Title: 100 Common Bird Calls in East Africa
Type: Bird Call Guide
Author: Dave Richards, Brian Finch
Publisher: Struik Nature; Random House Struik
Cape Town, South Africa 2015
ISBN 9781775842514 / ISBN 978-1-77584-251-4
Softcover, 15 x 21 cm, 64 pages, 1 Audio CD incl. 100 mp3 tracks
Bird sounds are all around us, in the bush, on safari, in our gardens and even in towns and cities: in the bush, we may hear the calls of Helmeted Guineafowl or the iconic sound of the African Fish Eagle; in our gardens, it may be the duet of Tropical Boubous or the melodious liquid whistles of a Black-headed Oriole; in our cities we hear the screams of Little Swifts as they fly in tight flocks around their nesting sites, or the calls of Yellow-billed Kites high in the sky.
The best time to hear birds is when large numbers sing, soon after dawn, in what is known as the 'dawn chorus'. Birds call at this time because sounds travel best in the cool morning air. Their calls or songs are used to attract mates or to claim territory. Some birds also mimic the songs of other birds - the Ruppell's Robin Chat is a good example. Why they do this is still a subject of much discussion. There are far more different bird calls than there are different types of bird. Some birds have a beautiful song, like the Grey-capped Warbler.
Others have harsh, unmusical voices, such as the Pied Crow or the Hadada Ibis. Sometimes birds are easy to locate because they sing from prominent positions; others are more secretive. Rufous-naped Larks, for instance, sing from the tops of bushes or from fence posts, and African Pied Wagtails are easily spotted and seem to sing at any time of the day; people in rural villages often regard them as bringing good luck. The Grey-capped Warbler, by contrast, sings while hidden in a bush - only its distinctive calls betray its presence. Similarly, the Red-chested Cuckoo is common, but difficult to see.
100 Common Bird Calls in East Africa and the accompanying CD bring together some of the most common and interesting bird sounds that may be heard in East Africa. If you have only recently become interested in birds, you might like to start by listening to the CD and familiarising yourself with the calls of those birds that you often see in your environment. In time you'll come to recognise more calls and be able to identify even more birds by ear.
Introduction to bird calls
How to use this book
Tips for listening to bird calls
100 East African birds featured in full colour