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Birds of South Africa (cover)

Publisher: Helm, London

Publication Year: 2022

Binding: Softback

Page Count: 224

ISBN Number: 9781472990808

Price: £ 16.99

Birds of South Africa

For budding birders or those unfamiliar with African avifauna, the prospect of identifying birds in a biodiversity-rich country like South Africa might feel overwhelming. Birds of South Africa aims to provide a lifeline for this untapped audience. Pitching itself as a comprehensive beginner’s guide, the book provides just enough information on the appearance, habitats and behaviour of South Africa’s most commonly seen species to permit a positive identification. The vibrant and informative pictures encourage easy species comparison and thus help learners to refine their skills. An exciting addition is an extensive list of the nation’s best birding sites, which had me itching to make a mad dash for the airport.

The book is impressively compact. It contains over 340 species, and although four species sometimes fill a two-page spread, it rarely feels cluttered. This portability gives it a notable advantage over other, similar titles but inevitably, sacrifices have been made in terms of detail. Its lack of distribution maps might frustrate seasoned wildlife tourists; however, Birds of South Africa is not aimed at serious birdwatchers who are setting off on that once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Kruger. Instead, it is perfect for the casual enthusiast who wishes to take a decent stab at identifying the birds they see on their holiday, without having to spend hours poring over a heavy book to do so. 

Book reviewed by Fionnuala McCully

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