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The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide (Zona Tropical Publications) Paperback – April 12, 2007


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The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide (Zona Tropical Publications) + Costa Rica Birds: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species (Pocket Naturalist Guide Series)
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Product Details

  • Series: Zona Tropical Publications
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Zona Tropical / Comstock / Cornell University Press; 1 edition (April 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080147373X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801473739
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"For the nature lover fortunate enough to vacation in Costa Rica—and for all lovers of beautiful birds—comes this up-to-date, comprehensive field guide to more than 820 native and migrant birds to be found in that country. From the distinctive pink spoonbill to the colorful trogons and toucans, Costa Rica is home to a remarkably diverse population of birds. Garrigues, a birding guide in Costa Rica, and Dean, an illustrator, provide information for both experienced and novice birds alike. Each page of this compact book is devoted to a different species, listing basic behavioral information and important physical features. Colorful corresponding images highlight plumage differences among juvenile, male, and female birds. Each set of illustrations is accompanied by text listing the species' name, scientific name, and identifying markings for a birder to look for. Also included is a range map for the species, indications of each bird's size, and a few words about the bird's habits and anatomy."—Science News

"The appearance of this new, compact guide to the birds of Costa Rica should spur even more international birders to come to this avian paradise. I congratulate author and artist on a job well done."—Robert S. Ridgely, World Land Trust, author of Birds of Ecuador, Birds of Panama, and Birds of South America

"This book is a must for birders visiting Costa Rica. It is compact, easy to carry in the field, and filled with useful information. I highly recommend it."—Victor Emanuel, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours

"Compact, attractive, easy-to-use, and accurate, The Birds of Costa Rica should be in the day pack of anyone roaming the forests of this birders' paradise."—Russell Greenberg, Director, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center

From the Back Cover

"The appearance of this new, compact guide to the birds of Costa Rica should spur even more international birders to come to this avian paradise. I congratulate author and artist on a job well done."--Robert S. Ridgely, World Land Trust, author of Birds of Ecuador, Birds of Panama, and Birds of South America

"This book is a must for birders visiting Costa Rica. It is compact, easy to carry in the field, and filled with useful information. I highly recommend it."--Victor Emanuel, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours


More About the Author

Richard Garrigues is one of the preeminent birding guides in
Costa Rica, with more than twenty years' experience leading birding and
natural history tours.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
66
4 star
33
3 star
7
2 star
2
1 star
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See all 108 customer reviews
This book is easy to use; and has good illustrations, with very good colors.
Jackie A Nabb
Excellent reproduction of birds, concise descriptions, good range maps and compact size make it a good book to have in the field.
Paul Egeland
For 95% of the traveler's going to Costa Rica, you'll want to take this book.
James J. Peterson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

221 of 226 people found the following review helpful By James J. Peterson on May 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
For 95% of the traveler's going to Costa Rica, you'll want to take this book.

For readers interested in natural history, I think it's important to understand what this book is - and what Costa Rica needed. The new Garrigues and Dean field guide, The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide (henceforth the G&D field guide) will not be the new barometer for definitive field guides. Lucky for us, it doesn't need to be. The earlier Skutch and Stiles Field Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica (henceforth the S&S field guide) is a great field guide in its own right, but has no need to be duplicated. On the plus side, the earlier S&S guide has buckets of information about behavior and ecology, and it is highly informative about general natural history as well as birds. The problem has been that for nearly a decade now, the S&S field guide was just too much for nearly every traveler. The limitations become greater with every passing year. It suffers from an extremely heavy weight (especially when wet), has no visual range maps, and has color plates that are small, sometimes dark, and sometimes poorly placed.

