Habitats of the World: A Field Guide for Birders, Naturalists and Ecologists is a massive undertaking to showcase, in great detail, every single habitat type across the globe. It was produced by Iain Campbell, Ken Behrens, Charley Hesse, and Phil Chaon, all of whom are professional nature guides for Tropical Birding Tours.
The book covers 189 of the world’s major habitats and is broken up into seven zoogeographic regions: Nearctic, Palearctic, Neotropical, Afrotropical, Indo-Malayan, Australasian, and Antarctic. How a distinct habitat is determined is based on two main points: visual distinctness and wildlife, mostly consisting of mammals and birds.
Each habitat has a colored map, a brief explanation of what it is and where it is found, plus the similar and overlapping habitat types, if any. Then there are several paragraphs about the wildlife that can be found, including any endemic species. Next, there is a section on distribution, basically a more detailed explanation of where in the world this habitat exists. Lastly is the “Where to See” section, a note on specific countries, states, or even wildlife refuges or National Parks.
Beyond the massive scope, full of excellent text, maps and graphs, the wildlife photography makes this book stand out. Nearly all of the 650 or so photographs are taking by Tropical Birding Tours guides and they are stunning. Some of the most sought after birds are showcased and it will surely inspire you to learn more about the habitat type and try and visit it.
Who Is This Book For?
The subtitle says Habitats of the World is for “birders, naturalists and ecologists” and that is true. Birders will especially benefit from this book, even if they are not planning any special birding trips. I enjoyed reading about the habitats that cross my neck of the woods (which only included 3, but some others in bordering states).
But this book is also for anyone interested in conservation. Understanding and enjoying the diverse habitats across the globe gives us inspiration to want to protect all species. We’ve always been in love with neotropical habitats, as these are the places that are inhabited by the beautiful migrating birds that enliven each spring with color and song. To be able to quickly look up and learn about this varied and exciting habitats is what makes Habitats of the World so wonderful.
We highly recommend this book for every birder and conservationist out there.
Birdfreak.com received a review copy of Habitats of the World: A Field Guide for Birders, Naturalists and Ecologists from the publisher, Princeton University Press. (Published in 2021)