The Birds of South America

[ Latin American Studies ]

The Birds of South America

Volume 1: The Oscine Passerines

By Robert S. Ridgely and Guy Tudor

A thorough resource on the oscine passerines of South America.



33% website discount price


7 x 9 7/8 | 596 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-292-70756-6

A land of incredible natural resources, the South American continent is rich in plant and animal species. Among birds alone, over 3,100 species are either resident or migrant. Birds are some of South America's treasures and also one of its most endangered resources. Hence the need for a descriptive record of South American birds that will serve both professional and amateur bird students and encourage conservation of these magnificent species.

Although South American birds elicit much popular and scientific interest, they have never been completely or satisfactorily described and cataloged in a single, published source. The Birds of South America, projected to be a four-volume work, thus fills a critical void. Starting from a museum approach, the authors have examined specimens of each subspecies, comparing them visually and trying to discern the patterns in their plumage variation, both intra- and inter-specifically. They take a new look at bird systematics, reassessing relationships in light of new information. Perhaps most important, they combine this review and analysis with extensive field observations to give an accurate, incisive portrait of the birds in nature.

At a time when rapid development is devastating millions of acres of tropical habitat in South America, this record of an endangered resource becomes crucial. If the birds and other plants and animals of South America are to be saved, they must first be known and appreciated. The Birds of South America is a major step in that direction.

Volume I includes the Jays and Swallows; Wrens, Thrushes, and Allies; Vireos and Wood-warblers; Tanagers, Icterids, and Finches.

The remaining volumes of The Birds of South America will be:

  • Volume III: The Nonpasserines (Landbirds)
  • Volume IV: The Nonpasserines (Waterbirds)

No release date has been set for the remaining volumes.

Praise for Volume 1 of Birds of South America:

"The major ornithological publication of the year ...The text is a marvel of assimilation by Robert S. Ridgely, and the color plates by Guy Tudor have established him as one of the most skillful hands in the bird-painting business."

"Everyone who works with South American birds, whether amateur birder or professional ornithologist, will want a copy.... I hope that everyone will appreciate the tremendous amount of work that went into its completion. The authors are to be congratulated. I strongly recommend The Birds of South America . . ."
—James V. Remsen, Jr., American Birds

"An intensely personal work, it shows that its two authors are absolutely the undisputed leaders in their fields. Like the avifauna it portrays, this brilliant handbook is a 'complex marvel.'"
Naturalist Review

"...a landmark in South American ornithology. It is essential for anyone seriously interested in its birdlife."
Wildlife Book Review

"Everyone, amateur or professional, interested in the birds of South America will need this book."

" extraordinary book.... This excellent and well-researched book should be in all libraries."

Award of Merit in Design
Southern Books Competition, Southeastern Library Association

Best Bird Book of the 20th Century
Worldtwitch International