Dr Hilary Fry's study of the bee-eaters covers all 24 species of this colourful Family, which ranges from southern Europe, Africa and the Middle East to India, China, south-east Asia and Australia.A major part of the book comprises the species accounts, with complementary colour plates of 42 species and sub-species and detailed maps depicting the geography of their evolution. In addition there are chapters on the bee-eaters' evolutionary development, their food and foraging behaviour, and relationships with apiculture; of particular interest are chapters on social and reproductive life, the role of 'helpers' at the nest, and the meaning of plumage and social distinctions between the species. The author's colour plates delight the eye and accurately portray plumage and 'jizz'. They are fully supplemented by more than 100 drawings by John Busby, capturing the essence of these birds with a rare deftness and vitality.

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