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M. Gubbins (Aberdeenshire)
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The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals
The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals
by Jonathan Kingdon
Edition: Paperback
Price: 16.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but could be better!, 12 Feb 2009
I purchased this field guide as a companion to a week in Kruger Park, ZA. I consider myself something of a field guide 'geek' owning several dozen on various fauna, but I am far from familiar with African mammals so purchased the Kingdon guide - I would have been lost without it.

Firstly the layout of the guide and its small size were excellent - very easy to travel with and use. It was very well thumbed by the end of the week and thoroughly added to the enjoyment of my trip. It certainly helped when distinguishing genet species, antelopes as well as smaller unusual stuff like blesmols.

However there were a few 'niggles'. Firstly the text lacks alternative common names, so looking up 'grey rhebok' and 'grey duiker' got me nowhere. Grey rhebok are only listed as mountain rhebok and I am still none the wiser as to whether 'grey duiker' even appears in the guide under a synonym?

Some of the illustrations left something to be desired particularly with proportions of facial features especially on the smaller antelope and mongooses, not aiding ID.

Most frustrating though were some of the range maps. These are invaluable in a guide of this nature that covers such a large area and a diverse phylum, but several examples let me down. For example Kruger was full of ground squirrels, yet none of the species listed in the Kingdon guide has a range that includes the Kruger area. The same occurs with a monkey species I saw on the Natal coast.

Overall however the guide was excellent, it just didn't offer me the complete solution and I will be hitting the internet to ID some of the things I failed to ID in the field. I would probably have got on better with the full Kingdon guide, but as I always struggle with airline baggage limits the pocket guide was a compromise that I was forced to make.


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