Encyclopaedic coverage of the animals of the British Isle. This is not a field guide, but rather a description of each major group of animals (and thousands of individual species) from both biological and cultural points of view.
Buczacki, S. 2002. Fauna Britanica. London. Hamlyn. ISBN 0 600 59867 5.
Hardback. 22x28cm. 528 pages.
This substantial volume does not confine itself to the usual descriptions of natural history and biology for each species, but ranges over folklore, custom, tradition and language; instead of simply showing the place of an animal in nature, we are shown its place in the culture of the British people
instead of simply showing the place of an animal in nature, we are shown its place in the culture of the British people. Stefan Buczacki has drawn together contributions of thousands of people from all over the country, very much along the lines of Richard Mabey's Flora Britannica
. All the main groups of animals are covered and there are individual entries for all the native vertebrates. One of the appealing features of the book is that the entry for each species (or group) starts with a substantial list of known vernacular names, together with an indication of the region where they are (or were) in use. The book is handsomely illustrated throughout; not just with pictures of the animals themselves, but with illustrations of their place in our culture.
As with Flora Britannica
, although not a book about wildlife gardening per se
, if you are into wildlife gardening, you cannot fail to be delighted by this book
if you are into wildlife gardening, you cannot fail to be delighted by this book; looking, as it does, beyond the immediate biology of the animals and into the emotional impact they have on our lives.
I suppose that the similarity between the name of this book and that of Mabey's Flora Britannica
is a deliberate reference by Buczacki: a suggestion that this book can be regarded as a companion volume to its highly successful floral equivalent. Of course when a good idea's time has come, it often occurs to more than one person at the same time: and this perhaps, accounts for the publication of Duff Hart-Davis'
identically titled book in the very same year (2002). Although superficially similar, the two books are quite distinct. Hart-Davis does not cover the native species in as much depth as Buczacki, but he devotes substantial space to domestic (pet and farm) animals - groups not covered by this book.