The present volume, No. 3 of the Avifauna, completes the work in so far as it deals with the Passeres. In the three volumes are contained 303 genera, 786 species, or a total of 1336 species and subspecies. In the first edition of the Avifauna the Passeres were contained in two volumes, the total number of genera being 313 and the total number of species 936. Oates, however, did not include the family Eurylaimidae in the Passeres and this would add 6 genera and 9 species recognized at that time and would have brought the totals of genera and species up to 319 and 945 respectively.
Although the actual number of species dealt with in the present three volumes is only 786 it must be remembered that a very large number of forms accepted by Blanford and Oates as full species were, in reality, nothing more than geographical races. In 1895 the division of species into subspecies had not been accepted and, in consequence, many geographical races were exalted to the position of species, a status to which they had no right whilst, on the other hand, many others equally good were totally ignored.
In addition to the birds enumerated in the first edition,, a certain number of entirely new species have been discovered, more especially in Burma. A certain number, also, of birds from adjoining countries have now been recorded as having been obtained within the Indian Empire. It is, however, due principally to the proper defining of the geographical races that there is so great an increase in the number of birds dealt with and this is what we should expect to find in so vast a country as that dealt with in the limits of this work.
The present volume contains 509 pages, 7 coloured illustrations and 90 woodcuts ; in addition to these is given a map showing the region dealt with in the Fauna of India Series and upon this map will be found the great majority of the names of the places referred to.
The woodcuts are reproduced from the first edition of the Avifauna, whilst the coloured plates are the work of the author.
No one who has not read and re-read this volume can appreciate the immense labour and wide learning of the author. The large number of facts mentioned under each species or subspecies is enormous, and that the highest degree of accuracy possible has been obtained is due to the learning, industry and painstaking care of the author.
A. E. SHIPLEY.