Rails: A Guide to the Rails, Crakes, Gallinules and Coots of the World (Hardcover)

Rails: A Guide to the Rails, Crakes, Gallinules and Coots of the World By Barry Taylor, Ber van Perlo (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Barry Taylor, Ber van Perlo (Illustrator)
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Rarely seen and poorly known, rails can be found throughout the world, absent only from polar regions, completely waterless deserts, and mountains above the snow line. This secretive and intriguing family of birds occupies a diverse range of habitats, from forests to wetlands, grasslands, and even scrub-covered remote oceanic islands and coral cays. Barry Taylor and Ber van Perlo have described and illustrated 145 species of rails, including two that have only recently been described and eleven that are recently extinct.

The book, based on up-to-date references and on new observations, is the first to give comprehensive information on field identification (including voice), covering all species and races for which details are known. It is also the first to provide descriptions of the immature and juvenile plumages of many species. The authors provide a detailed summary of current knowledge of all aspects of rail biology and their often complex behavior, social structure, and family life. They explain how such apparently poorly flying birds can undertake intercontinental migrations and are such widespread and successful colonists of remote oceanic islands. They also discuss the remarkable ease and speed with which species on such islands have evolved into flightless forms in the absence of predators, a fact that has led to the rapid extinction of numerous island taxa following the arrival of humans. Rail habitats are fast disappearing, say the authors, and many rails become endangered before enough is known about them to plan effective conservation measures. The book provides information on distribution, status, habitat requirements, and current threats, and it gives conservation priorities for threatened species.

Published in association with Christopher Helm/A & C Black

Published in association with Christopher Helm/A & C Black

About the Author

Barry Taylor has written numerous scientific papers and other articles on rails and other birds. He is currently involved in conservation-orientated wetland and grassland research and survey work in Africa and in studies on the creation and management of wetlands for birds. Ber van Perlo has been a geographer and physical planner and now writes and illustrates books about birds, such as the Collins Ilustrated Checklist: Birds of Eastern Africa.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780300077582
ISBN-10: 0300077580
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: September 10th, 1998
Pages: 600
Language: English