12 APRIL 1873, Page 22

The Natural History of Birds : a Popular Introduction to

Orni- thology, by Thomas Rymer Jones, F.R.S. (Warne and Co.). Notes on the Birds of Damara Land, and the Adjacent Countries of South- West Africa, by the late Charles John Andersson, arranged and edited by John Henry Gurney (Van Voorst). A Handbook to the Birds of Egypt, by J. E. Shelley, F.G.S., F.Z.S. (Van Voorst).—Thera is no branch of natural history so fascinating in itself or so widely popular as that which treats of the feathered creation, and a good introduction to its study, accurate in statement, strict in classification, compact in form, yet diffuse enough to be entertaining to the unscientific reader, is a work to be heartily welcomed. Such an one Mr. Rymer Jones has given us in the book which heads our list.. He has tempered science so discreetly with wide general information and amusing anecdote, that his youthful readers will suck in knowledge unawares, and learn the mysteries of " dentirostres " Paul "conixostres," while they fancy they are only reading about thrushes and finches. The numerous illustrations are, with one or two exceptions—such as at page 97, whore the nuthatch is-not wedge-shaped or massive enough, and too much resembles the tree-creeper ; and the nightingale (p. 104), which strikes us as hardly sufficiently slender and graceful—both well drawn and -characteristic. Those who have carried the study of ornithology beyond its introductory stage, and arc interested in the climatic distribution of races, and the, as yet, not wholly solved problems of migration, will find -valuable information on these points in the volumes of Messrs. Shelley and Andersson. "The Nile," writes the former, " has now become such a popular winter resort that I have been induced to publish the present volume in the hope that it may satisfy a re-luiremeut which appears to me to be generally felt by visitors to Egypt, viz., for some book upon the spot and collecting to be obtained in that country." After a few preparatory details of sport and travel, the author proceeds to enumerate very many of our own winged favourites, and to describe others of native birth, giving coloured illus- trations of the rarer kinds, illustrations of great delicacy and beauty. The whole forms a handsome volume, both outwardly and inwardly attractive. Of plainer aspect and more drily scientific in treatment, Mr. Andersson's book tolls us of the four hundred and twenty-eight birds ho found either resident in or visitors to Damara Land, a region lying north-west of Cape Colony, to which he was one of the earliest pioneers of trade, and whore he fell an- early victim to hardships and fatigues. To those who have read his spirited travels to " Lake Ngami" and the "Okavango River," the chief attraction of this book will lie in its simple and brief introductory memoir.