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A Guide to the Birds of Panama: With Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras Paperback – June 15, 1992
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Top Customer Reviews
The book's a bit on the heavy side though. I usually go out birding for an entire day (6 am to 6 pm) carrying water, food, a camera and heavy telephoto lens, a tripod and binoculars. Even so, I've always resisted cutting out the plates, and end up taking the whole thing with me into the jungle. If the publisher were to make available a separate smaller booklet with only the plates, I'd definitely buy it. My back would be very grateful indeed!
Conclusion: If you're planning a birdwatching trip to Panama, you NEED this book!
1. Not all birds are represented in the color plates. None of the 15 swift species, for example, get an entry on the plates.
2. Some birds have no picture at all, not even a black and white line drawing in the text. Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, for example.
3. The index is incomplete. Try finding a saltator in the index.
4. There are two sets of plates. Most birds are in the first set, but there is a seemingly arbitrary set of birds relegated to "additional" plates near the back of the book. This makes it hard to do the tried and true method of scanning plates to help you quickly identify the bird you just saw.
So as a field guide this book probably merits only 3 stars. But to be fair it's not labeled as a field guide, but rather a "Guide to the Birds of Panama." Given the high quality of the text, it fills that role nicely.
Significant problems with this book that hopefully a future Panama bird guide will address:
1) There are no range maps showing the distribution of species in Panama. There is a text description of the range for each bird, but this is vastly inferior to a map, especially for someone who is visiting Panama.
2) Immature birds are not illustrated, and females are poorly illustrated: often with just a drawing of the head. The coverage for the Euphonias is especially poor with no illustration of the commonly encountered immature male Thick-billed Euphonia (looks like the female, but with the black mask and yellow head spot of the adult male), and only a head illustration for the male Tawny-capped Euphonia without any illustration of the female Tawny-capped Euphonia to assist in distinguishing it from the similar (illustrated) female Fulvous-vented Euphonia. Female hummingbirds are also mostly absent, or only shown with an illustration of the head.
3) The paperback version has an extremely heavy binding and is too heavy for all but the most athletic birders to take into the field. I saw many people who had resorted to cutting the illustrative plates out of the book, binding those, and carrying that into the field. If you are planning to stay at any hotel billing itself as a birdwatching site then you don't even need to bring this book with you to Panama as you will be better served browsing a hotel copy at the end of your day.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book is all that I hoped for, and more. The only problem, I will have to cut out the picture guides to take to Panama, in that I don't care to cary such a large book.Published 11 months ago by Katherine L. Triboli
I purchased this book with the intention of bird watching on a cruise through the Panama Canal and a trip to Costa Rica. Read morePublished on January 12, 2014 by joan kopchik
The Ridgley guides are great. I just wish that the color plates of the birds were together in one section.Published on November 10, 2013 by NV Birder
What can I say.If you live in Panama and have a local resource library this book should be in it.Published on August 28, 2013 by Virginia Tracy
We identified 63 different birds from our house in El Valle. Warblers of all colors. humming birds. Hawks and all sorts of others!Published on May 12, 2013 by John J DuBois