Roberts Bird Guide Paperback – 1 Oct 2009
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Inside the front cover is a quick reference guide to the species covered in the book with an illustration and page number of where to find them. There is a brief introduction talking about the region then 166 plates cover over 950 species. Each of the illustrations range from decent to good and cover birds in flight and differing plumages where warranted as well as arrows to key features. The facing page to the plate covers plumages for male, female, juvenile etc… where needed, status, habitat, food, call and breeding. Each species has a range map showing resident, breeding and non-breeding range, each shown in three color ranges for occurrence for very common, common and uncommon, single red dots represent rare sightings, plus a 12 month bar showing frequency below each map.
Following the plates is a text and illustrated glossary, list of endemics and a rather thorough section on the etymology and foreign names for each plate followed by indexes in each language used in the book. This is a rather exhaustive section but a good reference for those that would want the information and with a region with so many languages in it you can see where the need might come from.
Overall I like this guide though many of my South African colleagues prefer the Sinclair book. The artwork leaves a little to be desired and the range maps can be a bit complicated at first but once you know how they work there is good information in there. I used both guides when there and I use the more complete Birds of Southern Africa VII edition for reference from which this guide is extracted.