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A Field Guide to The Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific (bookcover)A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific
PRATT, H. D., P. L. Bruner, and D. G. Berrett.  1987.  A field guide to the birds of Hawaii and the tropical PacificPrinceton University Press, Princeton, N. J.  409 pp. + 45 color plates.

The pioneering Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific, was the first comprehensive guide to the birds of the tropical Pacific. It was the first to illustrate and describe the vocalizations of many island endemics, and brought together much previously unpublished information on taxonomy, behavior, ecology, status, and conservation gathered over 12 years of ornithological exploration. Originally conceived as a field guide only, this book has far exceeded the normal influence of such publications and become a standard ornithological reference in the region, and is cited in nearly every scientific paper on tropical Pacific birds. It has played a seminal role in increasing awareness of birds of the vast Pacific region among island residents, birders, and researchers. Roger Tory Peterson himself acknowledged that this book has become the “Peterson guide” of the Pacific, and, like the original Peterson series which many believe helped ignite the environmental movement in North America by making nature accessible to the layman, it has served to inspire and inform conservationists in the region. The book remains in print today, but is no longer advertised, and after 25 years of service, is long overdue for an update. For information about progress on the successor to this book, click here.

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The Hawaiian Honeycreepers (bookcover)The Hawaiian Honeycreepers
PRATT, H. D. 2005. The Hawaiian honeycreepers: Drepanidinae.  Bird Families of the World. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

I consider this book the most important thing I have ever done as a scientist. Unfortunately, Oxford’s pricing policy, and their stinginess with review copies and advertising, has meant that worldwide sales have been disappointing.

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Review of "The Hawaiian Honeycreepers"




Handbook of the Birds of the World (bookcovers)Handbook of the Birds of the World - Volumes 5, 6 , 8 10, 11, 13, & 15
COHN-HAFT, M.  1999.  Family Nyctibiidae (Potoos).  Pp. 288-301, [1 color plate], SCHUCHMANN, K. L. 1999.  Family Trochilidae (Hummingbirds).  Pp. 468-680 [2 color plates] in  del Hoyo, J. Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World.  Vol. 5.  Barn-owls to Hummingbirds.  Lynx Edicions, Barcelona
KEPLER, A. K.  2001.  Family Todidae (Todies).   Pp. 250-263, [1 color plate.], SNOW, D. W.  2001.  Family Momotidae (Motmots). Pp. 264-284,   [2 color plates.] in  del Hoyo, J. Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World.  Vol. 6.  Mousebirds to Hornbills.  Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
WHITNEY, B. 2003. Family Conopophagidae (gnateaters). Pp. 732-747 in del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Christie, D. A., eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 8. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. [1 color plate.]
COLLAR, N. J. 2005. [Bluebirds and solitaires].  pp. 514-807. [1 color plate.], TEMPLE, H. J. 2005. Family Dulidae (Palmchat). pp. 326-331. [1 color plate.], CHU, M. C.. 2005. Family Ptilogonatidae (silky-flycatchers). pp. 292-302. [1 color plate.], In del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Christie, D. A., eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 10, Lynx Edicions, Barcelona
BOLES, W. J.  2006.  Family Rhipiduridae (fantails). In del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. &  Christie, D. A., eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 11, pp. 200-242.  Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.  [4 color plates]
HIGGINS, P.  2008.  Genus Myzomela. [4 color plates], VAN BALEN, S.  2008.  Family Zosteropidae (White-eyes). [6 color plates.], In del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Christie, D. A., eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World.  Vol. 13.  Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
PRATT, H. D.  2010.  Family Drepanididae (Hawaiian honeycreepers).  Pp. 618-659 in del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Christie, D. A., eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World.  Vol. 15.  Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Many years ago after the first couple of volumes of this massive work had been published, I wrote to the editors asking whether I might get in on some of the illustrating (I was freelancing in those days). I was surprised to receive one of those “funny you should ask” letters that said I had been one of a short list of artists originally considered for the project, but that they had decided to use only European illustrators because of problems with shipping the originals. But they decided to offer me (and eventually some other Americans such as Al Gilbert) some work anyway, and my first plates appeared in Volume 5 (Potoos and two hummingbirds). Since then I have had some work in most (but not all) volumes, including both text and illustrations for the chapter on Hawaiian honeycreepers in Volume 15. That may be my last contribution to what will be a fundamental reference for years to come. These bulky volumes eventually became available online as "HBW Alive!", and have now (2019) been incorporated into the new Birds of the World, which combines HBW with the American Ornithological Society's Birds of North America, the Internet Bird Collection, and the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology..

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National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America (bookcover)National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY.  2007, 2002, 1999, 1987, 1983.  Field guide to the birds of North America.  National Geographic Society, Washington DC.  [60 plates in first edition, 5 additional in second.  Subsequent editions have replaced some figures, but Pratt’s work still amounts to nearly one third of illustrations in this very popular field guide.]

