World renowned wildlife painter Robert Bateman describes this book as neither a field guide to birds nor a reference book. Rather it is aptly represented as an artist’s “portfolio” and a “field diary.” Bateman not only depicts a worldwide range of avian species in startlingly lifelike paintings, he also captures a sense of place and motion (even when the subjects are still) within landscapes that could stand on their own. The artist’s uncanny ability is no less displayed in the backgrounds and settings than in the portraits of the birds. Bateman paints a wading African blue crane with both bird and water in near photographic clarity. Likewise, he crafts a muted impressionistic Latin American rain forest, wherein brilliantly colored macaws perch, preen and dangle from the lush trees. Perhaps because of the voluptuousness of the paintings, Dean’s text, depicting Bateman’s field experiences, leans toward breathless overuse of modifiers, rather than lighter, subtler prose; the brief foreword to the book by Matthiessen (Birds of Heaven) is insightful. Yet the paintings easily carry the accompanying top-heavy copy with no ill effect. This is a wonderful book for birders, wildlife enthusiasts and art lovers. 176 pages.