Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
Invaluble book for South America
on 3 August 2009
I am reviewing this book as a birder and as such cannot give a detailed review of an expert. I have been on a number of trips there and used the guides for the areas. As such I am aware of the pitfalls and inadequacies which this guide has certainly overcome. Alot of thought has gone into this guide.
The first thing that strikes you is the quality of the plates. They do look like the birds in the field rather than flattened outlines that are coloured differently. Put simple the images are lovely with a delicate colour palate coupled with excellent reproduction show these glorious birds how you see them. This is a key element in recognising the bird and one of the great strengths of this guide. Whereas many of the poorer guides are actually off-putting to successful identification! European birders are spoilt with many excellent field guides but for large parts of South America the guides that exist are non existent or pretty poor until now.
Previously these good plates were contained in two hefty volumes that were not really portable. This certainly is (it goes in my shoulder bag easily and is relatively light) and with the Collins non-passerine volume could be easily used in the field and essential, where field guides are lacking.
The plates are separate from the text but this probably assists you to find the bird by comparing a number of species quickly, rather than wading through pages of text with birds. Opposite each plate is the name and very importantly a good quality map so you can exclude species on the wrong side of the Andes, wrong country etc. For 2000 species you have to reduce the text but the guide provides key details such as description with distinct features in italics, voice, behaviour, altitude, habitat etc. I think they have got it right. Too many guides have insufficient text. This element is where it considerably better than the Collins guide.
Looking at the images brings back many very happy memories of the lovely bird life there and I hope it will encourage other birders who haven't ventured to South America to go there enjoy themselves and support the wonderful Bird/Eco lodges there.
Is it worth buying? A very definite YES, even if you have the two volumes before.