Complete Photographic Field Guide. Birds of Southern Africa, by Ian Sinclair and Peter Ryan
The Complete Photographic Field Guide to Birds of Southern Africa, by Ian Sinclair and Peter Ryan, brings a new dimension to bird identification in the region, and introduces to all 958 birds of Southern Africa, plus 17 species from Antarctica and Southern Ocean islands.
Southern Africa has a rich avian heritage that has attracted considerable interest in birds and their identification. This is reflected in the wide range of bird books available. Modern field guides to birds of the region first appeared in the early 1980s. Their compact design, with range maps and concise accounts appearing opposite plates of the species, revolutionised field identification of birds. Among the earliest of these was Ian Sinclair's Field Guide: Birds of Southern Africa, first published in 1984. It has been popular ever since, and remains the only comprehensive photographic field guide to the region's birds. Historically, birders have preferred illustrated guides to photographic ones, on the grounds that an artist can illustrate more of the distinguishing features of a species. However, photography has come a long way in the last 25 years. The advent of auto-focus, image-stabilised lenses and digital photography has allowed the average birder to take high-quality photographs of birds going about their daily business (not just delivering food to their nests). And where one photo may not be able to convey all the key features of a species, two or three pictures can often do the trick. With this in mind we set out to gather together the best available photographs of southern African birds, and to use them to update Sinclair's classic field guide. We believe the results speak for themselves, both in terms of quality and variety. When the original guide was published, there were no photographs available for 55 species. Today we have images, generally of a high standard, for all but four species: Mottled and Scarce swifts, Green Tinkerbird and Red-capped Crombec. We hope that the book will spur on amateur and professional photographers alike to target those species where there are no images, or where the images are rather weak, so that future editions can be even more valuable aids to bird identification in the region.
How to use Complete Photographic Field Guide. Birds of Southern Africa, by Ian Sinclair and Peter Ryan
The group index on the inside cover should aid rapid navigation to the right section of the book. Once you have reached the right section, correct identification depends on using the photographs in conjunction with the information in the texts, maps and seasonality bars. The Complete Photographic Field Guide, Birds of Southern Africa is laid out in traditional field-guide format, with concise species accounts opposite the images of the birds. Group introductions (as in 'Flycatchers' above) provide information on the identification of the group in general, as well as biology that is common to members in that group. Individual species accounts highlight key identification features, describe the species' calls (Voice), and record various aspects of the bird's status, preferred habitat and biology. Rarity and/or vagrancy are noted at the start of the identification text in cases where a species is unlikely to be encountered. This refers to the region as a whole, so that common Southern Ocean species are not identified as vagrants even if they are vagrants to southern Africa. Thereafter, the accounts briefly describe the main plumages, and highlight the most important characters for separating the species in question from similar species. Adult plumages are described first (male then female), followed by juvenile and immature plumages, if these are distinct. [...]
This is an excerpt from Complete Photographic Field Guide. Birds of Southern Africa, by Ian Sinclair and Peter Ryan.
Title: Complete Photographic Field Guide. Birds of Southern Africa
Authors: Ian Sinclair; Peter Ryan
Imprint: Struik Nature
Publisher: Penguin Random House South Africa
Cape Town, South Africa 2009
ISBN 9781770073883 / ISBN 978-1-77007-388-3
Softcover, 17 x 25 cm, 480 pages, throughout colour photographs
Sinclair, Ian und Ryan, Peter im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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