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on August 8, 2008
This is not a specialized guide book, though birds predominate. But I particularly like the much wider spectrum this book offers. There are no range maps, and it took me a while to get to grips with the range info. But basically, range is indicated by using the administrative regions shown on page 3 of the book. Species pictured are mostly digital cutouts from photographs. This results in some odd outlines and in many missing claws in the reptiles, to just name the most often encountered drawbacks. Depending on the photos used, the quality of these illustrations varies, and their size as well. This variable picture quality is the reason why I have not given five stars. But the illustrations should serve very well for their main purpose; i.e. they are usually quite adequate for identifying the species. Photos, even in this form, however, rarely allow to illustrate all the plumages of the more variable bird species. Nevertheless, many species have flight pictures as well.

The book tries to cover the more common species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and butterflies. The flora is treated according to the major habitats with a few rather conspicuous typical species. For the marine environment, some commercial fish, molluscs and crabs, as well as some marine algae are presented.

Generally, both English and Spanish, as well as the scientific names are given. Often, more names are mentioned as well, with at least some names in other languages. For those birds that are included, there is always a German name as well. The texts for the individual species vary considerably. But they are usually quite comprehensive for the birds and mammals.

As a birder, I would not want to take along only this book, but this guide has definitely enlarged my view of nature in Chile. And a special benefit is the inclusion of the outlying islands that belong to Chile. There is also a section on where to go for wildlife observations. The paperback version is quite compact and lightweight, and it is thus the perfect travel companion. But it's a fine book for preparing a trip or just to get an overview as well. Definitely worth getting if you have any interest in that area of the world.
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on September 17, 2008
The South American countries are characterised by a very high natural diversity coupled with a relative scarcity of biologists and field naturalists, the result of which is a paucity of popular literature which would enable the curious resident or visitor to easily identify what he/she encounters. Admittedly, in recent years, the lack of reliable field guides is being successfully addressed for at least one group, and there are now excellent - if heavy! - guides to the birds of almost all of the countries of highest diversity. Even so, field guides to any other groups remain a rarity. So it was a very pleasant surprise to come across Sharon Chester's new book, particularly because it aims not just to identify the butterflies or the reptiles, but to provide a broad overview of the entire natural history of Chile and its territories. As far as I know, there is nothing similar available for mainland Chile and since this guide also covers the all Chilean territories, it will be of interest for visitors to the Antarctic too.

The book is very well organised and carefully laid out: it must have been a real labour of love for its creator, who wrote the nearly 400 pages of small text and produced the photographically derived illustrations. In scope it is a general guide to the natural history of Chile, something along the lines of the Ecotravellers' Wildlife Guide series but, to my taste, better put together. After an overview of Chile's natural environments and ecology, subsequent chapters tackle marine organisms, flora, lepidoptera, reptiles and amphibians, birds (by far the largest section, though it does not replace Jaramillo's excellent Birds of Chile (Princeton Field Guides)) and mammals, after which there is a short gazetteer on wildlife viewing sites. The text is concise and informative and the illustrations very lifelike. The book would fit easily into a coat pocket, so it could be used as a true field guide, but is more likely to be used to plan trip or as reference back at base camp.

Should the potential visitor to Chile, the Chilean Antarctic or any other territories buy this book? Definitely! The book will certainly make a Chilean trip more enjoyable for the birder and general naturalist - there is nothing else comparable. And if you need further convincing, at under $14, it has to be one of the bargain nature books of 2008.

Highly recommended!

Chris Sharpe, 17 September 2008. ISBN: 0691129762
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on March 1, 2011
This field guide is very complete, has excellent illustrations and provides region by region detail for all things animal and vegtable. The fact that it is bilingual (and also includes Latin designations) makes it especialy useful on the ground for sharing information with local travelers or colleagues.
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on December 25, 2015
I am planning a trip to Chile, and this is better than the travel guides I have read because NONE explains in detail the various regions of Chile so succinctly, or where to find wildlife, which is the primary reason for my desire to visit the country.

To my surprise wildlife descriptions are not the only thing contained in this wonderful work, explanation of history, geology, climate and topography for each region with interesting natural features I may be interested in viewing are also included in an interesting narrative.
I am ever so grateful because i was confused and confounded reading the travel guides which cut the country up into regions but do not explain the topographical and climatic differences, nor for the most part, where each region begins and ends.

This guide, describes the Southern part adequately for example, where the straights lie and where each of the small towns is geographically located in relation to the straights and the vast archipelago of the South. I was thoroughly confused until picking up this book.

The author writes so clearly; most biologists do not. I like her explanations for why there are so many variations in topography in the slim country and also why wildlife is attracted to certain hotspots in the country.

This is a college level biology course-I got an A in biology in college but did not learn half as much as I learned from this wonderfully written book. It is one of my greatest resources!
Now i know EXACTLY where I am going in Chile and that the southern half of the long country is the part I wish to visit. Thank You.
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on November 22, 2012
I am fond of nature photography, and for me this is one of the books with more information for nature lovers. Contains information of flora and fauna that allows the identification of animals, trees, plants and other field. Also contains short description of the behavior and distribution range of the species.

Birds, mammals, reptiles, whales, trees, flowers ..... Did I forget something?
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on June 9, 2013
This 400 page book is the equivalent of a scientific encyclopedia on Chile's geography, flora and fauna.
The illustrations are excellent.
It is hard to put the book down because it so interesting.
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on October 22, 2009
This is a beautifully organized and marvelously illustrated guide to birds and other wildlife in Chile. The text and maps are outstanding.

It sets a high standard for preparing similar books for other regions of the world.
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on February 17, 2010
This book was very useful in identifying the birds, plants and animals I saw on a recent trip to Patagonia. The information on habitat range was particularly helpful in distinguishing between similar species.
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on March 11, 2013
The guide is very complete, the only problem of thew kindle edition is that the images for identifying species are of poor resolution. A some spices a re simmilar (mainly on birds) this is a problem.
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on September 6, 2014
This is a difficult book to write as Chile has so many regions and temperatures and ecosystems. It may be appropriate to break it into 3 books for the north, the middle and Patagonia.
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