The book is intended to succeed Peter J. Grant's a guide to identification as the standard identification work on northern hemispheregulls. Although the Helm series already contained a volume on seabirds, by Peter Harrison, gulls compete for space in that volume with several other seabird families; in addition, Harrison's book was published in 1983, a time when knowledge of gull identification (and taxonomy) was in a considerably more primitive state (and Harrison himself was a specialist in pelagic birds rather than gulls specifically). Malling Olsen & Larsson's book equals or exceeds Grant's work in terms of its level of detail, and consolidates and synthesises the considerable amount of new information that has been discovered since then.
The first edition of Olsen and Larsson's book was released in 2003. While the book was initially generally well-received, a large number of errors soon came to light. As a result, this edition was withdrawn, and a reprint with corrections was released in 2004. Because the publishers required only the title page of the book to be returned in order for purchasers to receive the reprint free of charge, many copies of the first printing are still in circulation (those with a title page are identifiable by the absence of the words "Reprinted with corrections 2004"... Read More