In the February issue of British Birds:

Birds and habitat change in Britain. Part 2: past and future conservation responses
The second part of a major work on birds and habitat change in Britain, by Malcolm Ausden and Rob Fuller (part 1 was in the December 2008 issue). Since the middle of the 20th century, the conservation of bird habitats has developed enormously, in response to increasing habitat loss and deterioration. This papers looks at the history, successes, limitations and challenges of habitat conservation, and ends with a look to future approaches and thinking.

The social and communication behaviour of the Great Black-headed Gull
Based on studies at breeding colonies along the southeast shore of the Caspian Sea, Evgeniy Panov outlines the social behaviour and vocalisations of the Great Black-headed Gull. The paper highlights the unusual social organisation of this impressive species at breeding colonies, where intraspecific predation and infanticide are widespread. Aspects of signalling behaviour are also discussed in relation to the bird’s taxonomic position.

From the BBRC files: the identification of male Ehrenberg’s Redstart, with comments on British claims
The paper, by Brian Small on behalf of the Rarities Committee, looks at the identification of eastern Redstarts Phoenicurus phoenicurus samamisicus. The paper focuses on males, and explores the overlap between samamisicus and the nominate form of Common Redstart. Illustrated with many colour photographs, figures and sketches, this paper will be of particular interest to birders intrigued by the degree of variation in male Redstarts during last autumn’s bumper fall. This paper will form the basis for reviewing past claims and assessing current ones.

BB/BTO Best Bird Book of the Year
This year’s award went to The Migration Ecology of Birds, by Ian Newton, published by Academic Press

Letters, news & comment, announcements and recent reports complete the issue.

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