| Birds of Botswana | By Peter Hancock (Author) & Ingrid Weiersbye (Illustrator) | Princeton University Press | Paperback | Nov 2015 | 398 Pages | 1200+ Colour Illustrations | 597 Colour Distribution Maps | ISBN: 9780691157177 | £24.99p |
The Publisher’s View:
Here is the ultimate field guide to Botswana’s stunningly diverse birdlife. Covering all 597 species recorded to date, Birds of Botswana features more than 1,200 superb colour illustrations, detailed species accounts, seasonality and breeding bars, and a colour distribution map for each species.
Drawing on the latest regional and national data, Birds of Botswana highlights the best birding areas in Botswana, provides helpful tips on where and when to see key species, and depicts special races and morphs specific to Botswana. This is the first birding guide written by a Botswana-based ornithologist and the only one dedicated specifically to Botswana. Portable and easy to use, Birds of Botswana is the essential travel companion for anyone visiting this remarkable country.
* Covers all 597 species of birds found in Botswana, including subspecies and colour variants specific to Botswana
* Features more than 1,200 colour illustrations – with more than one illustration for species where the sexes and ages differ
* Includes detailed species accounts, seasonality and breeding bars, and colour distribution maps
* Draws on the latest bird data and the expertise of leading birders in Botswana
“I found this guide to be of the highest quality. The content is well organized and well written, the scholarship is sound, and the illustrations are excellent.“
– Stephanie J. Tyler, BirdLife Botswana
Peter Hancock is a field biologist whose work as a professional conservationist has taken him to virtually every corner of Botswana over the past twenty-five years. His books include: Birds of the Okavango and the Chobe Companion.
Ingrid Weiersbye is a freelance wildlife artist based in South Africa. She is the illustrator and co-author of: Roberts Geographic Variation of Southern African Birds.
There is a great deal to admire about this book. Firstly the illustrations; they appear to be all be the same hand and all for the one project. That might seem obvious until you look at a few other field guides to find that, to save time, and no doubt money, some illustrations are recycled from other books in the same print. This practice in not problematic per se, but sometimes they do not gel as some styles clash with others – here they are uniform, and that does help in the field. When I first looked at the book in daylight the colours seemed a bit muted, but in artificial light they are vibrant. I think it is the ‘soft’ quality of the image that I am not really used to, oddly because feathers are soft! Most illustrators go for sharpness, which I am used to and, with ageing eyes appreciate, but this softer style is probably more reflective of life.
The maps are not just incredibly informative for their size but amazingly crisp too. They, with the handy overhead bar giving occurrence months, together with text and illustration should clinch ID.
Field guides are, of course, all about ID but that doesn’t mean that some writers try to turn them into classic novels! Peter Hancock doesn’t he keeps the relevant information as crisp as the map images. I like too the added local names for birds and sometimes their rather poetic translations too. Nor is he long-winded in the introductory pages, there seems to me to be just the right amount said there too and the colour photos add to the attraction. I’ve only seen one small corner of Botswana and the book makes me want to see more of the country and its wonderful birdlife.