I bought this to accompany me on a safari to Kenya and was not disappointed with my choice. It replaced my previous East African bird book that had finally given up the ghost after many years of loyal service and I was a bit dubious to change to this but my worries lifted as soon as I received it. However, the real joy was using it in the field and it quickly became the "go to" bird book amongst my fellow travellers. The text is crisp and concise and the drawings are beautifully clear. Yes, the book is on the heavy side ( as frequently mentioned in other reviews ) but I found no difficulty packing it along with mammal reference books, camera, binoculars and clothing and still staying within the 15kg allowance for the light aircraft transfers between reserves. Practice in packing makes perfect and this book is as near to perfect as one can reasonably expect from a field guide.
I bought this book for a safari holiday in Tanzania. At first I wasn't sure I had made the right choice. There were a daunting number of species included, and it was a bit big and heavy. I couldn't fit it into a jacket/waistcoat pocket like my usual European guides. But as the holiday developed it became a friend - something to flick through as you sat back after a drive, as well an occasional reference during the drive. Anyway since most of the time we were in a vehicle, the weight didn't matter that much. It had exactly the right balance of detail, and its comprehensiveness was a real asset. The identification notes are brief but very to the point and helpful. One of our drivers - and the keenest on bird identification - used a copy as his main reference..and the book became a resource for our whole group (well those interested in the birds!).
Apart from the size (too many species from rainforest, etc, cluttering things up), I had only minor niggles. Sometimes names don't match other usage (it has no "masked weaver" mentioned anywhere, though this bird turns up on bird lists - I think this is an alternative to "lesser masked weaver" in the book). Maps sometimes give too broad a distribution, (eg marking all of Tanzania red, when clearly this could not be the case because of habitat restrictions). Overall very pleased with the purchase.
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Wasn't into birds at all before went to volunteer for a year in Uganda, but very quickly got into them out there. When you're on Safari and there's not animals to see there are always birds, and if you can start to work out what they are then it gets quiet exciting. This book has beautiful pictures, the only thing is as a complete beginner it is difficult to find the bird without looking for the picture (there's 500 odd pages...)
This book is probably the best available for identifying East African Birds. I was on an explore type holiday, touring and camping with lots of safari time. Although I went to see the animals, I came back as interested in the bird life which was phenomenal, especially in the Okavango Delta area of Botswana. This the was field guide our local tour leader was using, and although quite expensive out there, I found it about half the price on Amazon. With this guide I was then much better able to identify all the birds I had photographed (although field notes are also essential).
Others have already compared this book to the other East African field guides available, and I agree with them. It combines the high standard of illustrations of the old Collins guide (the same artist, Norman Arlott, was involved in both) with an excellent layout. In paperback version at least, it is sufficiently light enough to use in the field. We all seem to have plates that niggle us slightly, for me it is the birds with irridescent plumage, sunbirds and starlings, that don't seem quite right. Having said that, the illustrations are fine for identification which is, after all, the purpose of the book.
If you are heading to East Africa to watch birds, this is the book for you.
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Illustrations are of a much better standard than those of years gone by. I can't vouch for their accuracy as my trip to Uganda is still a year away. I got the book early so I could familiarise myself with what we hope to see out there in plenty of time. There's some weight to it and I doubt I would carry it around when on foot.
Informative book which is a good size for travelling to Africa. Weight is so important as when on safari the weight limit in the light aircraft used is rigourously enforced, as we found out on our first visit last year. Be warned- you cannot pay excess baggage fee, you just have to leave stuff at the airport otherwise they will not let you board the aircraft. We did retrieve it when we returned days later thank goodness.
I was lucky enough to spend 2 months in Uganda and the things I enjoyed spending my free time with included photographing the local wildlife where we were staying. My host had this book and I would spend hours in the evenings looking up the birds i had seen that day and identifying them. Because the book they owned was this hardback version, I was glad to see it available here when i returned. A very thorough guide.... Beautiful takes me right back there
This is an essential reference work, though I need not have taken it to East Africa as all the bird guides carry a copy. I like the layout, the images and the index. Some of the species names are out of date.