This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. See our Cookie Policy for further details on how to block cookies.
I am happy with this


What is a Cookie

A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is a piece of data stored by a website within a browser, and then subsequently sent back to the same website by the browser. Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember things that a browser had done there in the past, which can include having clicked particular buttons, logging in, or having read pages on that site months or years ago.

NOTE : It does not know who you are or look at any of your personal files on your computer.

Why we use them

When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device, for example, your computer or mobile phone. These include small files known as cookies. They cannot be used to identify you personally.

These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:

  • recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don’t need to do it for every web page requested
  • measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there’s enough capacity to ensure they are fast
  • analysing anonymised data to help us understand how people interact with our website so we can make them better

You can manage these small files and learn more about them from the article, Internet Browser cookies- what they are and how to manage them

Learn how to remove cookies set on your device

There are two types of cookie you may encounter when using our site :

First party cookies

These are our own cookies, controlled by us and used to provide information about usage of our site.

We use cookies in several places – we’ve listed each of them below with more details about why we use them and how long they will last.

Third party cookies

These are cookies found in other companies’ internet tools which we are using to enhance our site, for example Facebook or Twitter have their own cookies, which are controlled by them.

We do not control the dissemination of these cookies. You should check the third party websites for more information about these.

Log files

Log files allow us to record visitors’ use of the site. The CMS puts together log file information from all our visitors, which we use to make improvements to the layout of the site and to the information in it, based on the way that visitors move around it. Log files do not contain any personal information about you. If you receive the HTML-formatted version of a newsletter, your opening of the newsletter email is notified to us and saved. Your clicks on links in the newsletter are also saved. These and the open statistics are used in aggregate form to give us an indication of the popularity of the content and to help us make decisions about future content and formatting.

Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch

The Worlds Rarest Birds

The World`s Rarest Birds book cover
The cover, a stunning image of a Red crowned Crane, sets the standard.

Inside page
Open this large format book and you are greeted with this.

Each page turned brings new sumptuous photographs of wonderful birds, some known but many that most of us had never heard of before. Six hundred and fifty rare birds are detailed in this book, many of them little known so it is great credit to the authors and publishers they only missed having photos of just seventy six species. Some of these birds have never been photographed or sadly are already extinct. Sad indeed to think that 650 species of bird are critically endangered and we could easily loose many for ever if we don't act now to save them. Although the thought of all these species in trouble is grim, don't be mistaken this book is also a joy to read and re-visit again and again. It is inspiring and motivating! Once you have gazed and wondered at the birds you will want to conserve them and get out and see as many as possible.

An introduction gives a summary of diversity and distribution, endemic bird areas and important bird areas. These give an overview of where the worlds birds reside. A colour coded map provides, at a glance, the hot spots for bird diversity, South America and south-east Asia.

The book then looks at the main threats to wild birds, sadly there are many, each major threat is looked at on lavishly illustrated pages with more would love to see birds. Fifteen major problems are identified from global events to hunting, the number of species threatened by each is shown. Agriculture and fishing pose by far the biggest threat with over 800 hundred species severly effected by mans greed to produce food for it's massive over population. This is very depressing yet could be looked at as a chance to change? If man is causing the main threat then there is an oportunity to change - other threats are less easily addressed. We all need to work hard to influence decision makers to do things in a wildlife friendly way, it can be done!

Next the authours have looked at regional birds and how they are under threat, Europe and the Middle East, Africa and Madagascar, Asia, Australasia, Caribbean, North and Central America, South America and the Oceanic Islands are looked at. Each of these regions has an introduction then goes on to look at each species in more detail. Europe and the Middle East is the first region, close to home for us! Thirteen species are dealt with here, some surprising, including Velvet Scoter.

Balearic Shearwaters
Balearic Shearwaters seen off the coast of North Wales.

Reading a book entilted "The World's Rarest Birds" it seemed rather starnge and unreal to be reading about a bird species that we had seen that very morning, close to our home in North Wales, Balearic Shearwater.This Mediterranean breeder visits UK waters, in small numbers each summer and the North Wales coast is a good place to see one, particularly in August. There may be as few as 9,000 of these exciting seabirds in the whole world! The Balearic Shearwater breeds only on the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. The post breeding range is moving north, perhaps in response to rising sea temperatures, hence them turning up off our coasts. Before breeding, as early as February, large numbers gather along the continental shelf off north-eastern Spain before moving to the Mediterranean islands to nest. The main threats to this species are accidental fisheries bycatch and predation by introduced mammals in the breeding colonies.

Sociable Lapwing book
Sociable Lapwing a vagrant to the UK.

Spoonie cranes
Spoonbilled Sandpiper, a most wanted bird for so many people.

Of course there are some birds that have a higher conservation profile than others, the enagmatic Spoon-billed Sandpiper being one very high profile species, and rightly so! But how many people know much about Spotted Greenshank, Jerdon's Courser and Kittlitz's Murrelet that all share a page with the Spoonie?

Plains Wanderer book
Down under a little know bird resides the Plains Wanderer.

A species that we were very lucky to encounter on "The Biggest Twitch" in Oz, but very little is known about this bisarre little chap.

Galapagos Rares
Off the coast of Ecuador lie the Galapagos Islands, home to many rare species.

Having had the great fortune to have visited the Galapagos Islands if was fascinating to read about the many endemic birds that enhabit these weird and wonderful remotes isles.

Hyacinth Macaw Pantanal
Another great memory from "The Biggest Twitch", Hyacinth Macaw.

This huge macaw has three isolated populations in Brazil. Habitat loss and degradation, and local hunting for food and feathers have reduced the population, but the main threat has been the massive illegal trade for the pet market. Good news that the trade has been reduced, though still a problem. Conservation initiatives are underway and the population is increasing in some areas. We marvelled at these huge parrots flapping over the wetlands of the Pantanal, long may they do so.

This enthralling book concludes with a section on "Data Deficient Species" and details sixty birds that are poorly known. Here is a challengne for some adventourous birder! Go and track down these sixty birds and report back on their status and conservation threats, good luck! Many of these birds we had never even heard of - Somali Pigeon, Starry Owlet-nightjar, Bogota Sunangel and more. We have actually seen one of these birds, the Sombre Chat in Ethiopia. The books states that the population is unknown and its threats are also unknown. We saw them in desolate lava flows so guess a little visited area, and that may well save the bird?

Everyone who has an interest in our wonderful, amazing, weird and surprising birds should have a copy of "The World's Rarest Birds". Its 350 pages are packed with stunning images and loaded with facts to inspire us all to do more to protect our wild birds and the wild places they live.

If you are heading to Birdfair this year pop over to the Wildsounds stand and get your hands on a copy, you will be amazed by the worlds rarest birds. Maybe pick it up at the end of the day it's a heavy weight book, in all senses!

Ivory billed Woodpecker book
Gone but not forgotten, Ivory billed Woodpecker.

The Worlds Rarest Birds, by Erik Hirschfeld, Andy Swash and Robert Still, is published by Princeton in association with Wild Guides and Bird Life International.

ISBN 978-0-691-15596-8

We highly recommend this book to all.


Website Developed by blah d blah