Cover image for New world blackbirds : the icterids
New world blackbirds : the icterids
Jaramillo, Alvaro, 1967-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
431 pages : illustrations (some color), maps (some color) ; 25 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL696.P2475 J27 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



New World Blackbirds is a comprehensive guide to the 103 members of the family Icteridae, also known as the icterids or troupials. The icterids are a diverse family, ranging throughout the Americas from Alaska to the Caribbean and south to Cape Horn. Despite the name "blackbird," the group contains such highly colored birds as the orioles. It includes common and intensively studied species--the Red-winged Blackbird and the Brown-headed Cowbird, for example--and such rare and obscure birds as the Colombian Mountain-Grackle and the Montserrat and Martinique Orioles. Two species in the family, the Selva Cacique and the Pale-eyed Blackbird, were not described at all until as recently as the 1960s and 1970s.

The thirty-nine highly detailed plates in this book depict all the species and many subspecies and age types never illustrated before. The book also contains over one hundred color range maps as well as black-and-white illustrations to aid identification. The extensive text summarizes the characteristics and natural history of each species, giving details on behavior, nesting, geographic variation, distribution, vocalizations, and in-depth plumage descriptions for all age types. Clearly written and exhaustively researched, this book will be the standard reference work for this major family of birds.

Author Notes

Alvaro Jaramillo was born in Santiago, Chile, but raised in Toronto, where he became a birder at the age of 11. He holds a Zoology degree and a Masters degree in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Toronto. He currently works for the Coyote Creek Riparian Station, a bird observatory and research facility in San Jose, California. He also leads birding trips in North and South America. He is currently working on a field guide to the birds of Chile with Peter Burke and David Beadle. Peter Burke, a Biology graduate, has been drawing and painting birds for twenty years, but has been a professional artist only since the mid-1990s. He has traveled to Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Mexico to prepare sketches for this guide. He has also illustrated a guide to the dragonflies and damselflies of eastern Canada.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The collaboration of wildlife biologist Jaramillo and professional artist Burke has produced an important handbook on the biology of a family of birds that includes some of the most familiar species to the amateur birder; these species have been important to scientists for their easy-to-study behavior patterns and reproductive strategies, vital to an understanding of their evolution. Preceding the accounts of the 103 species are 80 pages of Burke's color renderings of sexual and seasonal differences for each species. These are accompanied by distribution maps on facing pages. There are nearly 300 pages of species accounts; each includes identification, vocalizations, descriptions and measurements of all stages of the bird's ontogeny, geographical variation, habitat, behavior, distribution and status, vagility, and notes, which include name derivations, previous taxonomic placement, hybridization, etc. A list of references ends each account. A more complete, general bibliography and an adequate index are included. Though this is a scholarly treatment and will be mostly used by professional and serious amateur ornithologists, several introductory chapters of explanations make the more esoteric aspects of icterid biology clear--thus this is a useful reference to the novice as well. General readers; graduate students; faculty. H. N. Cunningham Jr.; Pennsylvania State University, Behrend College

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 9
Acknowledgementsp. 10
Systematics and Taxonomyp. 12
Plumages and Topographyp. 16
Behaviour and Evolutionp. 19
Notes on the Species Accountsp. 22
Notes on the Colour Plates, Captions and Mapsp. 25
Glossaryp. 26
Colour Plates and Distribution Mapsp. 27
Species Accountsp. 107
1p. 107
2p. 108
3p. 112
4p. 114
5p. 117
5Xp. 119
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40Xp. 2ä
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61Xp. ''Bicolored
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71Xp. 300
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