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The Birds of Ecuador: v. 2 (Helm Field Guides) Paperback – July 31, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Helm Field Guides
  • Paperback: 748 pages
  • Publisher: Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd (July 31, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713661178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713661170
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,716,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The Field Guide volume, 'intended primarily for field use,' contains plates, distribution maps, and text geared toward the identification of all the birds of Ecuador (excluding the Galapagos Islands). Its companion, Status, Distribution, and Taxonomy, suggested 'for your library (or hotel room or even car),' covers the occurrence and systematics of these same species. Undoubtedly, the field guide will be the volume most often consulted; an excellent aid for field identification of Ecuadorian birds, it will also be useful in much of Colombia, northern Peru, and western Brazil. Illustrations make or break a field guide. The 96 color plates, all by Greenfield, are vibrant, clear, and very effective. They depict nearly the entire avifauna, including migrants and species known in Ecuador only from a single record. They also show many rarely illustrated plumages (such as in the highly polymorphic hawks and eagles). . . . The Field Guide will be indispensable to all field biologists and birdwatchers visiting Ecuador and northwestern South America."—Thomas S. Schulenberg, Science, September 14, 2001

"What Ridgely and Greenfield have produced is arguably the most important publication on birds in the region since the appearance of Wetmore's . . . treatise on the birds of Panama a half-century ago. . . . The accounts are compacted but chock-full of information, covering status, habitat, field marks, similar species, habits, and voice. Despite the fact that this is a superb field guide, . . . it is the companion volume that elevates these books to a rarefied standing. This book} consists of accounts for all the species in the field guide. . . . The second volume makes this set more than just a field guide and handbook. It makes it perhaps the single most important reference for students, professionals, and bird watchers interested in the birds of South America, one that will be a first source for decades."—Eirik A.T. Blom, Bird Watcher's Digest, November/December 2001

"This long awaited, monumental two volume set reveals the ornithological secrets and diversity of this small Latin American nation. . . . The two amassed so much information, they could not fit it in one book. . . . The Birds of Ecuador is an incredible achievement and is most highly recommended."—Dan R. Kunkle, Wildlife Activist, No. 43, Autumn 2001

"The long awaited Birds of Ecuador is finally out and the results are well worth the wait. The 2-volume set is a massive piece of work and the authors intended the 2-volume set to be used by both traveling birders and ornithologists. . . . Both volumes complement each other perfectly and are well worth the price. These volumes add tremendously to the available information of South American avifauna."—Oscar Carmona. Surfbirds Book Reviews, October 2001

"This outstanding work is the culmination of a 20-year collaboration between Ridgely . . . and Greenfield. . . . Indispensable for those planning to do bird work in Ecuador or surrounding countries. Should be in every library with major holdings on bird life or tropical ecology."—Choice, February 2002

"Many of us can only long to travel to exotic birding places in South America, . . . but Ridgely and Greenfield live the dream and generously share it with us through their exquisite writings and paintings. . . . In summary, this is a thorough and thoughtful production that not only provides useful and complete information, but does so in a user-friendly manner. . . . The decades-long wait for these volumes has been worth it!"—Geoff Carpentier, Birders Journal, Vol. 10, No. 6, December 2001/January 2002

"Eagerly awaited though it was, this work surpasses all expectations. On my own past trips into the phenomenal birdland of Ecuador I have longed for good information, and here it is in a double shot: a superb field guide and a thorough reference volume, both indispensable. Robert S. Ridgely and Paul J. Greenfield have done a brilliant job of making this complicated avifauna accessible and understandable for the rest of us. Ornithology, birding, and conservation all stand to benefit tremendously from this landmark work."—Kenn Kaufman, author of Focus Guide to the Birds of North America

"A monumental work that sets a new standard for South American bird guides, Birds of Ecuador fills a huge information vacuum. These volumes are a fitting tribute to the authors' passion and commitment to pass on their unparalleled knowledge of one of the world's richest avifaunas. Those who have not survived such a project cannot imagine the magnitude of this undertaking —Ecuador's nearly 1600 bird species are here made accessible in a user-friendly format. Birders, ornithologists, and conservationists alike will all benefit from this landmark publication."—Steve N. G. Howell, author of A Bird-Finding Guide to Mexico

"Birds of Ecuador is a tremendous and unique resource, not just for people interested in Ecuador, but for anybody interested in the birds of the Andean and Amazonian countries of South America. With its detailed distributional records and some of the first critical appraisals of the birds' subspecies and ecology, Volume One: Status, Distribution, and Taxonomy is for when you have time to really think about the birds. You won't have to lug this volume to the field with you, but you'll still have a convenient resource with which to find out more about the birds."—Douglas Stotz, The Chicago Field Museum of Natural History --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"Eagerly awaited though it was, this work surpasses all expectations. On my own past trips into the phenomenal birdland of Ecuador I have longed for good information, and here it is in a double shot: a superb field guide and a thorough reference volume, both indispensable. Robert S. Ridgely and Paul J. Greenfield have done a brilliant job of making this complicated avifauna accessible and understandable for the rest of us. Ornithology, birding, and conservation all stand to benefit tremendously from this landmark work."--Kenn Kaufman, author of Focus Guide to the Birds of North America

"A monumental work that sets a new standard for South American bird guides, Birds of Ecuador fills a hug information vacuum. These volumes are a fitting tribute to the authors' passion and commitment to pass on their unparalleled knowledge of one of the world's richest avifaunas. Ecuador's nearly 1600 bird species are here made accessible in a user-friendly format. Birders, ornithologists, and conservationists alike will all benefit from this landmark publication."--Steve N. G. Howell, author of A Bird-Finding Guide to Mexico

