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Birds of Venezuela (Princeton Paperbacks) Paperback – January 1, 2003
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Winner of the 2002 Best Bird Book - South America, Worldtwitch
"This is a state-of-the-science field guide that will remain essential to birders, biologists and biodiversity workers for years to come."--Adrian Barnett, New Scientist
"An amazingly useful resource, indispensable in the field."--John Kricher, Birding
From the Inside Flap
"The Birds of Venezuela has come of age. The first edition was a marvel when it appeared back in 1978: the first book on a South American avifauna to be accurately and beautifully illustrated, by Guy Tudor. Now Steve Hilty has given us a text to match the quality of the plates, which themselves have here been substantially expanded by John Gwynne. Good succinct behavioral and vocal information, accurate and clear distribution maps, and lots of new ID information, all combine to be just what field observers and ornithologists have wanted. It was worth the wait."--Robert Ridgely, Director, International Bird Conservation, National Audubon Society --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
In his 997 overview of Neotropical field guides Francois Vuilleumier called the 1978 guide "yet another product from the pen of the indefatigable late Rodolphe Meyer de Schauensee, this time in co-authorship with his equally indefatigable late friend William H. Phelps, Jr.", citing it as "certainly the best one available for a South American country". The subsequent works of many others invalidate that ranking, but I think many birders and ornithologists will find that the 1978 book retains value.
This 2003 Birds of Venezuela by Hilty (illustrated by Gwynne & Tudor) includes a considerably better set of plates, generally more detailed species accounts, range maps, and informative introductory text. It's about twice the thickness of the earlier "edition", and I find only eight plates not in color (covering mainly raptors in flights and swifts). As has become almost axiomatic, it's really too big to carry in the field, and enterprising birders may well separate the plates to create a guide devoted to that purpose.
Hilty's guide is a worthy successor to the 1978 guide, and it's the worthy precursor to a guide that is more compact and "field-friendly" without sacrificing utility. Until then, no birder venturing into Venezuela or Guyana should be without Steven Hilty's 2003 guide.
For the most part, it's an excellent guide. The principle illustrators are really good, but the secondary illustrators leave something (and sometimes even more) to be desired. The second string illustrators just don't cut it and the differences are obvious. Perhaps the primary illustrators can/will redraw those illustrations done by their stand-ins for a future edition. The only problem with this book (and it's a pretty big one) is that with the number of birds in Venezuela being so large, this is really a huge book to tote into the field. It's HEAVY!. Too bad I couldn't just take the plate section in to the field. It would have taken several pounds from my load of cameras, lenses and binoculars. However, it's really useful and otherwise functional.
Until another field guide that is much smaller and lighter, or just contains illustrations, comes along, this will have to do for the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao). I'll deal with this one as it does have just about all the information needed to identify birds there.
Having said that, there is little one can add to Chris Sharpe's comprehensive review except to say that I have already used Hilty's book extensively for research this year, along with the other current guides for other countries, and have found it to be the best. In my opinion it sets a new standard. The only small weakness worth noting here is the plates, but has there been a guide that is perfect in this respect?
For anybody birding in Venezuela, the book is an essential item to have along.
I highly recommend this book, I just wanted people to be aware they won't be packing it around town with them like you can with some guides.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Plate quality is poor with faded colours, poor "Jizz" of birds and birds of...Read more