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Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (Helm Field Guides) Paperback – 18 Jul 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd; 2nd Revised edition edition (18 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408152096
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408152096
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 270,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Martyn Kenefick lives in Trinidad where he is a professional bird guide. Robin Restall is the illustrator of Birds of Northern South America and lives in Venezuela. Floyd Hayes is an American who formerly taught at the university on Trinidad.


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Trinidad and Tobago jointly provide a fantastic destination for a birding holiday, particularly in winter. I think it likely that more birders visit these two islands than all others in the Caribbean put together. Their avifauna is in fact allied to South America, with the south-west tip of Trinidad being just 8 miles from Venezuela. It is about the same size as the county of Kent, while pint-sized Tobago would fit into that 16 times. Their bird lists reflect this difference. Putting rarities aside about 106 species regularly occur on both islands, but a further 157 are mainly found on Trinidad and 20 are generally restricted to Tobago. That said, between them there is only one endemic - the critically-endangered Trinidad Piping Guan. With some effort it can be found at Gran Rivière in northern Trinidad. So a carefully planned trip of 10-14 days can easily bring you a decent haul of around 220 species while there are great non-birding distractions such as superb golf courses, first class diving and some very attractive hotels.

The arrival of Richard ffrench's Field Guide to the Birds of Trinidad & Tobago in 1991 fuelled much interest in the islands, and that book has served visitors well ever since. This new guide is dedicated to ffrench and is a worthy successor, with colour plates facing the text for each species in a more modern format. Robin Restall's excellent illustrations have been taken directly from his hefty two-volume Birds of Northern South America to create 107 colour plates. The text has been created by former Sussex birder, Martyn Kenefick and Floyd Hayes (both of whom are now resident in Trinidad). The book is very thorough and all 467 species on the Trinidad and Tobago list are dealt with; nearly 200 of these being vagrants.
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Format: Paperback
Just back from T&T, I found the guide very useful and easy to use. The plates aren't perfect, some of the colours can be misleading on some of the plates, but overall the illustrations are very good.

It is light, portable and easy to use in the field and has handy pointers to identifying similar species. The guide lacks detail on habits, but there are other guides that cover this. One complaint would be that the species are indexed by plate number rather than page number. I can't see any good reason for this, it just causes confusion.
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This is the ideal guide to ID'ing birds in the field. I went to Tobago and it was really useful, and this updated version tells you which birds are in Tobago and which are not. The pictures are very helpful and well drawn. I would highly recommend, and I was on an MSc course learning the birds so I had to make sure I could ID the birds correctly! The only downside to this book is it doens't have a lot of information about each species, the "Birds of Venuzuela" book is much better for that but is much more expensive. I got the book wet (we went in the rainy season) and it survived OK if a little crumpled around the edges. We saw most of the important bords (MotMot, Blue-backed Manakin, Red-billed Tropic Bird, White-tailed Sabrewing) and I really loved the wildness of Tobago. If you are a birder you have to visit!!
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I'm glad I purchased this guide for a trip to Tobago and Trinidad. It is more expensive than some cheaper guides, but it is the most comprehensive guide available. It proved invaluable working with hundred of photographs afterwards in tying down the identity of some species I was not sure of. My only criticism of these guides is the refence to plates rather than just using pages numbers. However, meeting one of the authors by chance [Martyn Kenefick] at the Asa Wright centre, I didn't feel this was something to carp about.

I also bought Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (Macmillan Caribbean Natural History) by Richard Ffrench and while not as comprehensive as the Helm guide, liked the actual photograph approach and the brief notes. They were both well thumbed over the time of my visit, and in processing the digital images afterwards. I recommend you buy both. A casual holiday maker with a slight interest in birds around the locality might find the photo book sufficient.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before going to Tobago I bought (from Amazon) Birds of Trinidad and Tobago by Richard ffrench (sic) MaCMILLAN CARIBBEAN and, from a friend, borrowed the first edition of Birds of T & T by Kenefick et al HELM FIELD GUIDES.

The ffrench book is ok for the visitor who dabbles but does not cover all the birds you are likely to see - at least 10 species I saw were not in it. On the other hand the Helm field guide covers everything including all the accidentals and rarities you are not likely to see - maybe 150 - 200 of them, but at a price.

On returning the borrowed volume I bought the 2nd edition of Helm which is significantly updated and for my birding records was a worthwhile purchase. I guess it does what it sets out to do but for the visitor a bit more info on the local species and less on the rarities from Europe and the USA would be preferable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for research for a forthcoming trip to Tobago and to use as a field guide when I get there. I chose the second edition which was published in 2011. As I expected, the birds are catalogued together but it was relatively simple to split those on Tobago as the description of each species includes status. The illustrations are reasonably comprehensive and include some adult/juvenile, year differences, morph differences, breeding/non-breeding species plates. The site information is a bit thin but enough to point me in the right directions.
The proof of the pudding will be when I use it (soon!) but I am hopeful it will do the job.
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