Top positive review
10 people found this helpful
Nice photos, helpful text
on March 4, 2009
I used this book together with Raffaele's 'Birds of the West Indies' on a Caribbean cruise through the Bahamas and down to Sint Maarten recently. The two books were nicely complementary, with Raffaele being the better and more complete guide for ID, but with Evans providing more discussion of the birds and a little more information on behavior. Although the illustrations in Raffaele are generally more useful for ID, the photos in Evans were actually helpful in some cases. Evans restricts his area from the Virgin Islands to Grenada, whereas Raffaele also includes the Bahamas/Turk and Caicos, Greater Antilles, and Cayman Islands. Both books exclude Trinidad and Tobago, which are heavily influenced by South American species.
Although many of Evans' photos are informative, they vary in usefulness. The photos of merlins and peregrines convey shape but not markings, for example. I noticed that the labels for the pictures of the three boobies have been mixed up. The text is generally easy-to-read and informative.
Evans includes a brief discussion of Caribbean habitats in his introduction. He omits range maps, but gives fairly precise descriptions of range, and includes a checklist by island (or by small group of islands) in the back of the book. He also includes a list of birding sites on each island as an appendix.
Although serious birders will want to use this book together with a more comprehensive field guide, there is much to enjoy here, and the book still has value as a stand-alone guide to bird ID in the eastern Caribbean.