Book reviews:    Birds of Prey of Africa and its Islands

book27a.jpg (16102 bytes) Title
Birds of prey of Africa and its Islands
Alan and Meg Kemp
1 85974 100 2
New Holland
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Birds of Prey is another fine book in the Field Guide series of books on nature and wildlife in southern Africa. The production of the book was sponsored by the South African company Sasol. This has helped in producing a very nice and good book for a modest price. The book describes nearly 150 species of birds of prey occurring on the southern african continent and the islands around, including Madagascar. Like the other books in the field guide series it has the nice and handy A5 size and this one has a very fine and strong soft plastic cover. Ideally suited to be taken out into the field.

book27b.jpg (28545 bytes)Like most similar books it starts with an introduction on the different bird families described in the book and continues with a description of habitat types.

Then each species is described in detail on at least a double page. The first sections are about identification with different details on At Perch and In Flight and a section on distinct behaviour. Then there the differences between males and females and adults and immatures are described. There is also a section on habitat, distribution and status.

Very nice is also a section on similar species. So if you are having trouble with the identification of the bird because you are in doubt between a few similar species, this section will help you.

The right hand side page has both photographs as well as drawings showing the bird. As you can see in the scanned picture on the left, there are several drawings showing the bird in different postures, sexes and ages. If helpfull for identification there are also drawings on small details like bill or tail feathers.

The book ends with list of all bird names in english, latin (scientific), french, german. spanish and afrikaans. This last part of the book will be very helpfull for foreign tourists. And also if you are travelling there in a group together with some people who have a different first language.

Conclusion: This is a very nice and high quality book on birds of prey in southern Africa. If you are living in this region of the world or planning to visit it and you have an interest in birds of prey this book is very helpfull indeed. And a definite recommendation.

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All text and images 1991 - 2011 Hans Martens