Top positive review
37 people found this helpful
A compact and top quality field guide for SE Asia!
on 23 May 2006
Between February and April 2006 I tested my copy in the field while birding in Laos: It is an excellent field guide! It is very practical: plastic cover, compact and light enough for field use, texts and illustrations facing each other, good descriptions of species, relevant sub-species, voices, habitats and ranges. In addition the illustrations by 14 different artists are generally good to very good. I recorded about 160 species in two months and was able to easily identify several species new to me thanks to the good quality of the illustrations and the text.
One day while birding around Vientiane my Robson's field guide fell into the mud by accident. It was instantly covered with mud but thanks to its plastic cover, I could easily clean it and continue to use it as before. Most field guides don't automatically come with such a plastic cover and would be permanently damaged in similar circumstances!
I have used some other top quality field guides in other regions of the world: Collins Bird Guide by Mullarney, Svensson, Zetterström and Grant (1999) in Europe, Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America (2003) in USA, Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Stevenson and Fanshawe (2002) in Kenya and Pocket Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by Grimmet, Inskipp and Inskipp (2001) in Nepal, among others. By comparison I find this new version of Birds of South-east Asia excellent! Describing 1270 species with so much text and so many good illustrations in such a compact field guide is a major achievement! However, some may complain that it uses the Sibley & Monroe taxonomic order and that species distributions are described only in the text without distribution maps. But the lack of maps - that would be inaccurate anyway - obviously enabled to insert more useful information for each species.
Overall, it is an excellent, up-to-date and handy field guide for birding in South-east Asia (it is even smaller than Birds of Thailand by the same author!). A real top quality field guide for the region covering Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Congratulations to the author and the illustrators! Good value for money but be aware of the possible confusion between the 3 successive versions of this book. The first and more comprehensive version of this guide - excellent reference but bigger and less practical in the field - was already called "A Field Guide to the Birds of South-east Asia" (Craig Robson, 2000). For this new smaller and handier version just ensure that you buy the 304-page version "Birds of South-east Asia" published in 2005 and not the 504-page version published in 2000 (hardcover) or in 2002 (softcover).