| Birds of Ghana | by Nik Borrow & Ron Demey | Christopher Helm | 2010 | 352 pages, 145 colour plates | ISBN 9781408122792 | £29.99p |
Ghana is one of the most accessible countries in Western Africa and is rapidly becoming a top tourist destination. This dedicated country field guide uses illustrations from the acclaimed Birds of Western Africa, which have been recomposed into a new set of plates, with new text and maps specific to Ghana. The result is a compact and up-to-date guide to all the birds of Ghana, and neighbouring Togo.
The guide covers 758 species, including all residents, migrants and vagrants, contains almost 2000 colour illustrations and distribution maps for every species.
Nik Borrow and Ron Demey are recognised authorities on the birds of Western Africa and are the authors of the highly acclaimed Birds of Western Africa (Helm).
Ghana has been on the birding radar for more than a decade as it is the most accessible of West African countries with the best infrastructure with some of the special birds of the region including the famed and endemic Picarthetes and some other sought-after goodies like African Broadbill, Black-headed Bee-eater and more, so this guide is somewhat overdue.
It is welcomed and the maps and text are great as they are specific to the country although the illustrations have been lifted en masse from the area guide. This is an OK principle if the illustrations are the finest but, while adequate, they are not in a style that I favour and give a somewhat ‘lumpy’ appearance. They will do the job no doubt, but softer yet sharper images with a little setting would have served the user better but, no doubt, have cost the publisher a great deal more. I can understand that this ‘shuffling of the pack’ makes an affordable guide where none exists but there is an alternative… to commission new artwork for each west Africa country building a collection that can be brought together or drawn on as needed giving a guide of the standard of a Collins or Sibley.
One man’s view, for what it’s worth, but from one man who, nevertheless, welcomes this field guide!