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Part 1 Habitats: grassland and savanna; deserts; tropical forests; temperate forests; coniferous forests; mountains; polar regions; rivers, lakes and wetlands; coasts and coral reefs; oceans; urban areas. Part 2 The animal kingdom: mammals - egg-laying mammals, marsupials, insectivores, bats, flying lemurs, elephant shrews, tree shrews, primates, anteaters and relatives, pangolins, rabbits and hares, rodents, whales, dolphins and porpoises, carnivores, elephants, aardvark, hyraxes, sea cows, hoofed animals; birds - ostrich, rheas, cassowaries and emus, kiwis, tinamous, penguins, divers, grebes, albatrosses and petrels, pelicans and relatives, herons and relatives, flamingos, waterfowl, birds of prey, gamebirds, crane and relatives, waders and shorebirds, pigeons, sandgrouse, parrots, cuckoos and turacos, owls, nightjars and frogmouths, hummingbirds and swifts, mousebirds, trogons, kingfishers and relatives, toucans and woodpeckers, passerines; reptiles - tortoises and turtles, tuataras, snakes, lizards, amphisbaenians, crocodiles and alligators; amphibians - salamanders and newts, caecilians, frogs and toads; fish - jawless fish, cartilaginous fish, bony fish; invertebrates - sponges, cnidarians, flatworms, roundworms, segmented worms, minor invertebrate groups, molluscs, arthropods, echinoderms, invertebrate chordates.

About the Author

David Burnie, Editor-in-Chief has written over 75 nature books and scripted a number of natural history television documentaries for the BBC and other wildlife productions, such as Survival School and Wild Islands. He has won numerous awards including the Science Book Prize for his book How Nature Works.


It's a rash (or very assured) publisher who would describe any book as "The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife". No doubt one or two professionals may balk at the omission of certain species, but for the general reader (and it is to that individual that this sumptuous book is addressed) the inclusiveness will seem encyclopaedic. The arresting cover image of the eyes and nose of a baboon in extreme close-up typifies the unorthodox visual approach of many of the 5,000 breathtaking images. (There is a wonderful shot of a lynx appearing to wink at the viewer, also seen in extreme close-up.) David Burnie and his team took over four years to create this unique book, with research provided by 80 leading experts. Animal profiles over 2,000 mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates, while over 5,000 full-colour photographs vividly capture the drama and beauty of the animal kingdom. There are extensive features on habitats, anatomy, life-cycles, reproduction and social behaviour, while unique freeze-frame action sequences present key features of animal life. Some might argue that television has thoroughly colonised this kind of material, but a glance at the pages of this volume will quickly give the lie to such an idea. Expect this to figure in many Christmas book round-ups.

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