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BNHS launches revised Field Guide of Salim Ali
By Atul Sathe


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Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has launched the revised edition of “A Pictorial Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent” by Sálim Ali and S Dillon Ripley first published in 1983.

The new book in a new attractive avatar is titled “Birds of the Indian Subcontinent – A Field Guide” co-authored by Ranjit Manakadan, J C Daniel and Nikhil Bhopale. Their insights span three generations of avian expertise at BNHS. The book offers a lot more information, illustrations and other features as compared to the earlier book, at an affordable price. The book was released in Mumbai at the BNHS auditorium packed with bird lovers.

Speaking on the occasion J C Daniel, Vice President of BNHS, co-author and the veteran in natural history research, said, “The book is an expression of the interest in nature which any amateur can cultivate”.

Dr Asad Rahmani, Director, BNHS said that such publications on natural history are very essential for fostering the love for scientific field studies among nature lovers and the general public. Co-author Dr Ranjit Manakadan gave interesting insights on the salient features of the revised edition, while Nikhil Bhopale, Programme Officer, BNHS took the audience on a wonderful journey into the world of bird watching in India.

Mrs Pheroza Godrej released the book formally. “This book originates from an organisation whose forte, besides scientific research, is ornithology, which flourished under the wings of late Dr Sálim Ali. The guide is a result of consistent time-tested field visits and comes as a gift on a platter for bird watchers. The authors of the new book are also veterans in their subject. In a lighter vein, I would say that it was the birds and the bees in the forests that aroused their interest in flora and fauna and we all have to maintain this ecological balance of nature,” she said in her address.

Salient features of the new book

  • Includes both old and new common names of birds, along with the scientific names - Will avoid any confusion in the minds of bird watchers and readers
  • Includes illustrations and information about two new species recorded by bird experts in the subcontinent in the recent past, viz. Bugun Liocichla from northeast region of India and Serendib Scops Owl from Sri Lanka
  • Contains 1251 species of birds from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives
  • Contains notes of over 100 other tentative species found in the subcontinent
  • Contains 112 plates of colour illustrations, along with 53 colour photos and informative text spread over 400 pages
  • Contains species descriptions such as the size, colour, plumage, beak and range to aid field identification since just pictorial representation is not enough in case of several bird species
  • Map of the Indian subcontinent
  • Priced at just Rs 550, which makes it affordable to a wide section of the society – The book will be available for sale at BNHS office and online on www.bnhs.org

Utility of Field Guides
Correct identification is the basis of meaningful bird watching as well as scientific field research. A field observation is meaningful and educative only when the concerned species is correctly identified. Good illustrations, along with important information about the bird are fundamental.

Atul Sathe  |  atulsathe@yahoo.com

Atul Sathe is Public Relations Officer of Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai.

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