This is the book that made my name as a bird illustrator. When George Watson of the Smithsonian, father of the NGS guide, presented the idea to me, I was not much impressed because I thought that it would be an example of something put together by a committee and would not have the gravitas of the other guides at the time. I was wrong. When first planned, the book was to have two illustrators, me and Guy Tudor. After a year of planning and deliberating, Guy dropped out of the project for reasons of his own. To recoup lost time, NGS replaced him with two artists, Don Malick and Jon Janosik. Progress on the book continued to be slower than expected, and rather than push their deadline back, NGS kept adding artists to the team. In the long run, I still ended up with about a quarter of the plates in the first (1983) edition, and a few more in the second (1987), and most of them survive in the latest version. In the more recent editions, for reasons known only to NGS, some of my birds have been replaced by ones painted by other artists that are not, in my opinion, any improvement. Why they did not get back to the original artists for such replacements is a mystery to me. Still, it is an honor to have played such a large part in what became the most popular North American field guide.

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Peterson Field Guides' Birds of Eastern and Central North America 5th edition (bookcover)Peterson Field Guides' Birds of Eastern and Central North America
PETERSON, R. T., AND V. M. PETERSON.  2002.  A Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America.  5th Ed.  Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.  [4 flycatchers, p. 229].

Roger Tory Peterson is probably more responsible than anyone else for the direction my life has taken. His books were among my first influences as a child, and he  became something of a hero. The section on Hawaiian birds in his 1961 Field Guide to Western Birds had a lot to do with my future interest in Hawaii. So when his widow called me to ask if I would complete the last plate for the posthumous edition of his famous field guide, I was overwhelmed. The birds I did were all rather drab accidentals, but I was delighted to do them. These paintings have been dropped in the most recent iterations of the Peterson field guides, but I am still the only artist other than the great man himself to have bird paintings in one of his guides. It is a deeply gratifying honor.

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LSU Today article about Doug's contribution to this book

Baton Rouge Advocate article about Doug's contribution to this book




Birds & Bats of Palau (bookcover)Birds & Bats of Palau
Pratt, H. D., and M. T. Etpison. 2008. Birds and Bats of Palau.  Mutual Publishing, LLC, Honolulu.

A few years ago I made the acquaintance via email of Mandy Etpison, a Dutch expat who married into a prominent Palauan family. She is a fantastic wildlife photographer who made her name shooting mostly underwater subjects. But she also photographs terrestrial organisms, especially birds. When she first started, she would often send me images to identify because she was new to birds. Now, she has become an authority and she and I share the honor of serving on the Palau Bird Records Committee. This book includes much information I had been accumulating since the 1987 field guide (above) and new information on plumages of several species revealed by Mandy's photographs.

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A Pocket Guide to Hawaii's Trees and Shrubs (bookcover)
A Pocket Guide to Hawaii's Wildlife
PRATT, H. D. 2014.  Pocket guide to Hawaii's Wildlife.  Mutual Publishing, Honolulu.

A Pocket Guide to Hawaii's Birds and their Habitats
PRATT, H. D., and J. C. Jeffrey.  2013.  Pocket guide to Hawaii's Birds and their Habitats.  Mutual Publishing, Honolulu.

A Pocket Guide to Hawaii's Trees and Shrubs
PRATT, H. D. 1999. Pocket guide to Hawaii's Trees and Shrubs.  Mutual Publishing, Honolulu.

These little books, designed to fit easily into a backpack or pocket, have been consistent best sellers in Hawaii. The trees/shrubs title is in need of an update, but remains the most complete photo guide to Hawaiian woody plants available. The wildlife guide covers birds, but its main focus is on other vertebrates such as mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. I am contemplating a pocket wildflower guide if I ever get to it.

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The Mammals of Louisiana and its Adjacent Waters
LOWERY, G. H., JR.  1974.  The mammals of Louisiana and its adjacent waters.  Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge. [13 color plates, 65 coquille drawings of skulls, many line drawings.]

When I first went to LSU as a grad student, my major professor Dr. George H. Lowery was starting work on this book. At a seminar, he asked offhand whether John O’Neill, Jon Janosik, or I (all bird illustrators resident at the time) knew of anyone who could illustrate mammals. I had never done a mammal, but thought it couldn’t be that different from birds. So I did a few trial paintings, based on published photographs, and showed them to Lowery. He showed them to the Wildlife Commission, and they offered me the job of illustrating the book! It turned out to be a clinic in wildlife illustration because of the variety of drawings and paintings required, and became my first illustrated book. After this, my bird paintings were suddenly much better because of the techniques I had learned. Some of the mammal illustrations look a bit dated now, but I am not embarrassed by any of them.




Birding on Borrowed Time (bookcover)
Birding on Borrowed Time
SNETSINGER, P.  2003.  Birding on Borrowed Time.  American Birding Association, Colorado Springs, CO.  [46 color and b/w bird portraits.]

I met the legendary Phoebe Snetsinger when she joined a tour I led in Micronesia. Of all the participants, she was the only one to see all of the endemics. Later, I met and worked with her son Tom, who was a USFWS ornithologist working in Hawaii. After Phoebe’s tragic death, Tom told me that the family had discovered a journal she had secretly kept during her quest to see more birds of the world than anyone had before. He sent me the ms, and asked if it was publishable and, if so, would I illustrate it. Phoebe’s journal turned out to be a great read. She was a naturally gifted writer, and it needed very little editing. I assisted the family in contacting the American Birding Association, and the result is this book. I was excited to do this project because it gave me the chance to draw and paint some of the world’s most interesting birds. We decided to show the birds that Phoebe wrote something about (other than just reporting she saw it) plus those that were milestones such as her 100th, 2000th, etc. So it is an interesting mix of avian subjects and was a lot of fun to do.

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