Dealing with Superabundant Diversity

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Science  14 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5537, pp. 2004-2005
DOI: 10.1126/science.1060475

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The Birds of Ecuador Volume I: Status, Distribution, and Taxonomy. Volume II: Field Guide. by Robert S. Ridgely and Paul J. Greenfield. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 2001. Vol. I, 868 pp. Paper, $70. ISBN 0-8014-8720-X. Vol. II, 956 pp. Paper, $50. ISBN 0-8014-8721-8. Slipcased set. Paper, $110. ISBN 0-8014-8722-6.

Authors of field guides to the birds of tropical countries face the major challenge of addressing very diverse avifaunas within books that one could reasonably expect can be carried about in the field. Ridgely and Greenfield have opted to divide their coverage of Ecuador's more than 1500 species into an excellent identification guide and a companion volume that provides additional information on the occurrence and systematics of the birds.