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Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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DinkyBird
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Please recommend a good birding book

Unread postby DinkyBird » Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:34 am

Apologies if there is such a topic around ...

I have the Sasol book, and Sasol ebirds on my pda, which is the same as the book.

I find that sometimes some of the pics are not really 100% true to how a bird looks.

I would like to add to my bird ID books, with a book that gives good pics, and a little more info on the birds; like where they nest, and what they eat for eg.

Any suggestions?
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Re: Please recommend a good birding book

Unread postby DuQues » Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:49 am

The Roberts guide is very good. Don't go for photos, just drawings is better as they can overdo certain pointers, which is impossible with photos.

For extra info there is only 1 book: Roberts VII!
That's not really for in the field though (a 3 kilo A4 sized book), and at R800 a little pricy...

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Re: Please recommend a good birding book

Unread postby big5spotter » Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:59 am

Hey

I also want a bird book but with pics and drawings.Coz drawings sometimes make me believe its another bird that looks very similar.Drawings get confusing.
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Re: Please recommend a good birding book

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:02 am

DB, I have exactly the same problem as you. I often peruse all the guides in the book shops, just looking at how the pictures differ. I've also looked for a book that has extra information for each species, something like breeding habits, some interesting facts, precocial or altricial, brood parasitism, maybe some local mythology etc etc.

The only I've found so far is the big big Roberts, and of course Beat About the Bush: Birds. Neither are really satisfactory for my uses. Perhaps a guide book isn't the right format for this type of information (too small for so much info), perhaps the PDA version is a nice format? (I also have Sasol on my cell phone).

One thing I have seen mentioned before, and its good advice, is go for drawings, not photos. Photos often are obscured, are taken in bad light and show only one aspect or angle of the bird. Drawings represent the bird in ideal conditions, and more often show many more angles than photos.

The other important thing I think to look for is having a book with drawings facing the description and distribution map etc. This might be up to personal preference though
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Re: Please recommend a good birding book

Unread postby DinkyBird » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:06 am

DuQues wrote:Did the birding bite? :lol: :lol:

He he yes, and about a Great White size bite :lol:

Thanks so far for the help here! Thing is, one does not really want to lug too many books around with one. And Duco, I have seen that Roberts :shock: Golly, it is some book!
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Re: Please recommend a good birding book

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:19 am

DinkyBird wrote:Thing is, one does not really want to lug too many books around with one.

True, but for me that's one of the nice things about driving in a vehicle. I have a whole backpack just for books (and another for optics) with me in the car always. Books include:
- Mammals guide
- Tracks and signs guide
- Tree guide
- Grass guide
- Insect guide
- Bird guide
- both Beat about the Bush
- Usually 2 tree guides (1 for ID, 1 for information)
etc etc
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Re: Please recommend a good birding book

Unread postby Rooies » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:25 am

Buy them all, :thumbs_up:
Roberts field guide/Drawings
Sinclair/Photos
Sasol/Drawings
Cilliers/Pictures

I have a book at home, not sure of the correct title, but I think it is called Southern African Birds; Nests and Eggs. It is about 7 years old, but I have not seen it again in any bookstore. Will get details tonight.
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Re: Please recommend a good birding book

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:30 am

I just started the section on nests in Beat about the Bush.

If I remember correctly, Birds: The Inside Story also has a good section on nests and eggs.

Sounds like an interesting book though AWB, I don't think I've ever come across it.

Buying them all would make my identification process about 10 times longer and more confusing I think :)
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Re: Please recommend a good birding book

Unread postby Rooies » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:35 am

joshilewis wrote:I just started the section on nests in Beat about the Bush.

If I remember correctly, Birds: The Inside Story also has a good section on nests and eggs.

Sounds like an interesting book though AWB, I don't think I've ever come across it.

Buying them all would make my identification process about 10 times longer and more confusing I think :)


The book is only about nests and eggs of the birds. I will check out the ISBN number, publisher etc and will give you the details tomorrow.
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Re: Please recommend a good birding book

Unread postby leelee » Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:07 pm

I have the Roberts programme on my pda and most of the birdies have more than one photo and an illustration. Works well.
Check out the www.sabirding.co.za website for more detail.
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Re: Please recommend a good birding book

Unread postby Rooies » Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:45 pm

Josh, I went home for lunch and got the following info:
Name of the book: "A Guide to the Nests & Eggs of Southern African Birds"
Writer: Warwick Tarboton
Publisher: Struik 2001
ISBN 1 86872 616 9
I quote from the back of the book "A concisely written and easily understandable text provide species-by-species accounts of the nesting habits of each, the type of nests they build, and a summary of their breeding biology (laying months, clutch, egg size, incubation and nestling periods). Nearly 2000 photos provide a graphically accurate and colourful portrayal of their nests and eggs"

Features include
Tips on when, where and how to find and identify nests.
Distribution maps reflecting each species' southern African breeding range
More than 1350 photos of eggs illustrating 686 species
Eggs reproduced at actual size
More than 450 photos of nests
Easy cross referencing between species accounts and photographic plates

Very nice book to have.
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Re: Please recommend a good birding book

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:01 pm

Thanks.
Wow, it sounds quite interesting. And specialised.

Wish I could go home for lunch too :?
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Re: Please recommend a good birding book

Unread postby Pjw » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:26 pm

I like Newmans and Roberts field guide. Between them I usually manage to get it right. Ken Newman was very specific with his paintings. If he's drawn the bird sitting on a rock or on a twig that is how you are most likely to see them. He has also made it a field guide.... by that I mean when you have 2 or 3 birds that can be mistaken he has either put them on the same page or given a reference to them, Not always in the scientifically correct order then, but that's why you carry Roberts as well :roll: Roberts is the ultimate guide but I'm used to Newmans and find my way round it easily
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Re: Please recommend a good birding book

Unread postby Rooies » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:33 pm

joshilewis wrote:Thanks.
Wow, it sounds quite interesting. And specialised.

Wish I could go home for lunch too :?


It is easy to read and the same size as Sasol/Newmans and the others. Definitely not a difficult scientific paper.
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Re: Please recommend a good birding book

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:40 pm

Looks like its out of print pretty much everywhere. Will keep an eye open nonetheless. Thanks for the tip.
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