17 NOVEMBER 1866, Page 21

A Dictionary of British Birds. Reprinted from Montagu's Ornitho- logical

Dictionary, with additions. Compiled and edited by Edward Newman, F.L.S., editor of the Zoologist. (Van Voorst.)—This new calition of Colonel Montagu's famous dictionary includes the original work, a supplement that more than rivalled its precursor, and the ad- ditions that have accrued from the subsequent discoveries of species. The indefatigable Colonel doubled his matter between 1802 and 1813, and since his time the exertions of Messrs. Selby, Yarrell, and the contributors to the various zoological periodicals have resulted in an addition of 106 species. But it seems that the classification of these.. species is by no means in a satisfactory state. "The utmost injury," our editor informs us, "has resulted to science in this country from the desire to multiply the number of species. Naturalists have sought to effect this in more ways than one; in many instances, the differential characters of age, sex, and season have been urged on our attention, but in still more the productions of other countries have been recorded as our own." Mr. Newman goes on to say that the time seems to have arrived when the conscientious compiler must eliminate all these inter- lopers. We suppose that he does not consider this task within the scope of the present work, but is content to leave it to the bird-historians of the future. With the exception of this non-fulfilment of the require- ments of strict science, the dictionary leaves nothing to be desired. The features of the birds are described with admirable particularity, their habits and haunts have been carefully observed and are detailed at sufficient length ; and the references to authorities are ample enough to justify the assertion that "the book will be found an index to all the English works of credit, as well as to many of the best authors in other languages." The amount and interest of the information given has seldom been in more satisfactory proportion to size and cost than in this dictionary.