Rigorously sticking to taxonomic order has also resulted in closely related species appearing on different plates, something that could probably have been largely fixed with some careful planning. For example, Indian and Chinese Pond-herons are on one plate, but Javan Pond-heron is on the subsequent plate, along with the only illustration of a non-breeding pond-heron. Similarly, the superficially similar Yellow and Schrenck's Bitterns could have been shown together rather than on separate plates. Instead of showing all six species of Muscicapa flycatchers on a single plate, four are shown with taxa of Shama, whilst the other two are with strikingly-different niltavas. Blyth's Pipit is on the Wagtail plate, whilst Forest Wagtail is on the Pipit plate. This might make sense in a book on taxonomy, but it really is nonsensical in a field guide! Whether this is a result of editorial inflexibility or having scientists rather than birders as authors is impossible to say, but one hopes that this issue might be resolved in subsequent guides in the series. This book has all the makings of an outstanding field guide, but the apparent inability to diverge from present taxonomic order means that it fails to reach its full potential.
The text on identification is carefully crafted and packs in all the information that one requires to identify the vast majority of species that one might encounter. Indeed, the inclusion of introduced species such as Hadada Ibis and Painted Stork, along with six mynas, five parrots (all established in Singapore), Eastern White-crested Laughingthrush and Java Sparrow, as well as a selection of hypothetical and potential species makes this a very comprehensive piece of work. Hypothetical species include both Baltic and Mongolian Herring Gulls, both of which are illustrated, whilst Tricolored Grebe, White-faced Heron, Northern Long-legged Buzzard, Black Kite and Japanese Robin get full species accounts. Surprisingly, the guide also includes species that are already extinct in Malaysia, for example Green Peafowl, White-winged Duck, Sarus Crane and White-shouldered Ibis and three species of vulture that are all extinct in peninsula Malaysia. Unless reintroduced, most of these are not going to suddenly turn up, although the possibility of vagrant vultures is not impossible. For completeness, the guide even has a full species account for Blue-wattled Bulbul, even though this is more likely a hybrid than a separate species.