Lavishly illustrated guide to Peru's birds describes 1,800 species

November 26, 2007

CHICAGO--More than 30 years in the making, Birds of Peru describes the birds of Peru through 304 color plates, 1,700 species distribution maps, also in color, and concise descriptive text. The first two authors of this landmark publication, Tom Schulenberg, PhD, and Douglas Stotz, PhD, are conservation ecologists and ornithologists in the Field Museum's Environmental and Conservation Program. Therefore the Museum will host a free public event launching the book on December 5th

"This beautiful publication can serve as a coffee table book or as a scientifically rigorous field guide," said Schulenberg, lead author of the book.

Birds of Peru, just published by Princeton Press, is centered on the 304 high-quality color plates that illustrate all of Peru's almost 1,800 known bird species. The detailed text describes key identification features, status, distribution, and vocalization for all the species, as well as many subspecies. The book will be an indispensable resource for birdwatchers, biologists, naturalists, and conservationists working with the incredibly rich birdlife in Peru.

"We view Birds of Peru not just as a guide for birdwatchers to identify the birds they see in Peru, but as a tool to help the Peruvian people protect the tremendous natural biological wealth that they have in their country," Stotz said. "To that end, a Spanish language version of the book is being created and will be available next year."

Despite decades of study by dozens of ornithologists, much still remains to be learned about the birds of Peru, said John O'Neill, an illustrator, field ornithologist, co-author of the book, and Research Associate at the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science. "This beautiful and fascinating country still holds many ornithological secrets, and we hope this book will inspire a whole new generation of birding in Peru."

O'Neill first conceived of the book and began working on it more than 30 years ago. The other co-authors are Schulenberg; Stotz; Daniel Lane, an illustrator, field ornithologist and Research Associate at the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science; and Theodore Parker III, who worked throughout Peru before his death in 1993 and was considered the premier neotropical field ornithologist of his time.

Hear Schulenberg, O'Neill and others speak at a reception to launch the new book on Wednesday, December 5, from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm in the West Lobby of The Field Museum. John Fitzpatrick, Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, will speak about the spectacular avifauna of Peru and tell the story behind the creation of this remarkable book. He will also discuss its significance for international conservation efforts.

Attend this free public event to see why Audubon Magazine called Birds of Peru "the culmination of an incredible amount of fieldwork...and a collection of some of the best avian artists in the country."

Robert Kirk, Executive Editor, Biological Sciences and Natural History of Princeton Press, added, "Conceived in the early 1970s by the legendary Ted Parker and John O'Neill, the project has at last come to fruition. The book promises to be one of the best field guides to any region or country published to date."
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Field Museum

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