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4.5 out of 5 stars25
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 31 March 2012
If you are birdwatching in Gambia or Senegal, this is the book you want. I'm just about to head off to The Gambia for the second time, and I spent a while researching the market for the best bird guide. Ideally I wanted a book with photographic plates for all species, but I don't think such a book exists for all 568 species recorded in Senegambia (and if it did the cost would probably be prohibitive!) So this one is your best bet. Each species is clearly shown with a colour illustrative plate, and has as much supporting information (distribution, male/female variants, habitat etc) as you will need. Happy hunting and good luck!
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on 11 May 2012
Bought this guide just before going to The Gambia for a short break, and found it really useful both whilst wandering about in bird rich areas with a local guide - who was very knowledgeable and used a battered copy of an old edition of the same guidebook, and for looking up birds later.
I'm not a regular bird watcher but like to identify unknown birds when out and about, and this easy to use guide made the holiday more interesting.
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on 21 October 2012
Senegal and the Gambia or often visited together and with a wealth of West African birds this is a welcome addition to the field guides produced by these authors. This is a condensed version of the Birds of Western Africa with many of the same plates and artwork but just for this region. The size is also more portable than the larger Birds of Western Africa and will be easier to transport around in the field.

The guide begins with a traditional contents page followed by a nice map of the countries concerned with park locations, geographic features, roads, town and rivers. There is also a small inset map showing the countries place in West Africa. The how to use this book section covers the text and maps and plates. Pages on climate and habitat follow with a map of important bird areas of both countries. Taxonomy, organizations, bird topography, a glossary and abbreviations follow.

The main body of the book is of course the plates. Nik Borrow's excellent work is depicted in large, bright images, many of which are much larger than in previous guides. Plumages for male, female and juveniles are shown where relevant. Many species are also shown in flight like shorebirds, skuas, gulls, terns, raptors, nightjars and swifts. The artwork seems slightly brighter and crisper than in previous guides too. The plates are faced by the text which includes a multicolored map showing distribution in the area. Each species section begins with some notes on the species themselves before each individual species is covered. Descriptions of plumage and id characters are described with the main features to look out for in bold text. Habits and Habitat are covered next then a description of voice which is followed by a CD reference to Claude Chappuis's wonderful set of recordings from the region.

After the plates comes a checklist covering scientific, English and French names, IUC status, and the status of each species in both Senegal and Gambia with columns to mark down sightings in either of the countries.

Overall this is a fantastic guide, very good artwork and information along with range maps will allow you to ID most birds you will see if you travel here. Handy references to their vocalizations will help you ID these birds further. The larger images of many species will also aid as they seem to pop out off the page and by narrowing down the area covered, this is a much more portable and easier guide to use for these two countries much as the Birds of Ghana did for that country. Still the Birds of Western Africa is a relevant guide to the region and the Guide to the Birds of Western Africa will have a lot more information in it. Both are by the same authors.

Birds of Western Africa (Princeton Field Guides)
A Guide to the Birds of Western Africa
Field Guide to the Birds of Ghana. by Nik Borrow, Ron Demey (Helm Field Guides)
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on 16 February 2012
Was told that the Helm guide was THE Bird Book for The Gambia so took it on my recent trip. It is a dense and so heavy paperback book, and I could have left it at home to refer to when I got back, but decided it was worth taking with me. I am not a truly committed birder but have really enjoyed having a bird book with me on trips abroad. I found this one really useful, easy to use and a pleasure to look through. Also seems robust. I was really glad to have it with me and I thought worth every £ and every kg. I wasn't familiar with the previous version but others I met who had the old version said this version is much better laid out and easier to use.
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on 15 February 2015
I purchased this book for a trip I made to the Gambia two years ago and left it with a young guide I met there at the time. On our return to the Gambia this year I decided to buy it again as I found it very comprehensive and useful in the field. I have several of these Helm guides and, to date, I think this is probably the best I have, would recommend it if you are visiting Senegal or Gambia, two of the top birding places on the planet.
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on 4 April 2013
Good illustrations and descriptions and handy to carry around. Our Gambian bird guide borrowed it a couple of times, and it got passed around our canoe to fellow birders. We left it with our daughter who is living in The Gambia, and she is using it and writing notes in it, as we had done.
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In the book by Barlow, Wacher and Disley Helm had the best regional field guide in Africa, and rivalling anything outside of Europe and N America. What on earth possessed Helm to replace it with this book? It is simply a subset of Nik Burrow's Field Guide to the birds of Western Africa which, while it had its place covering the wider region, was never as detailed or as beautifully illustrated as Barlow et al. The illustrations appear too dark and heavy; very poor by modern standards. The text is scanty: just three or four lines for each species and comes nowhere near the comprehensive coverage of identification, habits, voice, status and breeding etc. found in Barlow et al.
Frankly I am baffled at this decision. The Gambia is a major birding destination thanks in no small part to the excellent field guide it had. By this one thoughtless decision Helm have set back the cause of birds and birding in the Gambia enormously.
Buy Barlow's guide in preference to this; it's still available on the Internet.
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on 11 January 2012
Great book. Gives full coverage with clear pictures and concise descriptions. Can see why highly recommended by reviewers and friends who have been to Gambia and Senegal. I look forward to using it there in a few weeks time.
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on 2 February 2014
I bought this field guide even though I've already FG to West Africa. Plates and layout are great with all the info you. This FG is more compact so is the perfect companion when visiting Gambia & Senegal.
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on 25 October 2013
Husbands choice for a trip next month,researched and bought following rave reviews,should be fit for purpose.Shal review again after it has been well used !
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