Another mini-review to add:
What Birds Is That?, Revised field edition, 1991. Neveille W. Cayley
442 pages, 700 grams.
This is one of the oldest Australian field guides, originally written in 1931, but updated a few times since. I've heard of a few older birders using this and it was going cheap (RRP A$29.95 - cheapest cover price of the Aus. field guides), so now you get to hear about it.
As one might expect, it looks fairly old-fashioned in a nice way. The plates are separate to the text and while quite nice to look at, are not necessarily great for identification. As was usual for the time, some of the birds appear in 'museum poses', in that you'd probably not see a live bird doing the head-down, wings slightly held out posture that so many old museum pieces have. The swallows and swifts, especially, look very posed. Some of the paltes can be crowded and the pictures are often small.
For all that, the text itself has some very useful behavioural notes that I've not seen in the other guides. For all that, the behavioural notes in this field edition are much reduced compared to the hardback.
The book is kept somewhat up to date by revisions from Terence R. Lindsay, so that several vagrant species and splits are included. Island and territory species don't appear to be included.
The grouping of the species is not generally taxonomic, but by habitat. There are also no range maps, but written descriptions of distributions.
All in all, a fairly nice book and it may suit some people more than others, depending on how you like the species to be ordered.
The book is quite compact and more pocket-sized than Slater and only a shade heavier.
Positive: Light and compact; nice pointers on behaviour.
Negative: Artwork can look dated; no distribution maps; small pictures.