This field guide follows in the long tradition of Princeton Field Guides and is classic in its format, design and scope. It will be instantly familiar to any birder and will evoke warm feelings of successful outings past, spent in the company of an old friend.
Mongolia is relatively new as a destination for the peripatetic ornithophile and the Preface gives a succinct introduction to the history of ornithology in Mongolia, bringing one up to speed quickly. As it says in the Introduction which follows, "Mongolia has been called the Last Wilderness Nation."
Sections follow covering Mongolia and its birdlife, including many glorious photographs of the varied terrain of this vast landlocked country.
With topography as varied as desert steppe to luxuriant wetland, Mongolia contains habitat for a wide range of different families of birds.
A section is devoted to bird migration in Mongolia, a topic of high importance for any visitor anxious to see species only present during certain times of the year. An interesting note is made as to "Mongolia as a Centre of Species Origin." No doubt, much of this information can be found elsewhere in the literature, but to have it all condensed and included at the front of a field guide covering a region of the world still shrouded in mystery to many, is particularly useful.
I found it irresistible while reading these sections to flip ahead to the sections covering species that piqued my interest.
A substantial section is devoted to Bird Conservation in Mongolia with a comprehensive list of Conservation Organisations and Government Agencies; very helpful information indeed, especially for a first-time visitor to the country.
Six pages are then allocated to Birdwatching in Mongolia, with practical tips on every aspect of a birding adventure in this vast land.
Finally the standard "How to use this book" remarks are made, together with a conventional yet always helpful, pictorial illustration of bird topography.
What follows, of course is the meat of a field guide - the pictures of the birds, a map of their distribution and seasonal status, and keys to identifying the species.
The pictures are done extremely well, and present the birds in typical posture, colours precisely outlined and faithful in rendition, with accompanying flight profile for many species.
The description of each species is opposite its position on the plate with a distribution map, colour-coded for seasonal status.
At the end of the species accounts there is coverage of vagrants and hypothetical records, a useful list of references and an index of common and scientific names.
In short, this volume has everything you could want in a field guide. As far as I know, this is the first volume dedicated exclusively to Mongolia and it is, as stated on the back cover, "An indispensable guide for birders, adventurers, and all those interested in this central Asian nation."
Birds of Mongolia
Gombobaatar Sundev and Christopher W. Leahy
Paperback - $35.00 - 9780691138824 - 224 pages - 112 colour plates - 5 1/4" x 8 1/2"
Publication date: 8 October 2019