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.