"Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World" by Charles G.              Sibley

Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World Charles G. Sibley, Burt Monroe

Publication date:
23 Jan 1991
Yale University Press
11360 pages: 279 x 216mm

In this book two eminent ornithologists, Charles G. Sibley and Burt L. Monroe, Jr., present authoritative and comprehensive descriptions of the geographic distributions, and comments about the species-level taxonomy, of the living birds of the world. The accounts of the 9672 species are arranged according to the classification developed by Sibley, Monroe, and Jon Ahlquist. Sibley and Monroe provide new and detailed information on the distribution of each species and an appendix includes twenty-four maps and a gazetteer giving the positions of the localities mentioned in the text.


Each species account begins with the specific name of the bird, the author of the name, and the year of the original description. Superspecies groups are indicated where relevant. At least one English name and a system of numbers for computer storage and retrieval are given. The habitat of each species is briefly described and geographic distributions are given in sufficient detail to make it possible to outline the area on a large-scale map. Taxonomic comments include notes about the status of many species and subspecies, occurrence of hybrids and references to the literature. Complete references are given in a bibliography, and an index provides cross-references to the scientific and English name of species. These attributes make the book an essential source of information for anyone interested in birds.

"Goes through the world's 9,672 bird species, summarizing for each species its geographical distribution, preferred habitat, relationships, and classification based on the Sibley/Ahlquist conclusions. . . . Uniform standards, uniformly modern information, a large set of maps and gazetteer, and consistent evaluation for every species of its association in superspecies and its division into subspecies groups. Every student of bird taxonomy will surely want to own both Peters and the new book by Sibley and Monroe, though students with limited budgets may have to content themselves with Sibley and Monroe alone."?Jared M. Diamond, Nature

"These books are . . . of vast importance to systematic ornithology. If you consider yourself to be an ornithologist rather than just a birder, you should seriously consider acquiring these reference books for yourself."?Dan Tallman, South Dakota Bird Notes

"A magisterial listing of every bird on Earth. . . . A veritable mine of quaint and curious lore, in which one may dabble happily for hours."?John R. Alden, Philadelphia Inquirer

"[A] monumental contribution. . . . A definitive, up-to-date, and essential reference for avian taxonomists and others interested in the world's avifauna."?Choice

"If you want more information in one volume, there is no competition."?Alan Knox, Birding World

"A comprehensive and authoritative series of descriptions of the geographic distribution of the geographic distribution of the living birds of the world. . . . The book is a must for all those who take their birding seriously. The authors and publisher are to be congratulated on a truly monumental and important addition to the ornithological literature."?Charles E. Keller, Indiana Audubon Quarterly

"The most complete and useful annotated list of birds of the world available, fully referenced and indexed. . . . [It] will be an essential reference, working tool and quarry combined, for all ornithologists concerned with the lower taxonomic levels?species and subspecies?and their distributions. . . .The most important publication on the classification of birds to have appeared in recent decades."?Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club

"This reference book, massive in scope and comprehensive in descriptions of the geographic distribution of some 9,881 known bird species, arranges them in the authors' latest taxonomic sequence, provides literature citations, habitat information, and scientific and English names. . . . The book is a landmark contribution to ornithology. Most highly recommended, and an essential reference, for professional ornithologists, advanced bird watchers, and conservation biologists."?Donald S. Heintzelman, Wildlife Activist

"[A book] of truly historical significance. . . . The species accounts will be a goldmine for ornithologists and comparative biologists alike. In addition to notes on habitats for each species, distributions are quite carefully described, with all place names being referenced in a gazetteer, allowing them to be located in an appendix of maps that cover the world."?Paul H. Harvey and Peter Cotgreave, TREE

"I thoroughly recommend it as the most reliable one-volume work on the nomenclature and distribution of the world's birds."?Tim Inskipp, British Birds

"This large book is the most recent, up-to-date and comprehensive survey of the classification and distribution of all bird species known in the world. . . . This work [is] . . . destined to become the standard reference on the subject."?Alan C. Kemp, Quarterly Review of Biology

"As an up-to-date compendium on the status of the world's birds, this book is a must."?B. J. Gill, Notornis (Journal of the New Zealand Ornithological Society)

"A monumental undertaking. . . . Provides a complete listing of all the species of birds in the world. Each species includes a summary of its habitat and distribution details, linked to a series of maps. Many species have a comment on their taxonomic position. The book also provides a suggested numbering system for recording the world's birds, and a suggested set of English names. . . . [An] outstanding work of scholarship [which] will be regarded as [an] essential reference work for the foreseeable future."?David C. Houston, Journal of Natural History

"The most important single volume review and modification of avian taxonomy of this century, making all existing field guides and checklists obsolete. . . . recommended highly to all serious students of ornithology."?Robert C. Tweit, North American Bird Bander

"The principal merit of this book is to provide the ornithological community with a complete and up-to-date list of the known bird species of the world. . . . Useful to ornithologists as well as to other biologists and bird watchers, . . . this work will remain a fundamental reference for all those interested in bird distribution and classification anywhere in the world for many years to come. . . . One of the most important ornithological publications of the 20th century."?Henri Ouellet, The Canadian Field-Naturalist

"An impressive, amazingly full world guide to the locations and names of birds. . . . [It] will be very helpful to ornithologists and well-informed laymen."?Books about Birds

Winner of the 1991 Best Book of the Year Award given by British Birds