Senegal and the Gambia or often visited together and with a wealth of West African birds this is a welcome addition to the field guides produced by these authors. This is a condensed version of the Birds of Western Africa with many of the same plates and artwork but just for this region. The size is also more portable than the larger Birds of Western Africa and will be easier to transport around in the field.
The guide begins with a traditional contents page followed by a nice map of the countries concerned with park locations, geographic features, roads, town and rivers. There is also a small inset map showing the countries place in West Africa. The how to use this book section covers the text and maps and plates. Pages on climate and habitat follow with a map of important bird areas of both countries. Taxonomy, organizations, bird topography, a glossary and abbreviations follow.
The main body of the book is of course the plates. Nik Borrow's excellent work is depicted in large, bright images, many of which are much larger than in previous guides. Plumages for male, female and juveniles are shown where relevant. Many species are also shown in flight like shorebirds, skuas, gulls, terns, raptors, nightjars and swifts. The artwork seems slightly brighter and crisper than in previous guides too. The plates are faced by the text which includes a multicolored map showing distribution in the area. Each species section begins with some notes on the species themselves before each individual species is covered. Descriptions of plumage and id characters are described with the main features to look out for in bold text. Habits and Habitat are covered next then a description of voice which is followed by a CD reference to Claude Chappuis's wonderful set of recordings from the region.
After the plates comes a checklist covering scientific, English and French names, IUC status, and the status of each species in both Senegal and Gambia with columns to mark down sightings in either of the countries.
Overall this is a fantastic guide, very good artwork and information along with range maps will allow you to ID most birds you will see if you travel here. Handy references to their vocalizations will help you ID these birds further. The larger images of many species will also aid as they seem to pop out off the page and by narrowing down the area covered, this is a much more portable and easier guide to use for these two countries much as the Birds of Ghana did for that country. Still the Birds of Western Africa is a relevant guide to the region and the Guide to the Birds of Western Africa will have a lot more information in it. Both are by the same authors.
Birds of Western Africa (Princeton Field Guides)
A Guide to the Birds of Western Africa
Field Guide to the Birds of Ghana. by Nik Borrow, Ron Demey (Helm Field Guides)