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Birds of Southern Africa: Fourth Edition (Princeton Field Guides) Paperback


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Birds of Southern Africa: Fourth Edition (Princeton Field Guides) + The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals (Princeton Pocket Guides)
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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Field Guides
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Fourth Edition edition (November 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069115225X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691152257
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The relatively small size of the book coupled with the beautiful and accurate plates make this field guide an ideal companion for any level of bird watching in southern Africa."--Nate Fronk, Words about Birds

"Throughout this fourth edition there are many additions and updates, including additional artwork. Each of the authors is a well-known ornithologist and writer, while the two artists are clearly talented and experienced with the birdlife. A great book has been made even better for this fourth edition of Birds of Southern Africa."--Charles Leck, American Reference Books Annual

"Any natural history enthusiast or birder traveling to the region will want this field guide, and many an armchair traveler will appreciate it as well."--Dan R. Kunkle, Wildlife Activist

"Birders can quickly become overwhelmed at the scope of avifauna in southern Africa, but Birds of Southern Africa: Fourth Edition is an easy-to-use and convenient field guide for the region. With multiple colorful illustrations for many species, seasonality bars and useful text details, this field guide is the ideal choice for birders traveling from South Africa to southern Mozambique to Namibia and all bird-rich points in between."--Melissa Mayntz, About.com Birding/Wild Birds

About the Author

Ian Sinclair has traveled widely to view the world's birds and is the author of many books on bird identification. Phil Hockey is director of the University of Cape Town's Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. Warwick Tarboton is a well-known bird expert, writer, and photographer, and the author of several books. Peter Ryan is associate professor at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, and president of BirdLife South Africa. He has also authored several books.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
This was a great help identifying unfamiliar birds.
DougEP
I like the Princeton Bird Guide Books and look forward to using this one in South Africa as we have used other guides of theirs in other countrys.
Sherry Hagen
There is also a quick thumbnail description of the bird, voice, and habitat.
Birdseed

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ferro on March 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A slight improvement on the previous edition in terms of maps (which are now colour-coded) and new species (with updated taxonomy). The illustrations are actually produced at a touch larger scale, which is nice, however the pages have begun to look a bit crowded.
It may just be a printing error with my personal copy, but the plates seem too garish and over-coloured, as if someone has turned up the saturation a few notches too far. Call me fussy but they also have a somewhat unlikeable scaly, scratched effect. I would question wether the very "Robertsy" inclusion of afrikaans names (and sonograms in places) is really necessary. (If so why not include all the main languages of the region?).
The overall arrangement has been improved (no separate pages for in-flight illustrations, they all appear in one place within their species). There is also a helpful seasonality bar for each bird. So despite the relatively minor flaws I have listed, it is still the best and most useful field guide to the region.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Clarence E. Forsythe on August 6, 2013
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This book has full color plates of nearly every resident and migratory bird found in S.A. Plates are in full color and show juvenile and morph colors so that you can make clean decisions on what that bird "really is." Descriptions show known ranges, migratory occupation areas and timeframes, and even the rare sightings and unusual or unexpected locations where each species has been seen. However, it is the good organization and outstanding color plates showing profile, head feature, upper and lower wing features, and leggings that will keep you paging through this book on your trip. It is the right size to stuff in your day gear or car without getting in the way, so it is easy to keep handy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Birdseed on October 4, 2013
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The Birds of Southern Africa is a beautiful book with exquisite paintings of each bird, male and female, along with a smaller representations of in-flight. The birds are grouped by genus and physical similarities. On the opposing page is a small map of southern Africa (Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa with Lesotho and Swaziland) with the range of the bird represented by seasonal colors. There is also a quick thumbnail description of the bird, voice, and habitat. At the top of each thumbnail is a calendar bar indicating migration and egg laying periods. This really seems like a smart way to present information in a field guide. The book will be a bit heavy (~ 2lbs/1kg) for lugging along on our excursions but, heck, maybe I'll leave lunch behind. It looks that wonderful. And penguins! I'll try to leave an update after I return from my trip.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M.J. on June 14, 2013
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I love the plates in this field guide, they are truly stunning. It hasn't let me down yet! It also isn't too bulky so carrying it in the field is extremely convenient.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Theis on May 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love the book, simply stated. It came quickly in the mail, and it arrived in perfect shape. The pictures are detailed and the text thorough. It is the perfect size to take in the field. I highly recommend this book.
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Although this book does not purport to cover Zambia, I found every bird I was looking for in this book. My travels were on the east side of Zambia, so since this book covers Zimbabwe, it worked fine. There is no stand alone book for Zambia. Our guides did the major naming of the birds but I loved being able to find them quickly in this beautiful book.
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By B D. on March 30, 2014
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My guide came in the nick of time for my trip to South Africa, and I am SO glad I had it. Large, detailed illustrations like a Peterson's, and not too big and heavy a book. The quick references in the front and back covers made it super easy to use, and it was a nice touch to have the Afrikaans names included. The eagle drawings doesn't do the birds justice and the ranges of common birds abruptly cutting off at the borders in was a bit weird, but rarer things have more precise maps, and overall, it's an excellent, must-have field guide.
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Birds of Southern Africa is probably the best available field guide to the birds of southern Africa. However, that does not mean it’s without shortcomings. Having more illustrations of each species (as with the Sibley guides) would be valuable. In most cases there were only two illustrations of each species, only rarely including alternate plumage or juvenile birds. There were several times while birding in South Africa that I had difficulty identifying birds in something other than the adult plumage usually illustrated in this book. On the other hand, providing more illustrations would significantly increase this book’s size from one that is already too large to be carried comfortable as a field guide. I also found that sometimes the distribution maps were inaccurate (this may be due to their small size). This was especially true of Lesotho, where I found four species (Green Wood-Hoopoe, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Pale-winged Starling, and Common Myna) that according to distribution maps in this book should not be found in that country.
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