Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
Fine general fieldguide with a broad scope
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.