Avifauna of an Area
Ranjit Lal
BIRDS OF WESTERN MAHARASHTRA: A REFERENCE GUIDE by Anand Prasad Other India Press, Goa,, 2007, 316 pp., 350
July 2007, volume 31, No 7

In the last twenty-five years, interest in the birdlife of the Indian subcontinent has grown manifold, and justifiably so considering the richness of India’s avifauna. With this interest, have come a string of books for both popular and more specialist consumption. Anand Prasad’s book should appeal to both—to anyone seriously interested in the birds of the region. Basically it is an annotated list of birds of the area, giving the history of when, where and by whom a particular species was spotted, along with breeding and or migratory history if known. The sources cited are from published records and papers of usually well-known and well-established ornithologists past and present—and now more encouragingly, records maintained by birders on birdsofbombay@yahoogroups.com, which widens the net considerably. In his introduction, Prasad outlines some of the—inevitable—problems and limitations incurred while compiling such a list. Different ornithologists have different definitions for different criteria, for example the status of a bird.

A species that one considers rare may be thought to be merely uncommon by another. Ornithologists usually have their favourite neck of the woods, which they may survey more thoroughly and regularly, than say an area just nearby, which may have different species. Surveys may be conducted at different times of the year and for different periods of time.

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