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Rails of the World

Rails of the World

A Monograph on the Family Rallidæ

by S. Dillon Ripley
Paintings by J. Fenwick Lansdowne

Regular price $400.00 USD
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Product Details


Leather & Clothbound with Slipcase
ISBN: 0-87923-199-8
Pages: 430
Size: 10.66" x 14.54"
Published: June 1977
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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. —Jean Delacour
Author: S. Dillon Ripley
S. Dillon Ripley served as Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution from 1964 to 1984, the institution's most significant period of expansion, for which service he received a Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also helped found the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and Smithsonian magazine. In his scholarly work, Ripley was an ornithologist, and held degrees in zoology from Yale and Harvard. He was a fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union, a board member of the World Wildlife Fund, and the third president of the International Council for Bird Preservation. Ripley published six books, including four about birds and other wildlife.

J. Fenwick Lansdowne
James Fenwick Lansdowne was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Victoria, British Columbia. A self-taught artist, he had his first show at the Royal Ontario Museum when he was nineteen years old. In honor of his artistic achievements, he received the title of Officer of the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia, and membership in Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.