Birds of Prey of Afrika and its Islands, by Alan Kemp and Meg Kemp
Alan and Meg Kemp's guide to birds of prey of Afrika and its islands guides the reader in how to break the diversity down into manageable groups. It then helps one to identify those details most important for the accurate identification of each species.
The identification of birds of prey is one of the most exciting wildlife challenges on the African continent and its surrounding islands. The African savanna supports the highest diversity of birds of prey in the world, while other species are abundant on its steppes and in its rainforests. The islands adjacent to Africa have their own special fauna, much of it unique, though some species are related to mainland species, and others to more distant cousins in Asia. Throughout the whole African region, birds of prey are among the most dominant birds, top of the food chain and often the first to signal problems in ecosystems under their domain. They are an obvious barometer of environmental health and for this reason alone they deserve our understanding. Many species remain poorly known, so learning to identify African birds of prey must be the first step in our awareness and further study. Most people can instantly recognise birds of prey and owls by their hooked bill, strong feet and rapacious demeanour. Many birds of prey are striking in appearance, large and powerful, colourful and handsomely marked, or fast and agile in flight. They look as though they should be easy to identify, but this can be deceptive. Often small details of colour or nuances of proportion are necessary to confirm their identity, rather than the impressive initial appearance. Alan and Meg Kemp's Birds of Prey of Afrika and its Islands is intended to make the identification of African birds of prey easier, for both the beginner and the experienced observer. It does not gloss over the problems, but it does present the necessary facts in a condensed, accessible form and with the support of numerous illustrations.
Example: African Hawk-eagle - Hieraaetus spilogaster
At perch: Tall, slender eagle with long tail reaching well below wing tips. Black above and white below, with obvious black streaking on the breast and long, white, feathered lugs. Yellow eye looks fierce within the black cap. Juvenile dark brown above and chestnut with dark streaks below, the rufous eyebrow and checks, brown eve and pale cere most notable at close range.
In flight: Pale primary "windows" most obvious, together with heavily spotted wing coverts and broad, black trailing edge to wing and tail. Juvenile with chestnut underparts, the coverts edged in black. A long-winged, long-tailed eagle with narrow wing base, broad, bulging secondaries and rounded tips. Fast, agile flier with fast, deep wingbeats, like a very large goshawk.
Distinctive Behaviour: Secretive. Adults usually seen in pairs, most often when perched on a protruding dead branch, soaring high overhead or making low, aerial searches. The main prey is gamebirds and small mammals, taken from the ground or in clashing aerial pursuit. Builds a notably large stick-nest in a tall tree, often along well-wooded river hanks.
Adult: Black above, including crown and ear coverts. Below white, including throat and foreneck, with bold black stripes on upper breast, underwing coverts and flanks. Legs and vent white. Flight feathers and tail black above, below white with broad, black tips. Primaries have broad, white bases above, secondaries and tail have narrow, pale grey bars above and below. Bill black; eyes deep yellow; cere pale yellow; long, slender, bare feet pale greenish-yellow. Female more heavily streaked below and about 4' larger (male 1.150-1.300 g, female 1.444-1.640 g). [...]
This is an excerpt from Birds of Prey of Afrika and its Islands, by Alan Kemp and Meg Kemp.
Title: Birds of Prey of Afrika and its Islands
Authors: Alan Kemp; Meg Kemp
Illustrator: Peter Hayman
Publisher: Struik Publishers
2nd edition. Cape Town, South Africa 2006
ISBN 9781770073692 / ISBN 978-1-77007-369-2
Softcover, 15 x 21 cm, 349 pages, 220 colour photos, 850 colour illustrations, 160 maps
Kemp, Alan und Kemp, Meg im Namibiana-Buchangebot
Birds of Prey of Afrika and its Islands introduces to more than 100 species of diurnal raptor and 40-plus species of owl recorded in Africa.