Costa Rica simply doesn't need a bird field guide to compete with the S&S guide (who wants to compete with Alexander Skutch!). It needed a guide to solve the aforementioned S&S problem - a lighter weight, better plates, and good range maps. This book, by Richard Garrigues (Author) and Robert Dean (illustrator), solves that problem. It's easy to call the book "excellent" because of the overall mission. It didn't have to be the best ever ... it had to be the most useful for travelers (and, yes, birders) going to Costa Rica. Clearly the authors knew exactly what they were out to accomplish.
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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Hans de Grys on May 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a great new field guide to the birds of Costa Rica. Although not as comprehensive as the venerable Stiles & Skutch, it packs over 820 species into a pocket-sized guide. The illustrations by Robert Dean are beautifully rendered and seem quite accurately done (experts on CR birds can chime in to confirm or refute this assertion). I also love that the illustrations are large in size, instead of the tiny pictures that are sometimes packed into neotropical field guides.

The layout of this guide is also different from most large-format Latin American field guides. Instead of a couple of dozen separate color plates in the center of the book like Stiles & Skutch, this new book has illustrations on every right-hand page (166 plates in all), with a short description of the bird on the facing (left) page. The descriptive info is brief, but often includes important field marks, habitat, and vocalizations. I also love the inclusion of range maps on the same page, a cool feature missing from most of the other Costa Rica field guides.

Overall, this book does not have the comprehensive scope of Stiles & Skutch, but it delivers what it promises -- a pocket-sized (well, 7.5" x 5" x 1"), beautifully illustrated field guide focusing on field identification. I have three bird field guides for CR, and already this one is my favorite.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Robert K. Furrer on May 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
I got my copy today of this new FG to the Birds of Costa Rica. As I also own the older book by Stiles and Skutch, the first impression was how small this new field guide is, compared to the older one. Very unusual for a FG of a tropical country. The old book weighs in at 895 grams, whereas Garrigues & Dean is a mere 557 grams. A considerable difference for any traveller. It is clear that this comes at a price: There is VERY little text for each species. Not as little as in the ill-reputed Birds of Peru (Clements & Shany), though. The book's text is patterned more along the lines of Birds of Argentina & Uruguay (Narosky & Yzurieta) which I had come to appreciate very much on a trip a bit more than a year ago. Key characteristics are printed in bold face for a very fast orientation. There is some information on habitats, elevation, frequency and size. In some cases, voices are mentioned as well. Most welcome are the decent, i.e. not too small range maps. The general arrangement for each species follows well proven lines: text and range maps are facing the plates. There are usually four to six species per page. In general, there are two or three illustrations per species, often male and female and/or a flight picture. The plates, to me, look a bit inconsistent. Mostly, that is due to some faded looks of some of the plates (e.g. many, but not all of the hummingbirds, ovenbirds, and antbirds). This is why I give this book only 4 stars. I do not know whether this is due to the originals or whether these are printing problems. E.g. in my book, the Emerald Toucanet on the cover is considerably darker than the same species on page 153. If I recall it correctly, the cover is closer to the true bird. But it is too long since I have seen it in nature.Read more ›
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By giantconebill on December 12, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
WOW!!! What a great new field guide. If you're a birder and planning to go to Costa Rica, then this book is for you. I've been a frequent traveller to both Central and South America and have purchased numerous field guides to the birds of those regions. This guide establishes a new standard which I would like to see emulated by future guides. It is compact, beautifully illustrated, and arranged in a logical and easy-to-use format. No longer is it necessary to remove and laminate the plates from the larger Costa Rica guides because Robert Dean has managed to put all the birds of CR in your pocket- literally. This book should really be called the "Dean Guide" because, let's face it, a lot of us buy a field guide primarily for the illustrations. Dean has done an incredible job of creating great illustrations without the need to cram them all together in a limited number of plates. Instead of having to sort through 20+ species of hummingbirds or tanagers on a single plate, Dean has expertly illustrated an average of 5 species per plate. The "Dean Guide" also remedies another complaint I find with most neotropical field guides- he illustrates ALL of the birds. Take warblers for example- instead of illustrating only resident warblers, he illustrates all of the migrants one might expect to see as well. No more having to sort through multiple field guides to identify similar species. I love the placement of the range maps and Garrigues' concise and to-the-point descriptive text. The Birds of Costa Rica establishes a new benchmark for neotropical guides.
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