Birds of the Middle East by Richard Porter and Simon Aspinall is one of the newest additions to the Princeton Field Guide series. This is only the second edition of Birds of the Middle East, with the first being published in 1996. In the newly updated and revised edition, 130 new species and subspecies have been added to the field guide. The guide covers all birds that have been known to occur throughout the Middle East up to the end of 2009.
Many countries are covered in Birds of the Middle East including: Bahrain, Cyprus, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Palestinian territories, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The layout of each pair of pages follows that of traditional field guides with the range map and text on the left page with the corresponding color plates on the adjacent page. The color plates appear to be extremely accurate and would help any new or experienced birder in the field trying to identify the 800 plus species covered in this incredible field guide.
Until I started reviewing books for Princeton University Press, I really have had no idea about birds from other countries or areas and have wondered what field guides were like for those areas. This series that Princeton has put out is absolutely amazing. The layout is smooth and the color plates are fantastic. I really like how the author bolded the most important identifying characteristics in the species account. The Birds of the Middle East also shows almost every species in flight. As a birder, a good portion of species observed are in flight and it can be tricky when trying to make a 100 percent positive identification of the bird.
The bottom line: I recommend this field guide to any birder that plans on exploring the Middle East in search of the 800 plus species covered. The slick layout and very accurate drawings will allow for unmistakable identifications in the field.
Birds of the Middle East can be purchased at Princeton University Press.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Princeton University Press. I would like to thank Princeton for providing me with the review copy.
Also, make sure you check out the Princeton Birds and Natural History page on Facebook!