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This new edition increases the main entries from 89 to 163 people, and increases the subspecies section from 24 to 179 people. The geographical scope is also extended by adopting the boundaries of the wider Western Palearctic so that species named after people that occur in Arabia, Iran and parts of Central Asia can be included. Boundaries largely follow Mitchell’s Birds of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East (2017) and Shirihai & Svensson’s Handbook of Western Palearctic Birds. Passerines (2018) but take a more direct line from north-east Iran to the Urals, thus encompassing parts of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan (Transcaspia).
No particular list of Western Palearctic birds was followed. Relevant birds were only included where there has been a general consensus as to their occurrence, whether as a regular, vagrant or accidental visitor, a single record being sufficient for inclusion on the grounds that future bird distribution is unknown.
For the qualifying birds, most space has been given to those chapters commemorating people who contributed to Western and Eastern Palearctic ornithology and to some extent those regions immediately south of the Western Palearctic’s arbitrary African boundary. Chapter lengths have been reduced for most of those whose names are attached to mainly Nearctic birds, especially as fuller accounts can be found in our Audubon to Xantus (1992) and elsewhere. Biographies were also shortened for some of the better-known characters – for whom it is easy to find information – to allow the inclusion of hard-to-come-by details about naturalists that have required translation from French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Russian sources. Lesser-known British figures have also been included in some detail (e.g., Edward Webb and the still unconfirmed character, Macqueen). Against this, it was felt necessary to include amongst the main chapters introduced species now naturalised in the Western Palearctic (two pheasants, two parakeets and two parrotbills).