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4.2 out of 5 stars9
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 5 August 2006
This compact little guide is a condensed version of "The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals" (ISBN: 0713665130) by the same author. That book is easily the best overview of African mammals, with detailed info on each species/genus, but it is not really practical for use as a field guide (see my review of it).

This book contains the same illustrations arranged in a format that makes them handier for actual identification in the field.

It is very comprehensive, covering every single species of African mammals with the exception of bats, rodents, insectivores, elephant-shrews and hyrraxes, which are usually represented by one species for each genus. But every single genus is represented, and of rodents, every species of squirrel is dealt with separately.

Maps and brief info on distribution and ecology of each taxon is now to be found on the pages facing the illustrutions.

The latter are a mixed bag, as in the original work: while most are quite good, even excellent and life-like, others are quite awful, either showing animals with stiff, straight limbs/bodies as if drawn with a ruler (like the Crowned Monkey) or in highly unnatural positions (like the Potto with the limbs twisted out, or the Cheetah standing up like a circus horse).

All things considered, this is easily the best field guide to mammals of Africa, though for more in-depth information on each taxon, you may still want to have the original book in addition to this one.
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on 12 February 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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on 9 September 2010
I bought this book for a safari holiday in Tanzania. It did the job asked of it, providing helpful identity data on a range of mammals, while being physically nice and light. It was also comprehensive, covering smaller mammals properly, and not just the usual larger/more common ones. However its scope is all Africa, so it contained a lot of data on species and sub-species that we weren't going to see - while details on the ones we did see was just a bit too sketchy. The maps helped a lot, but there were just too many. Some of the variants we came across (Roosevelt sable, Nyasa wildebeest) weren't mentioned at all. In the case of mammals I think photos are also very helpful - I would like to have seen some of these for the larger animals at least.
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on 7 April 2014
We bought this as an addition to our 20 year old photographic guide A Photographic Guide to Mammals of Southern Central and East Africa (Photographic Guides) as we wanted to be able to identify some of the smaller species and local subspecies we've seen on safari. This book is not easy to use, and for a first time safari I suspect it would be too confusing. Many of the pictures are inconsistent - some bearing little relation to life while some are very good. Rarely is there any mention of alternative (or previously used) names and subspecies divisions and colour variations are not always clearly listed. The maps are difficult to follow, especially when several species are shown on the same map and are not always on the same page as the description. I also don't understand why, in a field guide, you would want 'supposed former range' or similar markings on the map.
To cap it all, there is a description and picture of a Quagga - an extinct animal. Please let me know if you see one in the field!!
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on 7 February 2015
Bought as a Christmas present. Person who received it was very pleased with this book.
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on 17 March 2015
Arrived v quickly and was just what we needed on our trip to Namibia
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on 17 April 2015
Good buy!
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on 5 June 2015
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on 27 July 2014
fast delivery and packed well and also a good price.
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