"Birds of Ecuador is a tremendous and unique resource, not just for people interested in Ecuador, but for anybody interested in the birds of the Andean and Amazonian countries of South America. With its beautiful and accurate plates, fine maps, and detailed habitat descriptions, Volume Two: A Field Guide is full of all that's needed to identify the splendid variety of birds in Ecuador."--Douglas Stotz, The Chicago Field Museum of Natural History --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Anyone interested in birding in Ecuador needs this book!
Tanager
The book has the best color plates, I also like having the range maps on the same page.
Michael N. Lenney
If ever there were a book that cried out to be digital, this is it.
JW

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
This field guide to the birds of Ecuador is the first covering this small country with a staggering 1600 species of birds.
The text, focusing on identification and describing appearance, habitat, habits, and voice, is detailed and incorporates the latest information from the people most knowledgeable about Ecuador's birds. The paintings on the 96 plates are beautiful, among the finest of any field guide anywhere, and seem thoroughly accurate. The birds are painted in standardized poses, which allows a focus on identification. Unlike almost all field guides to countries in the tropics, all are by one artist, with the resulting benefits of consistency. The guide seems to make the identification of difficult families like flycatchers or antbirds or Ecuador's 132 species of hummingbirds easier (well, less impossible) than ever. Unlike other South American guides, all species, including migrants, are illustrated, and all in color.
The 1600 species distribution maps are not at the world-class level of North American maps or even the new India guide, but they are tremendously helpful and, given the state of information in the tropics, a great accomplishment and a major advance. It is convenient that they are right in the text, with altitude information (critical for the Andean region) attached.
Since Ecuador has about half of the species in South America, this book will be valuable for anyone looking at birds in the Amazon basin or northern South America.
Note that the field guide is volume 2 of the set. Volume I has detailed information on taxonomy, status, and especially occurence and distribution within Ecuador, plus general information about Ecuadorian geography and ornithology, which would have made the field guide impossibly large. (It's massive as is.)
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Gabor T Magyar on February 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
I just returned from a trip from Ecuador where I used extensively Volume II of Ridgely et als' book. Having already some acqaitance with both the birdlife of the Neotropics and the bird books on the region I found the plates and the text still very useful when identifying the birds I and my travel mates saw. The weight and the size of the book is, however, making its use very difficult out in the field. The paperback editions did not hold very well during the three weeks, and publishing the book in 3 rather than two volumes could have helped that a lot. Even though the plates do not live up to the quality of the standard dictated by Guy Tudor in the, yet, two-volume handbook on South american birds, but I still found the pictures very informative. The text on habitat, altitudinal distribution, call, and the range maps often helped to narrow down the number of look-alike-species to a manageable level, especially when identifying hummingbirds or tyrant flycatchers.
All in all (and getting back to the question in the title) I could not call this book a champion in the league of field guides for being overweight (just try to carry it on the 'D' trail near Bellavista), although it truly deserves the four stars for the text and the plates alike. If you use it as a 'hotel' rather than a field guide or need it as a reference work for your home library (or have the plates and the text of Vol. II rebound separetely, as I did) you will appreciate the amount of information gathered in this book.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Ratio on February 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
I finally ordered this magnificent guide, and now I wish I would have bought it sooner. This should be on every travelling birder's bookshelf. Just glancing through the plates makes me just want to hop aboard the next flight to Quito. Before buying this title, I heard plenty of contrasting opinions on the quality of Greenfield's plates. Being quite picky with artwork, and prefering that of the elite artists (Ian Lewington, Tim Worfolk, etc) I was a bit nervous. But overall I feel that the plates are very good. The colors, in particular, are very bright, and the plates are aesthetically pleasing. In comparison to Guy Tudor's plates (found in the Colombia and Venezuela Guides), I feel Greenfield measures up very well. I'll admit that some birds aren't drawn as well as Tudor's, but many of his plates are better than those in the Colombia guide. I would definitely take the Ecuador guide to Colombia or Peru, along with those countries' respective guides. As for the text, it is very detailed and distribution maps are placed right beside the text so you don't have to keep flipping around. The maps contain elevation information, and show the locations of two principal cities (Quito and Guayaquil-spelling?) for reference. I haven't yet seen volume 1, but I am assuming it is just as impressively done.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Grimwade on October 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Birds of Ecuador Field Guide is a spectacular but overwhelming book, essential for any birding trip to Ecuador, and very useful in surrounding countries, too. Covering nearly 1500 species, it weighs in at over 3 1/2 lbs. The bulk of the book is not the fault of the authors but of the fabulous diversity of bird life in Ecuador. The book follows the plan of most older guidebooks with the color plates in one section and the black and white text and maps in another. This was required by the economics of printing in the past, but is really not necessary now (see Sibley, etc). The birding guides we met in Ecuador all carry the plates of the book, dissected out and carefully rebound to create a smaller portable volume -- the publisher should offer the same convenience and sell this book in two parts. Bird descriptions are detailed and careful, similar species and how to differentiate them are described. The guide book follows a tradition that I have always found unhelpful -- that of trying to describe a birds voice in words e.g. "pt-weet", "ti-lee-lee" etc. The Ecuadorian birding experts we met all were able to point out some innaccuracies in the book, mostly in the range maps, and occasionally in coloration, but overall the book is a great achievement.

(The copy we received from Amazon, and took with us, had 4 pages missing right in the middle of the almost-impossible flycatchers, but they replaced the faulty copy on our return without any quibble, and we now have a pristine copy ready for our next trip.)
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