Customer Reviews: Birds of the Eastern Caribbean (Caribbean Pocket Natural History)
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars8
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on July 1, 2008
Basics: 1990, 1st edition, softcover, 162 pages, 115 color photos, 180 species, no range maps

This is an interesting little pocket guide that covers most of the breeding and regularly occurring birds of the eastern Caribbean. This area is basically the Lesser Antilles from the Virgins Islands southeast to Grenada. This book is not a field guide, but more of an overview of 180+ species typically found in the region.

Each bird is shown by one color photo of varying quality and size. Some birds are up close (held in the hand) while others are only a dark silhouetted "V" in the sky, such as the Lesser Antillean Swift. Some of the photos have poor lighting, leaving you to trust the identification as being correct. The book does have a photo of a St. Lucia Nightjar, which is not a commonly photographed bird. The photo of an Adelaide's Warbler on page 115 appears to actually be a St. Lucia Warbler, which was split over a decade after this book was put into print.

The text covers the standard description, calls, habits, and seasonal status for each bird. A complete checklist is included in the back with all the key islands broken out into their own columns.

This book will be a handy resource to keep at your armchair in case you have a mild interest to review some of the islands' birdlife. However, if you are serious about birding the area and want any information necessary for identification, subspecies, vocalizations, or other more specific information, you will need a another book, such as the Birds of the West Indies by Raffaele.

I've listed several related books below...
1) Birds of the West Indies by Raffaele
2) A Guide to the Birds of the West Indies by Raffaele
3) Photographic Guide to Birds of the West Indies by Flieg
4) La Fauna des Antilles by Morin (ISBN 2908778440)
5) Oiseaux des Petites Antilles by Benito-Espinal (ISBN 2950228453)
6) Oiseaux des Petites Antilles et Leur Nid by Benito-Espinal (ISBN 2912300223)
7) Dominica's Birds by Arlington
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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.
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on January 29, 2015
I purchased two of these in preparation for a trip to Antigua this summer. My copy arrived quickly and in good shape. The second copy went to a friend. One of the things I like about the book is it gives information separately for many of the islands, narrowing down what we are likely to see. It's not as good as "Birds of North America" or "Peterson's Field Guide for the Birds of North America" but who would have thought I could find anything for Antigua? I'm pleased and eager to use it.
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on July 23, 2011
This book was great to have when my husband and I went on our Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. I'm a birder and photographer. This gave me a chance to photograph, add to my bird list, and be able to identify the birds I saw. It's great when you're a birder, to have a book with great photos and help know exactly the name of the bird you actually are seeing.
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on December 23, 2013
A good light-weight reference ... I plan on giving it (and others) to a young enthusiastic boy on north Andros who, before my visit, had never seen a photo or illustration of a local bird in a book. We had just looked at a Strip-headed Tanager in his back yard .... then I showed him a photo in a book and he was thrilled. Hopefully I will trigger his interest in the natural flora and fauna.
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on January 15, 2014
Even though a few species' IDs were not correct, the text was well done and informative and I liked the checklist being included with sites listed at the top of the columns; that is valuable in itself.
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on January 8, 2015
I have not purchased the book, my comments are about the on-line preview. The most important aspect of a birder's guide in the information and images of the birds, the preview above doesn't show a single sample page of the information provide about the birds, this needs to be added in lieu of some of the other sample pages.
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on August 29, 2008
Great book at fraction of original price. Really helped me out on my trip. Very informative.
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