37 internautes sur 38 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This is an excellent, rich guide to the identification of Peruvian Birds. You can tell as you look over the book that an incredible amount of research and time went into it and the authors do say that it had its beginnings as early as 1961! I also liked to see that the late great field ornithologist Theodore Parker was included as an author.
If I could, I would give this guide a 4.9 star rating as I feel there are only a few minor problems with it. With the vast number of species that have to be illustrated, described, and mapped it is almost impossible to make a field guide for most South American countries field worthy. This book is just a little too large and a bit heavy for the field. It is hardcover and a paperpack edition might be a bit lighter. I wish the illustrators could have been a bit more efficient in their use of space and condensed the plates slightly. For example on the Pigeons and Doves the Rock Dove, a species we are all familiar with takes up over 1/3 of a page while other species such as some difficult to id woodcreepers are limited to a much smaller area.
That said the book overall is excellent. I was relieved to see that all the species illustrated on the plates have species accounts on the opposite page with a map of their range. The species accounts are clear, concise and include information on altitude range, habitat,separation from similar species, population status, and additional identification notes. Most of the range maps are easy to use but I found some confusing as birds with small limited ranges are depicted only in a few provinces without reference to the country as a whole.
Most of the illustations are excellent but they do vary in quality as there are several illustrators for the book. I find that I prefer the plates in the Clements Field Guide to the Birds of Peru (not currently available on amazon.com) somewhat over those of this book but in general if I could only have one book it would be this one for ease of use and accessibility to the information on range and distribution.
Also for a much more detailed (and better) review see Frank Lambert's review of this guide in WorldTwitch at [...]
18 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A. Z. Savit
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Birds of Peru is a long awaited and overdue contribution to neotropical ornithology. That said, this volume was worth the wait. The book is very well laid out, with descriptions and plates on facing pages. There are range maps for each species and species descriptions are at once concise and very thorough, including altitudinal range, habitat preferences, abundances, and even songs and vocalizations. Even with all this information, this volume is very compact compared to books for other countries, such as Ecuador or Venezuela. An added bonus is the hardcover binding, which is certainly worth the extra weight since paperback field guides get dog-eared and ragged very quickly if you actually take them out in the field for any length of time.
In comparison to the Clements field guide to the birds of Peru, this new book is superior in almost every respect. Perhaps most notably, the quality of the artwork in this book is far more consistent than in the Clements book, which has several plates that are similar to what my toddler can do with his crayons. Also helpful is the fact that the birds on each plate are shown with accurate relative sizes, which makes size comparisons more obvious and intuitive without having to refer to the text. Overall, the quality of this book easily surpasses that of the previously published Clements field guide, which looks sloppy, rushed, and unprofessional by comparison. This book compares favorably with other classic neotropical field guides such as those for Columbia and Ecuador, but with the added advantage that this field guide can actually to out with you into the field without breaking your back! An excellent work - I can find no faults with it. I suppose my old Clements field guide will have to live out its days propping up my air conditioner.
16 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Christopher J. Sharpe
- Publié sur Amazon.com
After some three decades of work, Birds of Peru was finally published last year. This is the field guide that was first conceived by ornithologists John O'Neill, Ted Parker and Larry McQueen during the LSU Peru trips of the 1970s. Residing off reliable mail routes, I only just got my hands on a copy earlier this year. I had used photographs of the draft plates of this guide for fieldwork in Peru in the 1980s and on later trips had carried a pre-publication draft, and later a commercial copy of Clements' rather unsatisfactory Field Guide to the Birds of Peru. In short, I had been eagerly awaiting the finished product for 20 years, so I was very excited to get it. Suffice to say, given the original authors, and several others that subsequently joined the team, this guide was well worth the wait.
The first innovation is that plates, maps and text for each species are found together on a single spread, eliminating the need to flip from one section of the book to another. With 1,800 species to choose from, this is a distinct help! Secondly, this guide has over 300 plates - 304 to be precise. That in itself is quite an achievement - compare 96 for Birds of Ecuador, 69 for Colombia or 67 for Venezuela. Sure enough, there are more illustrations per plate in those guides, but we are still dealing with a highly visual field guide. Boreal migrants are properly illustrated, reducing the need to carry an extra field guide to North American birds.
The plates are by a number of artists. For me, Larry McQueen's are breathtaking. Perhaps that's a question of personal taste. His large, chunky watercolours capture the essence of the bird in similar way to another favourite artist of mine, Lars Jonsson. McQueen covers some key Neotropical groups including Woodcreepers, Furnariids, Antbirds and Tyrannids, which gives these groups a stamp of authenticity. Whether this approach works in the field is something I will have to test, but I can say that they look beautiful and faithful on the page. Although the plates are never less than good, another major Neotropical family, Hummingbirds, is - to my eye - the weakest of all the plates.
