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Customer reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars

on 15 October 2010
My book arrived today, and I think this must be the printed field guide of any sort with the highest ratio of info per weight or volume. It even came in a letter-size padded envelope. I did not believe my eyes when I opened it and saw the book. There is a surprising amount of info regarding field identification. The illustrations are somewhat basic, but they are very much better than I expected. Though I would not want to identify a tinamou solely with this book. And the Dunlin looks somewhat confusingly similar to the Pectoral Sandpiper next to it. In part because the illustrations on the same page are not to scale. So there are definite limitations, also due to the fact that there is very limited info on voices.

The book relies heavily on the annotated pointer system as used by Svensson et al in the so called "Collins" for European birds.

Despite its compact size, the book has range maps. And they are quite legible with the exception of species that have a very restricted range or when the range is a very narrow band in the Andean foothills (e.g. Black-mandibled Toucan).

The dimensions given in the product details are correct except for the thickness of the book. It should read 1,4 cm. Still extremely slim, however.

Overall, I think this is a superb buy, and the authors and illustrators are to be congratulated. One does really get a fine overview of the avifauna of Colombia. Something that I have not as easily managed from the "Birds of Northern South America". Also, those two books would be way too bulky for taking them into the field.

I give the book five stars not because I think it is the best possible field guide, but because of its fine combination of info and size.
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on 20 September 2011
Colombia is the home of approaching 2,000 species of birds which makes the production of a Field Guide a formidable task. This Guide makes the attempt in a surprisingly compact format, (and a surprisingly compact price !). The illustrations have proved quite helpful, not always a feature of such texts, and the text relating to distribution allows some attempt to sort out between confusingly similar species. Unlike some more selective texts it deals with the common-or-garden which the visitor is more likely to encounter, particularly if you are not a specialised birder.
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on 16 July 2011
There are almost 1.900 species of birds in Colombia. To make a field guide describing and illustrating such amount of species is a complex challenge. Mc Mullan, Donegan & Quevedo came through from this endeavor. Their book is a complete and easy to use field guide, a book conceived as a field tool, focusing to remark the most useful information to find and to identify each one of the birds of Colombia at the field. How they achieved it? Obviously contents are very synthetic: very brief identification keys to each species accompanied with notes about habitat, altitude, endemism and threat status summarized in a word or in a symbol as well as one or two (some times more) nice colour illustrations at reduced scale and a distribution map of each bird within the country. It's enough to start, but field identification is often inconclusive to many difficult species.
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on 2 October 2012
The big advantages of this guide are:
1. the format: it's small and light.
2. the lay-out: plates + maps = winner.
3. the updated taxonomy compared to Hilty.

The disadvantages of this guide are:
1. the drawings of flycatchers/foliage gleaners can be improved, a lot.
2. some plates bear mistakes. e.g. the Rufous Antpitta ssp. in the Santa Marta mtns. There are more (some tapaculos spring to mind).
3. several distribution maps are already outdated (e.g. Yellow-headed Brush-finch), but I admit it is not an easy task to have accurate maps for Colombia.

Overall the most handy book in the field, and, if the drawings of specific families would be improved in a second version, I would give it 4 stars.
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on 11 January 2012
I am delighted with this new field guide to the birds of Colombia. It contains everything which is needed in the field and will be a joy to carry around all day as it is so light and compact. It also contains all the newly discovered species which my old field guide by Hilty does not as they have been discovered since that one was published. So I'll probably still take the old one with me but leave it in my accommodation when I am out in the field! Good to see that the proceeds from the new guide go to ProAves for conservation. One of the authors also has excellent accommodation I believe at Minca, so I hope to be able to congratulate him personally in 2013!
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on 8 September 2013
The big advantage of this book is that it is small enough to be carried in the field. This means one has to accept the size limitation on illustrations and range maps. The range maps need to be treated with some caution in the east of the country but this is to be expected as poor access means the area hasn't been well birded. The maps can also be slightly difficult to use as they are outline only, with no points of reference, so you need to learn where you are in the general shape of the country. The illustrations are the book's weakness. Some of them are poor. By way of a random example I think anyone identifying Short-tailed Swift solely on the basis of the illustration in this book would have a zero chance of success. As a result I would be cautious about recommending it to a novice South American birder. However, I'm sure it would be useful to a more experienced birder who knows more or less what species he or she is looking at but would like an aide memoire to clinch an identification. I have used it on a recent trip to Colombia and found it handy in the field, but with decent illustrations it could have been so much better. Given the authors and publisher have made the effort to produce a conveniently sized field guide I have given it a slightly generous three stars.
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on 31 December 2014
Very useful field guide
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