Birds of Western Ecuador

By Nick Athanas (Author), Paul J Greenfield (Author), Iain Campbell (Contributor), Pablo Cervantes Daza (Contributor), Sam Woods (Contributor), Andrew Spencer (Contributor) | Princeton University Press | Paperback | May 2016 | 448 Pages | 1500 colour photos, 946 colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780956987655


The Publisher’s View: Western Ecuador is famed for its astonishingly diverse birdlife, from colourful hummingbirds and outrageous toucans to more difficult groups like raptors, flycatchers, and ovenbirds. Here is the ultimate photographic guide to the spectacular birds of this region. Featuring nearly 1,500 stunning colour photos of 946 species, this richly detailed and taxonomically sophisticated field guide will help you with even the toughest identification challenges. Species accounts, photos, and colour distribution maps appear side by side, making it easier than ever to find what you are looking for, whether you are in the field or preparing for your trip.

Other Views: “A well-written, reader-friendly photographic guide.”

– Roger Ahlman, freelance bird guide in Ecuador

“The authors should be applauded for producing such a complete, up-to-date, and well-organized text. The dazzling photographic collection – which took decades to amass – is truly a treasure trove.”

– Mitch Lysinger, tour guide with Field Guides

The Authors: Nick Athanas is cofounder of the tour company Tropical Birding. He leads bird tours throughout the Neotropics and has photographed more than 2,500 bird species.

Paul J. Greenfield is a longtime resident of Ecuador, where he leads bird tours and is active in bird conservation. He is the coauthor and illustrator of The Birds of Ecuador.

Iain Campbell is cofounder of Tropical Birding. Pablo Cervantes Daza, Andrew Spencer, and Sam Woods are tour guides with Tropical Birding.

Fatbirder View: I won’t bore you all with my long-standing negative view of photographic bird guides. Nevertheless, this book amply illustrates the issues I have. I know from many visits to the authors’ and contributors’ websites that they are some of the best bird photographers in the world. The sites abound with wonderful images. The trouble is that what fills a browser window or an A4 print doesn’t necessarily look so hot when you cram in half a dozen images on a normal book page. The publishers have done the very best they possibly could to produce clear and sharp images and the printer has done a much better job than many before them. However, it is still not always easy to see subtle tones and ID features which can be drawn to the eye by a good graphic artist or illustrator.

In every other respect this is a terrific guide with good maps and text and a coverage and accuracy only possible because of the grounded experience of all involved. A tremendous effort and to be applauded.

As this is probably not something one could slip in a pocket on the trail of the birds, perhaps it could have been even larger to allow the photographs to be bigger. But that being the case maybe what this should have been is an e-book accessing all those tremendous photographs on a scale to delight the eye as well as aid ID.

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