Pairing S. Dillon Ripley’s quarter century of study with over 70 color and black and white illustrations by J. Fenwick Lansdowne, this book marks a memorable ornithological publishing event. Both the book’s subject matter and its manner of production—lavishly illustrated, printed on special paper with relentless attention to every detail—represent worthy objects of celebration and preservation.
Among the least known and most elusive of any major bird species, rails manage to colonize remote islands, impenetrable jungles and desolate shorelines in almost all regions of the world. Particularly interesting is their enigmatic evolution; once having arrived at a suitable habitat, they often lose their power of sustained flight and, over the centuries, their instinct for migration. With the rapid disappearance of their habitats and their vulnerability to predation, this book serves the very important function of establishing scholarship on the rail family.
Rails of the World is now only available in a deluxe edition limited to 400 numbered copies signed by the author and artist, made with the finest materials and including a loose numbered and signed original lithograph.
Dillon Ripley, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, a scholar who knows the world’s more esoteric birds perhaps as well as anyone, and Fenwick Lansdowne, one of our finest bird portraitists, have combined their talents to produce a work which will be coveted not only by serious ornithologists, but also by every collector of fine natural history books.
—Roger Tory Peterson
Rails of the World fills up a very important gap, and it does it unusually well. The text and the illustrations are both of the highest quality, and it is also easy to read and consult. The rails, of course, constitute one of the most interesting, attractive and widely distributed group of birds.