The text is concise and oriented towards field identification, with minimal or no natural history data - information which adds crucial extra weight. An indication of abundance, geographical and altitudinal range and migratory status is given in the first sentence. Identification features follow. The voice descriptions are, to my ear, accurate and pleasing.
Lastly, the book is sturdily bound so it won't immediately fall a part in the field. Compared to a north temperate field guide, Birds of Peru is heavy - but then it covers three times as many species. It might have been possible to lose a little weight by eliminating some of the white space on the plates, but this is a minor observation. At the end of the day, one of the world's major avifaunas now has an excellent field guide. Essential!
Chris Sharpe, 18 June 2008. ISBN: 0691049157
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Despite having birded in Peru eight years ago, I've been waiting since then for this book to come out...and it's wonderful. Frankly, you could buy it for the quality of its bird illustrations by Larry McQueen alone--they are simply fantastic, and put him at or very near the top of all bird illustrators now working, which is saying a lot but still very true--he has the "quick" and nuances of how various kinds of birds appear down pat. His many plates here on the awesomely varied types of antbirds alone are worth the purchase price.
So, for anyone planning a birding trip to Peru, or any nearby country for that matter...don't delay in getting this book and beginning to study it well in advance. I wish I'd had that advice, but there was no guide like this for Peru yet available; although a good one by Hilty and Brown with fine illustrations by Guy Tudor was available for nearby Columbia.
The bird fauna of Peru is astoundingly diverse and beautiful, like almost nowhere else in the world that I've visited...and that includes Bhutan, Central America and Africa. But this book--with its superb illustrations and clear, concise organization and writing--has finally done it justice. And...despite its heft, it's adequately portable for practical use in the field.
About the only criticism that seems important to offer is that it would have (and could have) been even more useful if an abbreviated "Quick Index" such as those found in the Sibley bird guides had been included, to aid in more rapid searching in the book while out in the field...among the bewilderingly abundant and varied bird families and genera found in Peru. But a very, very good and useful contribution all the same...that will certainly stand the test of time.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This book is a superb field guide. Unlike a number of other field guides or "illustrated checklists", the text diligently focuses on separating similar species from each other. There are good vocal descriptions too. In the introduction the authors state what taxonomy (checklist) they follow. Otherwise the species accounts are devoid of discussions justifying their taxonomic choices, thereby saving space for the business at hand. Occasionally they point out where this or that form may in fact be a separate species. These examples are typically illustrated as well. The editing is excellent - I've found a few very trivial errors (or confusing statements) so far.
The format is map/text with illustrations on the facing page. Each spread is introduced with a brief overview of the species described and depicted. There is a lot of useful information in these introductions. The type is pretty small but the font is easy enough to read. Most species get a range map. The maps are legible, clear, and easy to figure out - once one is even vaguely familiar with Peruvian geography.
The figures on any given plate usually face the same direction, thus facilitating comparisons. The poses tend to be lively. Overall the illustrations are simply outstanding. A few are perhaps a little weaker in the drawing but even these are beautifully painted and otherwise seem very accurate. The painterly style of the chief illustrator may be unappealing to some but don't mistake style for lack of substance. Those unfamiliar with American bird families can be assured that these birds are mostly very accurately characterized in terms of posture, shape, proportions, "facial expression" and so on. In fact you won't find better Tyrant flycatcher, antbird, or ovenbird (and the list goes on and on) illustrations in any other publication I'm aware of - just as good perhaps but not better. If I may single him out from his impressive colleagues, Lawrence McQueen, the main illustrator of this book belongs on any short list of the world's very best working bird illustrators. There is a rightness and justness to his drawing that knowledgeable birders will instantly recognize.
This book is also about as compact as it can be and still cover 1800 species. It is comparable in size and weight to Stevenson and Fanshawe's Birds of East Africa (the hardcover edition), and like Robson's Southeast Asia Guide or Rasmussen and Anderton's Birds of South Asia Volume 1, the Birds of Peru will hopefully show future field guide authors/designers just how compact a book that covers such a huge avifauna can be. Yes it's larger and heavier than your National Geographic or Collins Guide but it's not a behemoth like a number of guides of recent years (especially the unabridged hardcover versions).
Finally the uninitiated should not confuse this book with A Field Guide to the Birds of Peru by Clements and Shany. That book, like the one considered here, also has a black spine and front cover with a lovely painting on it. The Clements and Shany guide, which is not without merit, is nonetheless plagued by disorganized plates and poor editing among other things.
This new guide to the Birds of Peru is now one of the very best bird guides available. It will inspire the user with confidence in making headway with difficult groups like tyrants and the rest. The authors and illustrators deserve a big thank-you from the birding community for this excellent book.