Joseph Forshaw has yet again admirably researched, compiled, synthesized, and organized knowledge on a group of birds. In this case, however, not a taxonomically discrete group of colorful, readily observed birds as previously but rather cryptic, elusive, terrestrial ones. Included are the (unrelated) true quails, buttonquails, and Plains-wanderer because of “similarities in lifestyle,” notwithstanding significant anatomical differences and divergent mating systems. The book is intended as an ornithological “reference work” and succeeds by treating 14 species, including 1 extinct, another possibly extinct, and 2 introduced exotics. Forshaw has held all 3 of the extant quails included and some buttonquails in captivity.

Similar to several previous Forshaw books, the shape of this one (30 × 25 cm rectangle, with 3 text columns per page) is cumbersome to use without a supporting surface, perhaps suggesting impractical affectation before practical application. As David Baker-Gabb writes in the foreword, the starting point for any...

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