- Paperback: 640 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press (10 March 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691126658
- ISBN-13: 978-0691126654
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.2 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,27,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Birds of East Africa – Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi (Princeton Field Guides) Paperback – 10 Mar 2006
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For birders with an interest in the region and those planning a trip, look no further. With the publication of this guide we have distilled into one book all the good elements of what has gone before but better... The plates are the book's tour de force and are simply outstanding... This is by far the best and most exciting guide available for anywhere in Africa. -- Ken Arber, Surfbirds.com The illustrations in this guide are of a very high standard and show the detail needed for field identification whilst remaining of an artistic quality that makes the book an attractive object as well as a useful one... The brief descriptions are excellent and the language fresh and punchy... A very fine field-guide indeed and sets a new standard for regional African guides. -- Fatbirder.com As soon as you open the book, you'll realise that the standard of artwork is exceptional. The text is also of an unusually high standard... If you are planning a trip to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda or Burundi this is now unquestionably the most valuable book you can buy. And if you aren't yet planning a trip there this is the perfect book to get you dreaming. -- Birdguides.com If East Africa is in your dreams, this should fill the bill. -- Charles E. Keller, Indiana Audubon Quarterly
About the Author
Terry Stevenson has made Kenya his home since 1977 and is one of Africa's foremost bird-tour guides, having led numerous tours across the continent. He wrote "The Birds of Lake Baringo" while he was resident ornithologist there from 1981 to 1985, and is a member and advisor to the bird committee of Nature Kenya and to the East African Rarities Committee. John Fanshawe is the Africa consultant for BirdLife International. He has conducted research in the region for many years, and is widely regarded as unrivaled in his knowledge of East African birds and their conservation.
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I am sure it will serve me well in my visit.
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Although I bought both Zimmerman et al's Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania, and Stevenson's Birds of East Africa, I prefer Stevenson's book by far for its usefulness. Zimmerman's guide has plates that are far too crowded (and he notes that they do not apologize for the crowded plates), which makes it almost overwhelming to find distinctive marks, especially since the birds are numbered instead of named and the maps are far separate from the plates. Both guides have quality illustrations (acknowledging that some features may be inaccurate--see first disclaimer in this review!). Each treats flying birds somewhat differently. For example, Zimmerman places all flying raptors together, which while super crowded does allow for many to be seen at once, whereas Stevenson places flying raptors next to the perched illustration, and then usefully separates the species with a line. I tend to bring all the guides I have for an area with me to the field (regardless of the weight), and both of these are useful for their respective features. However, if I had to choose one, it would be Stevenson's.
Its main shortcoming is its inaccurate illustrations of birds. Often, the color is off, such as the blue of Blue flycatcher and of grey-headed kingfisher. The color differ quite a bit from the nature. African paradise flycatcher's eye ring is blue, in the book, it is grey. Plain-backed pipit's back is pale toupee in nature, but brown in the book. In addition to inaccurate colors, the shape are often wrong too. For example, larks look very exaggerated in the book, they simply do not match the general impression of the larks in the field. Bird ID in East Africa would be a real challenge, if one had to rely on this field guide.
During our 2 week trip in Kenya (Lewa Downs, Lake Baringo, Kakamega forest, Masai Mara), we had at least 6 birding/game drive guides. All use Zimmerman's book for its better illustrations. So during the trip, we used our guides' book and left ours in the tent. People rightly complain about Zimmerman's poor organization, but in the end that is a minor issue compared to the accuracy of the drawings (do not expect too much from Zimmerman either though: the drawings are nowhere near as good as Sibley's or as in Birds of Europe by Svensson/Zetterström/Mullarney) .