This is an excellent book, very easy to use and a pleasure to own. Its most obvious benefits are the clear illustrations which I have used repeatedly to identify birds quite new to me. Each page of pictures is placed immediately adjacent to an equally simple distribution map, a layout which has repeatedly got me out of trouble and allowed me to differentiate between similar birds with different ranges. At the front there is a nicely written section explaining how the guide works and helping with identification. I am not a bird watcher, but I live in Nigeria and spend a lot of time in the garden with camera, binoculars and the book. Very strongly recommended by me, the amateur, and equally so by my semi-professional mentor.
On a recent visit to the Gambia our Gambian guides enthused about this book - apparently the colours are very true to life, better than any other book. We had a trainee guide with us, and I actually gave him my book as he needed to do more study before he was fully 'fledged', and had hinted that this was the book he would really like! He was obviously very thrilled. I had to order another copy to replace mine, as I wouldn't be without it for future trips.
Great plates, comprehensive and fairly compact. Range maps aren't always on the same page as the plates, but they're always within a page or two away. Plates are the same as those from Birds of Western Africa (Helm) with some reworked and improved.
I was off to Ghana and I need a book to swat up on the birds of that area and there are a few around, and out of all of them this stood out as the best. So I brought it and it was perfect and came in very usful. I do have problem though its only a small one and it might be me just being picky or showing off depending on how you look at it. The cover shows a pair of Yellow-headed Picathartes with one sat in the nest and it is attacted to a branch of a tree. Our group got to see 5 of these very rare endangered birds when we visited a nest site, and the nest are like large House Martin nest stuck to the roof of caves, not on a branch of a tree which explains their other name Rock Fowl, Like I said it's just me being picky.
The illustrations are really excellent compared to some of the other guides I've seen, the coverage is very comprehensive, lots of helpful detail in the diagnostic texts - perfect companion to the region.