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Good book for ecotourists,
This review is from: Birds of the Masai Mara (WILDGuides) (Paperback)
Although Kenya has many amazing locations for birders to explore I still think that the ultimate highlight of any trip there a visit to the rolling grasslands of the Masai Mara. It is certainly one of the finest wildlife reserves in Africa not only for birds but also herds of grazing and their attendant carnivores. Combining the riverine woodlands and grassy slopes of the Oloololo escarpment a three day visit can easily reap you a haul of around 200 species. In fact 550 species have been recorded from the reserve.
This book is packed with good quality photographs, primarily taken by the author, and it provides background information on 202 species. It is clearly aimed at a general market and not at hard-core birders. Identification features are kept to a minimum with the emphasis being on where and when the bird might occur. These texts are organized by six main habitat types, together with a separate section for those species that mainly fly over plus another on night birds.
The choice of species is clearly slanted towards those that are most easily encountered by those on a typical wildlife holiday. Although birders will enjoy the photographs, a lot of species have been excluded so it would be a frustrating book if relied upon other than as an additional resource. Taking cisticolas as an example (a group where photographs can be a real asset) the only species offered are Rattling Cisticola Cisticola chiniana and Pectoral-patch Cisticola C. brunnescens. I can immediately think of five other cisticolas that I saw in the Masai Mara on my last trip - and in particular Stout Cisticola C. robustus which has not been included. Easy-to-see non-passerines are generally better represented however. The only error I spotted was for Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus, where the underwing pattern is described as having a narrow black edge in males and wider in females (in fact it is the reverse of this).
For general wildlife tourists this book is excellent but birders need to understand that a lot has been excluded, therefore reducing its value to them.