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Book documents all of Malta’s bird species

A squacco heron. Photo: Natalino Fenech

A squacco heron. Photo: Natalino Fenech

A new book called Birds of the Maltese Islands documents all the 463 species of birds recorded in Malta.

Written by ornithologist Natalino Fenech, the book cites all existing ornithological literature and lists 32 new species that have been recorded since 2010, when the book A Complete Guide to the Birds of Malta was published.

The Complete Guide had won the research category in the Maltese National Book Awards in 2011 and was judged as one of the best 10 bird books reviewed by the influential British magazine Birdwatch.

“This new book updates the ornithological section of the Complete Guide, which gave up-to-date information on the species of birds recorded at the time,” Dr Fenech said.

The 32 new species range from birds seen in the field or published in ornithological publications or online portals to new sub-species being determined as new species because of splits in taxonomy, to others which have been discovered in local collections and verified as genuinely taken locally.  The book contains photos of virtually all the birds mentioned. Most were taken by the author in Malta or abroad.

The introduction of the book makes reference to historic documents related to migration through Malta, such as a report about Malta made for Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 and the references to migration given by Giovanni Francesco Abela in 1647.

It also refers to travellers’ and ornithological accounts dating back from the 1800s to current times.

The book, published by BDL, also highlights the importance birds played throughout Maltese history and makes reference to expressions involving birds found in the Maltese language as well as references to birds in art, nicknames and place names.

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