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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Review: HUMMINGBIRDS: A LIFE-SIZE GUIDE TO EVERY SPECIES, Michael Fogden, Marianne Taylor, Sheri L.

“Honestly, since first opening this book, I have lost hours” 


Hummingbirds have always held popular appeal, with their visual brilliance, extraordinary flight dexterity and jewel-like size and colour. Only recently has their serious scientific study started to gain the attention it demands. With the increasing interest in biodiversity, they are a subject growing in significance with every new species discovery made. Hummingbirds presents every species, with over 300 birds shown in dazzling, life-size, cut-out photography.


Oh my. This book is simply glorious – a true visual feast. It’s a book you won’t be able to resist simply picking up and flicking through every now and again, poring over the dazzling (yes, I shall steal the word used in the blurb, because it is the most accurate) life-size photographs of hummingbirds.

The reproduction quality is top notch, showing every glistening colour, every shimmer and sheen, and perfectly illustrating both the delicacy and strength of these most incredible of birds. The fact they are life-size cut outs means there is nothing to distract from them, either. Honestly, since first opening this book, I have lost hours simply gazing at the pictures and dipping into the information. The names alone are enough to capture my imagination: wire-crested thorntail, violet-tailed sylph, bronze-tailed comet, white-sided hillstar, crowned woodnymph. What vivid pictures those words paint!

Hummingbirds are not a species I know very much about – I’m more knowledgeable about wildlife in the UK than abroad. But this book more than captures my imagination. It is easy to talk only about the obvious visual appeal of it, especially when the subject matter is so gloriously attractive. But this book goes far beyond being merely something pretty to have on your bookshelf (although, frankly, if that is all you do want it for, there is no shame in that. It really is beautiful). This life-size guide to every species is a well of information, beginning with details on the hummingbirds’ evolution, how they feed, their flight, their importance as pollinators…I could go on. There is then a directory giving an overview of every single species it mentions; it is here that the stunning photography really comes into its own.

In October, this paperback version will hit the shelves. At just £14.99 it’s a real bargain, as the hardback is around £32.99. Please do check it out, as it is wonderful!

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