Animal/ Birding Books - Tanzania/ Kenya

Dec 10th, 2007, 03:37 AM
  #1  
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Animal/ Birding Books - Tanzania/ Kenya

Hello!

I know we've had threads about this in the past but I'm not having much luck in finding them using the Search Function plus figured there might be new books/ updated editions in print since some of the older threads.

Are there any particular animal and bird books that you would recommend for Kenya and Tanzania?

If you have any such books on your shelf please can you let me know rough size/ weight as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each?

i.e. behavioural/extra info, good or bad identification pictures, illustrations or photos, comprehensive or patchy...?


Many thanks
Kavita
Kavey is offline  
Dec 10th, 2007, 04:26 AM
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I used a small but neat bird identification book during my visit to Kenya in 2006 called "A Photographic Guide to the Birds of East Africa" by Dave Richards. ISBN 1 77007 381 7 and published by Struik Publishers, Cape Town.

It is not the most expansive of books but covers most species likely to be encountered, and also shows the different habitat regions with colour coded maps etc. Pictures are good enough for identification. The book being small in size is easy to carry when travelling.

Mohammed is offline  
Dec 10th, 2007, 04:35 AM
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Kavey, one more thing - the edition I have is the 3rd edition published in 2006 and I paid Ksh 1540 (approx US$ 24) at a tourist shop in a hotel in Samburu, Kenya.

I noticed that Amazon has only the s/h copy of an old edition available and that too at an exhobitant US$ 46 so it would be better to but it from Kenya if you can. Perhaps bookesellers in London mught be better stocked.

Hope this helps.

Mohammed is offline  
Dec 10th, 2007, 04:35 AM
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We have two bird books for Tz and Kenya and both are very good ... "Birds of East Africa" by Stevensen and Fanshawe or "Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania" by Zimmerman, Turner, Pearson. The guides we've used thus far always had a copy of the Z-T-P book in the van. Both are fairly heavy, around a kilo.

For animal guides, the one by Richard Estes is considered the most complete field guide and many jeeps will also have a copy of this. It has more info on behavior than most of the thinner ones.

Bill
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Dec 10th, 2007, 05:22 AM
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I really liked Wildlife of East Africa by martin Withers and David Hosking. This was great – it is relatively compact, and was handy and useful. While the guide had a huge bird book with more birds, my book was smaller, lighter and easier to use. It is half birds, half animals, and has just a couple of pages of trees too.

While it's not the best resource for the most obscure birds, it is amazingly helpful for the birds and animals you see 95% of the time, and ironically the fact that it is smaller not only makes it lighter to carry, but also makes it easier to find the picture you are looking for.

I bought the Estes book, but didn't end up using it on my game drives -- it was too heavy, and there was too much text. It's a wonderful reference, and describes the actual behavior of the animals, but it doesn't help you identify the animal you are watching at the moment.
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Dec 10th, 2007, 06:51 AM
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I second Ann's recommendation of Wildlife in East Africa by Withers and Hosking. It is compact and full of great pictures and info.
nevermind is offline  
Dec 10th, 2007, 07:02 AM
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I brought Lonely Planet's WEatching Wildlife East Africa with me both years, and found it a very useful book. The first section has park info & what critters you will see in each. The second section is the wildlife gallery, where there are pictures and descriptions of behaviour, habitat hot spots,identifying help. Mine is the 1st Edition 2001.

I went through each park that we were visiting, and based on this info made my own 'check list' that was unique to each park - it was easy in the field to just number them in the order that I saw them each day. I also had a small highlighter with me and I hilighted each number on my checklist that I got a photo of - made my photo identifying a real breeze.

LyndaS is offline  
Dec 10th, 2007, 02:40 PM
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Hi Kavey,

I purchased the National Audubon Society Field Guide to African Wildlife and am impressed with the number of photographic plates and the coverage of mammals, birds and reptiles.


I was also looking at the Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa by Chris and Tilde Stuart.

Cheers,


Pol
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Dec 11th, 2007, 12:06 AM
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Thank you all so much... will read this through carefully and see what might work best for us.
Kavey is offline  
Dec 11th, 2007, 09:20 AM
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Kavey

Try this site

http://www.nhbs.com/east_africa_geo_9-87-.html

Good luck.

Matt
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Dec 11th, 2007, 11:06 AM
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Kavey,

we have the same 2 bird books that Bill has and they are good ,but i prefer much the "Birds of East Africa" by Stevensen and Fanshawe because birdīs illustrations and distributionīs maps are together while they are separated in the other guide.

We also have "The tourist travel and field guide of the Serengeti" by Veronica Roodt.This is a very light,compact and simple guide with lots of detail maps of diferent areas ,best places to see,and basic photographic guide of trees,flowers ,mammals,birds and others. Pictures look old.

The "Nomads of Serengeti" by Robyn Stewart is a very nice photographic book about the migration.I like it very much because it covers the anual migration in the four different areas of the Serengeti,with maps and explanations of animals you can find in every area. It has Amazing pictures.

Paco.
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Dec 13th, 2007, 01:28 AM
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Thanks this is exactly the kind of stuff I needed...
Kavey is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 05:40 AM
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Kavey, I think the two bird books mentioned by Paco and myself are for the more serious birder (or, in my case, someone who wants to ID every bird for captions) ... they are fairly heavy but complete.

The smaller, lighter more general-purpose guides will likely describe the 50% of the bird species that will make up 98% of your likely sightings though.

Bill
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Dec 13th, 2007, 06:13 AM
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I too want to be able to ID all birds photographed for keywording purposes so... would you suggest getting the heavier, more comprehensive books for reference at home (which is where I'd be processing and keywording) and a lighter, smaller one for use in the field?
Kavey is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 06:46 AM
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would you suggest getting the heavier, more comprehensive books for reference at home ... and a lighter, smaller one for use in the field?

That would work well I'm sure ... the guide will likely know almost every bird you see but sometimes later you (or at least I) can't remember a name because so many sightings are happening at once.

I was just trying to ID a bird my wife photographed in Tz earlier this year and I never even saw the bird at the time, much less asked the guide what it was. I couldn't ID it from one book but from the other I could see it's a "Collared Pratincole", so having the full reference books at home is good if you want to ID everything.

Bill

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Dec 13th, 2007, 09:33 AM
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The field guide should have every bird in it, just not as many different illustrations as a more complete reference book. For the vast majority of sightings a field guide will be sufficient, for truly difficult ID's, the most reliable ID point is usually voice or song, and no book can help with that. I do agree, get the field guide with range maps on the same page as the illustration.
napamatt is offline  
Dec 13th, 2007, 11:36 AM
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Thanky...

I should add that on this trip we'll not be self-driving at all so will have a guide with us all the way - hopefully someone that is an experienced birder.

On the SA trip in 2004 we did a lot of self-driving and therefore DIY identifying (which we got quicker at as the trip progressed).

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