Kruger Birds
Birds of Kruger National Park

by Keith Barnes & Ken Behrens | WildGuides| Paperback | June 2017 | 224 Pages | 400+ Colour Photographs | ISBN: 9780691161266

The Publisher’s View: South Africa’s Kruger National Park is one of the largest and most iconic conservation areas in Africa. Habitats range from wide-open savannah and rugged thornveld to broadleaved mopani woodland. This microhabitat variation gives Kruger a phenomenal diversity of some 520 bird species, half of which are resident. From Africa’s most extraordinary eagles, like the scarlet-faced Bateleur, to electric-colored glossy-starlings and jewel-like finches, Kruger offers an avian celebration of form and color. It is also a crucial conservation area, supporting South Africa’s largest viable populations of vultures, eagles, and large terrestrial birds.

Birds of Kruger National Park offers a unique window into the world of Kruger’s birds. More than 400 stunning color photographs illustrate the 250 most frequently encountered species, and a habitat-based approach assists in identification. The authoritative text provides key information about identification, habitat, behavior, biology, and conservation. Birds of Kruger National Park contains information likely to be new to even the most experienced birders, but is written in a nontechnical style that makes it accessible to anyone.

The Authors: Keith Barnes, a native of South Africa, is a founder and director of Tropical Birding, a birdwatching, wildlife, and photography tour operator. He holds a PhD from the Percy FitzPatrick Institute in African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town. His books include a companion volume, Animals of Kruger National Park.

Ken Behrens, a native of the United States, has been living and working in Africa for close to a decade, guiding tours for Tropical Birding. He has been a birder since the age of 11 and, in his teens, he was an ABA/Leica Young Birder of the Year. He is a coauthor of the Peterson Reference Guide to Seawatching: Eastern Waterbirds in Flight. Barnes and Behrens are also the authors of Birding Ethiopia and Wild Rwanda.

Fatbirder View:Generally speaking I am no advocate of photographic guides. However, generally speaking I am an advocate of these WildGuides. On the former I guess it’s above the 50-50 line, and as the latter it has pretty authoritative (albeit brief) text. My biggest beef is that each account only has the name of the species in English, not with the scientific names too. Of course, the authors know there stuff but if the book is to reach its maximum audience it needs to cater for them. Enough people visit this wonderful park to make the book worthwhile. However, a great many of them will not be from South Africa or the UK or US. Even these three, use different ‘common’ names and it gets confusing if you call a Yellow-billed Egret an Intermediate Egret, and the scientific tag usually clears up any confusion. You can find them if you trawl through the index, but surely there is sufficient space to include them in the accounts? There’s room for a ‘check’ box for the listers.Personally I would be clutching one of my portable bird guide books in preference but I can certainly see the book’s niche.

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