, covering the whistling ducks, swans, geese and shelduck, is the first of three volumes which attempt to "provide a synthesis of all that is known of the waterfowl of the world." Under the headings of "characteristics," "'distribution," "general habits" and "captivity" a vast amount of information is summarised for each species and sub-species. To achieve a balance between such different aspects of the life of each species which would satisfy every reader would of course be impossible; this reviewer would have liked more emphasis on behaviour in nature than in captivity, and more detailed descriptions of courtship and aggressive displays; but there can be no doubt about the magnitude of the author's achievement in mak- ing this synthesis. This book, following in the best tradition of the great ornithological mono- graphs, and written and illustrated by two such acknowledged experts on wildfowl, cannot fail to become a classic work of reference. It is a pity that so many will find it beyond the reach of their pockets.
Birds of the World. By PAUL BARRUEL. London: Harrap. 1954. Pp. 204, 16 coloured plates and many photographs. 60s. In summarising existing knowledge about the
lives and habits of birds in 200 pages, Paul Barruel has achieved much within limits which prohibit a profound review. The text, which reveals a broad and up-to-date knowledge of ornithological literature (though the biblio- graphy is limited to a few dozen titles), is designed for "as wide a public as possible, sportsmen as well as naturalists." It is centred round the c. 200 photographs, selected from the work of many different individuals and nearly all first class. There are also 16 over-vivid coloured plates which, together with the lavish production, will carry the book beyond the pockets of a high proportion of those it was intended to reach.
Sea Birds. By JAMES FISHER 8r R. M. LOCKLEY. London: Collins. 1954. Pp. 320, 9 coloured and 68 black and white photographs, 66 maps and diagrams. 25s. The authors describe this New Naturalist
volume as "a statement of some of the facts concerning the wonderful sea birds of the North Atlantic." Their extensive field experience en- ables them to deal with many aspects of their subject--evolution, distribution, populations, movements and behaviour; and to discuss the birds group by group--petrels, pelicans, skuas , gulls, terns and auks. Most of the book is excellent--full of facts, but clearly and enter- tainingly written, and well illustrated. The dis- tribution maps are especially to be recom- mended: each is drawn on a projection chosen as being particularly suitable for the range of the species in question.
Unfortunately, from the point of view of this journal,the standard of the sections on behaviour falls sadly below the rest of the book. There are frequent unjustified generalisations about groups of birds of which only one or two species have so far been studied; in several places tentative surmises or unproven theories (such as the "Fraser Darling effect") are represented as established fact. This is a pity, for the book as a whole gives a good picture of the biology of sea birds.
Wild Animals in Captivity. By H. HEDIGER. London: Butterworths ScientificPublications. 1950. Pp. ix -+- 207. 30 illustrations. 35s. Dr. Hediger's book is one which should be
noticed in this journal , even though it was already well known in this country when re- ceived for review. The author, who is Director of the Basle Zoo, writes about the keeping of animals from a biological point of view. To give but one example of his recommendations, Dr. Hediger is convinced that "the captive wild animal is, as a rule, under occupied, under exercised and over c~tred for," and stresses the importance for continued health of training in biologically suitable tasks; this can fill the role of occupational therapy in our own species.
Addressed primarily to zoo staffs, this book will nevertheless provide every zoo visitor with a new view of the animals he sees. Although the author often fails to follow up the full im- plications of his observations, their variety and minutely detailed character abundantly demon- strate the breadth of his experience. R.A.R.