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Birds of Belize (Corrie Herring Hooks Series) Paperback – January 1, 2004
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The book covers all 574 species recorded in Belize at the time of publication. After brief but informative introductory chapters, a group of 56 colour plates is dedicated to every species. As a refreshing change, all migrants are illustrated, reducing the need to carry an additional field guide to North American birds. A brief text accompanies each plate on the facing page, while the full species descriptions are found separately in the main body of text. Range maps for 234 species are found at the back of the book.
Although this book will not replace the immensely authoritative Howell & Webb's "A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America" (on Amazon: ISBN 0198540124) for Belize, it is certainly a much more portable guide to carry into the field. A must for birders planning a trip to this friendly patch of Central America.
The good: Illustrations are well done and "true to the bird" in my experience. It certainly is the most up to date book on birds of Belize. There is a good amount of information about each bird in the second section.
The not-so-good: This book is difficult to use in the field due to its size and organization. For me, the North American Sibley book is the benchmark to which I compare other guides. It packs more information about more birds in about the same size (refering to the "big" Sibley book). Regarding it's organization, if you want to look at an illustration of a bird in the plates section and want to see it's cooresponding map, first you must flip to the second section to find the map page number. Only the second section lists the page number for both the plates and the maps.
Illustrations are good in this book but the vast majority of birds only have one drawing. Sibley has a mimimum of 5. This downfall made bird identification of similar species difficult at times.
This book is large and a bit heavy. I saw one guide that took out the plates section and had a spiral binding placed on it. It looked much more managable but then you have no maps or expanded data.
If you go to Belize, get this book. Despite it's downfalls, it is still the best one available. Be sure to buy it in the US before you leave. I found shops in Belize charging over $80 Belize ($40 USD) for it!!
The pictures were better than the mexico/central america book. Plus there weren't certain birds in the petersons that were in this one. Even the local guide just got it and really liked it too!
The drawing of the Blue-Crowned Motmot was right on the money!!
If you are going to Belize, this is THE book
The plates are decent (about mid-range for a decent field guide). They're not at the level of the best North American and European guides, and you'd be hard-pressed to use them to identify some of the difficult groups (shorebirds, sparrows, flyatchers). But they depict most species pretty accurately.
I can't comment on the maps, as I don't have enough experience in the country to know distributions well. The text is decent.
I would recommend this book to birders going to Belize. But Howell and Webb's "A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America" is definitely a better book, though its larger size makes it tough to take in the field, and the maps in the recent book have way more detail for Belize.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book. Could be better if pictures and range maps were presented with the written descriptionsPublished 27 days ago by willijo
Excellent book though too big and heavy for use in the field. Accurate and vivid illustrations.Published 2 months ago by William Hallahan
Don't waste your time on the Kindle edition -- there are NO PLATES! No illustration of the birds. Plus it's v. Read morePublished 6 months ago by afp7
A thorough and professional guide which will not quite fit in your pocket. Beautiful illustrations done right for identifying your species.Published 12 months ago by James McIntyre
First of all, I know a duck from a robin. I know more than I think I know, but I can't see very well and can't hear great even with hearing aids. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Hazel Hagerty