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Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands: Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues, Seychelles and the Comoros Paperback – January 30, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Following in the format of Sasol Birds of Southern Africa, this guide presents all the birds of Madagascar and the other Indian Ocean islands (Seychelles, Reunion, Mauritius and Mascarenes), a great many species of which are endemic to these islands. In field guide form, this text presents concise descriptions of each species, highlighting diagnostic features for ease of identification. Differences between sexes and plumages are discussed as well as the status of the bird, its habitat and call. Distribution maps accompany each entry. The birds are illustrated in full color and where necessary are depicted in all plumages relevant to identification (male, female and immature). In-flight illustrations present the bird from above and below, providing comprehensive coverage of the birds in the field. IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: The text and range maps are opposite the color plates. A useful guide to the region. --Ian Paulsen, Guardian Newspapers

About the Author

IAN SINCLAIR is renowned in African birding circles for his field knowledge and expertise in identifying the region’s many bird species. His vast experience has been gained in expeditions to every corner of Africa, as well as to the Himalayas, Antarctica and Marion Island. He has authored or co-authored several successful bird books, including the hugely successful Field Guide to Birds of SA and the equally successful Birds of Southern Africa.

Olivier Langrand spent 14 years in Madagascar, working in nature conservation. He is now based in Washington DC, working for Conservation International as Senior Vice President: Africa and Madagascar Programme.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Struik (January 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1868729567
  • ISBN-13: 978-1868729562
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,336,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Antonio Salvadori on November 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a first class book for the birder who intends to travel to the region.
The illustrations are excellent with the exception of a couple of plates e.g. the Terns and the Shorebirds where too many species are crowded on one page however most European and North Americans will be familiar with these from their home countries. The endemics are particularly well done by each of the four artists.
The maps are adequate showing by and large where the species occur. They are all the same size and cover the same area. More detailed maps may have been desirable for species that occur in only a small area e.g Archbold's Newtonia on Madagascar.
The writing is perfect for a field guide. It covers the main diagnostic features, The habitat, status and call. There is little or no white space on any page which is terrific as the authors have used the space very wisely.
The book also covers, albeit briefly, where the best birding locations are including a map to show these. I particularly love the quick indeces on the inside of both of the covers together with an illustrated family finder.
Not only that but the book is compact and can easily fit in the usual small bird book bags available. Terrific!
Negatives? Yes I could be picky and pick a few things but why bother on this excellent field guide. I only wish that some day we will have similar guides for the South American countries ...
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Format: Paperback
After I received my copy of this book, I was blown away by how good it is!
The illustrations are absolutely beautiful. The warblers in particular are so life-like they are looking straight into your eyes warily, seemingly ready to fly off the pages at any moment!
Editing is well done, with clear range maps and all the info you might need about the birds found on the pages right opposite the colour pages where each species is illustrated.
Before these species accounts, the book has an excellent chapter on birdwatching in the region, with detailed information on the key sites of every single country covered, even accompanied by good maps of every island worth visiting. Such a good combination of a field guide and a site guide is very rare indeed.
All in all: perfect!
Whether you are thinking of visiting several or only one of the the countries covered here, this is THE book to take.
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Format: Paperback
Basics: 1998, 1st edition, softcover, 184 pages, 70 color plates, 359 species, range maps

This field guide is the predecessor to the smaller photographic guide of 2006 by the same authors. This is the only complete field guide to cover these unique islands in the Indian Ocean. Fortunately, as the only guide, it is also a very good guide. The illustrations are high quality and the text is well-written to aid the birder with the more difficult groups of birds such as warblers, newtonias, and greenbuls.

A range map has been supplied for each of the birds. Given the high percentage of birds endemic to this area -- which is probably a key attractor for anyone birding here -- it would have been helpful to make some type of visual distinction in the map to signify if the range reflects an endemic bird or the visitation grounds of a migrant/visitor. To be fair to the authors, this information is clearly stated within the text under "Status".

This book is invaluable - and a necessity - for birding the smaller islands around Madagascar. For a visit to only Madagascar, this book will be as equally useful as the few other field guides written for this country.

I've listed several related books below...
1) A Photographic Guide to the Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands by Sinclair
2) The Birds of Seychelles and Outlying Islands by Penny
...Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have the Sasol Birds of South Africa From Ian and this book of birds of the Indian Ocean Islands is really fine. It has distriburion maps but those could be a bit mor accurate, This is the olny thing that it could have been better done, it woud be fine too, including in the distribution maps, somo colours indicating if the bird is sedentary, or it comes in summer or in winter instead of telling it in the bird description.

Overall the book is really good and the drawings of the birds are well done. I will definetly use this guide in my trip to Madagascar, as help for identifying birds.
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