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hulablondie Jul 6th, 2007 10:48 AM

bird book
going on safari in east and southern africa. should we bring a bird book? what is a good lightweight one ?? thanks

eyelaser Jul 6th, 2007 12:22 PM

There are a number of good books. One is Sasol "Birds of Southern Africa" and the other Collins "Birds of Southern Africa". Although both paper backs,neither are particularly light and I have found most of the lodges and many of the vehicles I have been in had at least one copy. If you are particularly keen on birding however I would suggest bringing one of them. I am sure there are others but I have found those to be the most helpful.

safarichuck Jul 6th, 2007 12:38 PM

I was about to pull the plug on "Newman's Birds of Southern Africa". Our guides at Kwetsani, Chitabe and Savuti all seemed to favor it. I've got over 12,000 images, 1/3 birds so I'll need some help. Have you seen "Newman's......" and if so what was your opinion.
Regards, Chuck

PredatorBiologist Jul 6th, 2007 02:38 PM

Chuck: I use the Newman's guide and think it is great. I would definitely recommend it for Southern Africa, the Sasol guide is pretty good too.

safarichuck Jul 6th, 2007 04:20 PM

Thanks for the input. Two of the camps had a couple of copies in the Rover, one for the guests and a well worn copy for their own use. I looked at the Books Eric recommended on Amazon) and they look very good as well. They also placed both in our room at Savuti and I'm thinking all three for Christmas.

Since were on books I wonder if anyone knows where I can get a copy of "Running Wild" Dispelling the Myths of the African Wild Dog". A friend of mine purchased the book while on Safari a few years ago and it is really fantastic. It appears to be out of print but may still be on some bookshelf collecting dust.

hulablondie, I do apologize for stealing your thread but the bird book question made me look at my book wish list and I just got carried away :-)
Regards Chuck

safarichuck Jul 6th, 2007 05:16 PM

oops: "Since we are on books,...."

eyelaser Jul 6th, 2007 05:19 PM

I think Newman's is also superb and am sorry I did not mention it. In fact I think it is considered a classic. I seem to remember it is a bit bigger though.
There is even a hand held device that does bird calls. At Djuma, our guide used the mating call of a barred owl to attack a "mate".

GeoffG Jul 6th, 2007 07:11 PM


you can still get 'Running Wild: Dispelling the Myths of the African Wild Dog' on

just had a look and there were five copies available.


GeoffG Jul 6th, 2007 07:14 PM

..and both SASOL & NEWMANS produce excellent field guides. I have both bird books.


HariS Jul 6th, 2007 07:36 PM

Barred owls visit Zib camp every evening! Best place to see them...

safarichuck Jul 7th, 2007 01:34 AM

Thanks for the referal on Amazon. They do list 5 sellers with used copies, starting at $285 and going for up to $339. The publishers price was $49. A little over the top, I thought. We were lucky enough to spend three days with the "Savuti Pack" and watched them hunt, confronteven a heard of eles, and chase a pack of hyena that attempted to steal their kill, into a watering hole. We even witnessed a heard of elephants as they encountered the dogs (lying down at during for a noontime nap).
As soon as the lead elephant got wind of the dogs, the matriarch came to the head of the head and they all turned sharply away from the resting dogs. We have seen elephants react with less concern over a pride of lion. I kept my finger on the shutter the entire time. AS I recall, the McNutt book had some wonderful photographs and I wanted to use it to model a slide show of my own images for friends, perhaps even put together my own coffee table book for personal use. The dogs were perhaps the most difficult wildlife photographic subjects I have ever encountered.

Thanks for the info on the Barred Owl. I did finally see and photograph the Crimson-breasted Gonolek (Shrike). A beautiful bird that moved about quickly and made for a photographic challenge.

Regards, Chuck

eyelaser Jul 7th, 2007 04:53 AM

Hari, I hear the owl will be visiting less frequently when the rates double :))

HariS Jul 7th, 2007 06:32 AM

Owl(s)- a pair of them!

eyelaser Jul 7th, 2007 06:42 AM

Sorry I missed single supplement!

napamatt Jul 7th, 2007 09:00 AM

Newman's is my recommendation for Southern Africa, though the Sasol guide is pretty good.

We also have the Roberts guide on our PDA, which is brilliant for calling in birds.

You will need a field guide for Eastern Africa also, many of the birds are the same, but there are many different birds.

safarichuck Jul 7th, 2007 09:12 AM

Your original post asks about East Africa as well and Nappamatt correctly mentions that you will need another field guide for that area. Our guides in Tanzania and in Kenya relied on "Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania" by Zimmerman, Turner and Pearson. It is one of the Princeton Field Guide series. I have found it excellant for all of my needs, others may be more expert birders and have more knowledge. Good catch Matt.
Regards, Chuck

fbirder Jul 9th, 2007 01:05 AM

For Southern Africa I preferred the Sasol guide to Newman's. However, as you're visiting East Africa as well I'd seriously think about getting 'Birds of Africa south of the Sahara' by Sinclair and Ryan. It's got a lot of stuff from the Sasol guide inside.

If I remember correctly, 'Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania' has some good illustrations - but the location maps are on different pages. In my opinion this makes it near useless.

If you have a PDA then either the Roberts guide, as mentioned by Napamatt, or the Sasol eGuide are quite handy - especially for birdsong.

aby Jul 9th, 2007 03:45 AM

About East African birds - there was some confusion:

Princeton Field Guides -The Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi is by Terry Stevenson & John Fanshawe
Zimmerman et al. (birds of Kenya &amp; Northern Tanzania) is a <b> Helm</b> Field Guide...

i prefer the first, but both are good; anyhow both are better than the Collins' JG Williams i was using for years


PS you can of course search inside hte book at Amazon to get an impression

aby Jul 9th, 2007 03:47 AM

&amp; yeah fbirder - your memory is working just fine...

napamatt Jul 9th, 2007 06:22 AM

I would strongly discourage the use of the Sasil PDA tool, the sound quality is extremely poor and we returned ours and went with the Roberts which was ten times better. I was just looking at vido last night where we had a Black bellied Korhaaan running towards our vehicle at the sound of his call. It works very well in the field.

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