Birds & Animals of Australia’s Top End

Darwin, Kakadu, Katherine, and Kununurra

By Nick Leseberg & Iain Campbell | Wildguides | Paperback | July 2015 | 272 Pages | 400 Colour Photographs | ISBN: 9780691161464

* Features hundreds of stunning color photographs

* Includes concise information on identification and preferred habitat for each species

* Provides a summary of each species’ life history, including interesting habits, and suggestions on where to see it

* Offers valuable tips on searching for wildlife in the Top End

* An essential guide for visitors to the Top End, from Darwin south to Katherine and Kununurra, including Kakadu, Litchfield, Nitmiluk and Gregory national parks

The Publisher’s View: One of the most amazing and accessible wildlife-watching destinations on earth, the “Top End” of Australia’s Northern Territory is home to incredible birds and animals – from gaudy Red-collared Lorikeets to sinister Estuarine Crocodiles and raucous Black Flying-foxes. With this lavishly illustrated photographic field guide, you will be able to identify the most common creatures and learn about their fascinating biology – from how Agile Wallaby mothers can pause their pregnancies to why Giant Frogs spend half the year buried underground in waterproof cocoons.

The Top End stretches from the tropical city of Darwin in the north, to the savannas of Mataranka in the south, and southwest across the vast Victoria River escarpments to the Western Australian border. The region includes some of Australia’s most popular and impressive tourist destinations, such as Kakadu, Litchfield, Nitmiluk, and Gregory national parks, and is visited by more than two hundred thousand tourists every year. An essential field guide for anyone visiting the Top End, Birds and Animals of Australia’s Top End will vastly enhance your appreciation of the region’s remarkable wildlife.

The Authors: Nick Leseberg is a native of Australia and a guide for Tropical Birding, which organizes bird and wildlife tours around the world.

Iain Campbell is a native of Australia and cofounder of Tropical Birding. He is the co-author of Wildlife of Australia. Campbell and Leseberg are also co-authors of Birds of Australia: A Photographic Guide.

Fatbirder View: The first thing I have to say is a bug-bear of mine… I’ve lost count of the number of times people who should know better talk about birds and animals… when they either man birds and other animals, or just birds and mammals. If author’s get it wrong surely editors should pick it up? If editors get it wrong publishing houses should most certainly not for they are guardians of education and if birds are not animals what are they, plants?

OK – we’ve got that carp out of the way and I can concentrate on content, which I have to say, despite myself, I was impressed with. Regular readers will know I am not fond of photographic guides, their failings include not comparing like with like, only showing one stage of life, or failing to draw attention to salient ID features. But this very accessible guide very often transcends all of these failings.

Firstly the text is accessible and just what the average reader or full on birder wants by way of description, habitat and what not. Moreover, the photographs are mostly montages that have picked up Richard Crossley’s splendid example of giving us several viewpoints in one image.

For the most part images of one bird family have extremely similar poses making it possible to compare similar species and pick out what marks them apart from each other.

Overall the book is part ID guide, part a ‘where to find’ guide and the dual purposes are seamlessly combined in each specie account.

This doesn’t go into the depth some full on zoologists will want, nor does it have detailed distribution maps, calls and etc., that bird listers might want to consult but that doesn’t detract from its usefulness and it’s a handy transportable size for something covering a number of taxa.

As I say I came to it expecting to be disappointed and went away pretty impressed. Recommended.

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