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Birds of Western Africa (Helm Identification Guides) [Hardcover]

Nik Borrow , Ron Demey
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 60.00
Price: 58.07 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 Feb 2002 Helm Identification Guides
This major new handbook covers 1282 species which occur in the western countries of Africa. The countries covered are Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Rio Muni, Gabon, Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, part of Mauritania and the islands of Sao Tome, Principe, and Bioko (Fernando Po). It is the only field guide available which covers the region's birds in detail and provides colour illustrations of all the species described. The book is illustrated with 142 colour plates which cover all the species described apart from a few vagrants (which are depicted in black and white within the text). Distribution maps are provided for the majority of species.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd (28 Feb 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713639598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713639599
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 17.6 x 5.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,368,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"This most readable and fascinating book." John Van Der Woude & Jan Van Der Laan Dutch Birding (2006)

About the Author

Nik Borrow is an acclaimed bird artist whose work has appeared in many magazines and journals. This is his first major work and it is an outstanding feat to have painted all the plates in this sumptuous volume. Nik has travelled widely in Africa and has been a staff leader for Birdquest for many years, escorting groups of birders to Africa and elsewhere. Ron Demey is a freelance ornithologist who has lived and worked in several West African countries for many years. During this time he has travelled extensively in the region, amassing a considerable knowledge of its rich avifauna. He serves on the editorial team of the African Bird Club, and has worked on several African projects for BirdLife International.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By John Girdley VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
A major new fieldguide, and a classic from the "Helm" stable that will set the standard for Western Africa for years to come. It covers all the 1282 species expected to be seen in the c.20 nations inside a triangle enclosing The Congo, Chad and Mauritania. For several of the countries it is the only single guide that covers all of the nations birds in one book. Nicely illustrated with over 3000 drawings on 142 colour plates which cover all the species described apart from a few vagrants. Distribution maps are provided for the majority of species. As the first comprehensive guide to the region in over 25 years this is a "must buy" for any serious birder visiting Western Africa.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential! 2 Dec 2010
Format:Hardcover
I have found this book absolutely essential when working in the forest zone of West Africa. No other book is more comprehensive for the region. Another review here comments on the illustrations and species descriptions being inadequate. Very little is known about birds from this region and, although brief, the species descriptions are accurate and often essential when identifying tricky species. The plates are not all that inspiring but they adequately illustrate plumage variations and are perfect for the purpose of identification and separation of similar species. Descriptions of vocalisations are as good as they can be and I have found the maps to be accurate.

If you intend on serious birding in difficult environments and want to be able to separate one nondescript greenbul from another, you will NEED this book. If you want to admire the odd bird on a safari holiday then either go for the smaller, field guide version of this book or another less specialised book with nice pictures. In short, this is one of my favourite bird books!
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 7 Mar 2005
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Like most books of this type the information is very general and simply gathered from various references which can make it quite inaccurate.On top of this the illustrations are of a standard that would make identification difficult if birds were actually encountered in the flesh, or feather as it may be.
The size and weight puts it in a catagory of reference book but there is very little information on species that goes into any detail. Things like distribution and status are very general and no breeding info at all.
It's more like a field guide that you would need a wheel barrow for to take out in the field. It would probably take up half your luggage allowance if you took it out to West Africa with you on a birding trip.
Better off with books with less species and more detail.
Not worth the money !
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great guide to West Africa 20 Aug 2008
By Michael C. Duffy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This new edition of the Birds of Western Africa is a great companion on any trip to the region for anyone interested in the variety of birds you will encounter. I used it on a trip to Ghana in May 2008 and found it to be indispensable for identifying the more challenging and rare species as well as the common ones. The illustrations are really excellent and capture the more subtle plumage variations even in the greenbuls and bulbuls. Far and away the best plates in any African bird guide. Period. The text is concise and highlights important details including habitat and vocalizations so essential to recognizing birds in the field. Birds of Western Africa is convenient to carry with you on field trips and a great reference to have before and after planning your trip to Africa. Highly recommended.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best West Africa field guide. 12 July 2007
By Ted W. Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This birding guide is outstanding and a must have for any birder or nature lover that visits West Africa. The color plates of over 1250 species are excellent and the range mape are conveniently located. There is pertinent information for each bird that is helpful. This portable guide receives high marks.
Ted Peterson
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A valuable guide for the region. 1 Jan 2010
By Jessejps - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This guide covers 23 countries in Western Africa south of the Sahara. From Mauritania in the northwest to Chad and the Central African Republic in the southeast down to the Congo in the south. It also includes the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Gambia. Such a large region includes nearly 1,300 species, nearly all are illustrated in this guide. The guide is small enough to be carried in your pack or cargo pocket and clearly was made for ease of use in the field
The emphasis of this guide is the illustrations and range maps. The 148 colour plates are clear, and very well illustrated and organised.Range maps follow each plate and are included for each species. Every raptor is illustrated in flight as well as adult male and females (if dimorphic) and juvenile forms. as a result the plates are crowded and the illustrations smaller than in other plates. And the shorebirds are shown in breeding and non-breeding plumage, so the plate are also a bit crowded. Sub-species are not well represented again due to available space.But this is really just nit-picking a very well done illustrated guide.
I would preffer more detailed written descriptions for each species, they really are sparse and not very helpful for indentification, but that would increase the size of this guide, quite a bit. The real test of a guide is how helpful it is in the field and I feel that focusing on the illustrations was a correct choice, considering the size of the area covered and number of species included.
The last few plates are very helpful in showing island forms, different from species illustrated elsewhere in the book, and there is a nice page showing the shape of the nests of each species of weavers.As usual this book meets the high standards I have grown toexpect from Princeton field guides,and I can highly recommend this guide to anyone travelling to Western Africa or as an addition to anyone's birding library.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bird lovers book 8 Feb 2008
By Lawrence M. Soule - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We are owners of over 50 bird books, mainly field guides. This book looks excellent. It is well laid out and well organized. We are looking forward to using it on our upcoming trip to Africa
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic 29 April 2013
By customer FL - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my trip to Ghana. I would highly recommend it because it proved to be an invaluable resource when identifying birds in the field and afterwards when reflecting on our travels. Also, it seems to be the only complete resource/publication for those who wish to identify birds in that region.
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