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Birds of Northern South America: An Identification Guide, Volume 2: Plates and Maps [Paperback]

Robin Restall , Clemencia Rodner , Miguel Lentino
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 28 2007

Winner of the 2007 National Outdoor Book Award (NOBA) for Nature Guidebooks

The two companion volumes of this extensive and detailed guide make a groundbreaking contribution to bird guide literature: they not only provide detailed accounts of every known bird species in the vast region from Ecuador to French Guiana but also, for the first time, illustrate virtually every plumage variation in full color. The illustrations include adult males and females where different as well as intermediate plumages, juveniles, subspecies, morphs and other variants, and several hypothetical and unconfirmed species. In all, nearly 6,400 birds are depicted. Black-and-white drawings of significant aspects of plumage or behavior are also provided, as are color maps showing river systems, political boundaries and the confirmed distribution of all the species.
Volume 1 presents extensive species accounts, including information on habitat, vocalization, nomenclature, and the very latest taxonomy to subspecies level. An up-to-date discography lists all published CDs that contain recordings of birds of northern South America. Volume 2, designed for use in the field, contains complete range maps, Robin Restall’s immaculate and jewel-like paintings, and information about specific marks, habitat, and behavior to aid in identification.

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Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

Robin Restall is executive director, Clemencia Rodner is research associate, and Miguel Lentino is scientific director at the Phelps Institute for Ornithological Studies, Caracas, Venezuela.

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Customer Reviews

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4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
To go birding in South America, north of the Amazon without this book would be very foolish. The area is enormously rich for birds. When I started bird-watching in Colombia 30 years ago with Birds of Colombia by Hilty and Brown, a good book, there were about 1750 species just in Colombia and now it is up to nearly 2000. Of course there are bird illustrations that are off. Last year I saw the Short-tailed Woodstar at Mitu. Not supposed to be there. But 3 of us saw it and are convinced it was the Short-tailed Woodstar. That illustration was perfect but the range .... ? The Swallow-winged Puffbird is unrecognizable whereas the Hilty and Brown illustration is perfect. But all guides that I know have these problems.

If you are a bird watcher and you spend money to go to this region without Birds of Northern South America, you are wasting your money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best bird book for Guyana Nov. 24 2011
I used this book as my primary field guide for a 2.5 week trip to Guyana. I also had along Hilty's "Birds of Venezuela" which was apparently the old standard before "Birds of Northern South America" came into print. "Birds of Northern South America" is certainly the superior book for Guyana. In general I think that Volume 2 is very good. Some of the pictures could be larger to take up otherwise empty space on a few pages. Otherwise, the illustrations were precise and never let me down when it came to identification. Like any field guide, and particularly tropical ones, there is some room for improvement in the range maps. For example I found grey seedeater in several locations in Guyana but the range map does not show it occurring there. This certainly is the field guide you need for a birding trip to Guyana.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A must have for birding SA Sept. 21 2012
By Larry C
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the third time I have purchased this book. The first was given to the guide I had for an Ecuador trip and the second to my guide in Peru. Seems it is not a well know book down in SA but both guides were excited to get a copy. It is an execellent book with large illustration and large range maps on the same page as the bird. It also has illustrations of geographical variations of species that have regional plumage variations. It is however not a book that you'd likely take into the field due to it's size. I only wish they had produced a similar book for the birds of Southern SA.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Third Nearly Perfect Field Guide for South American Birds Dec 10 2007
By Brian Allen - Published on Amazon.com
The first question most potential buyers of this book might ask is just what is the author's definition of "Northern South America" as this qualifies the utility of the book? On page 10 of the guide there is a political map showing the coverage of the book. Northern South America is from a line just south of Chiclayo, Peru (therefore including the great destination Abra Patricia) and extending across the continent south of the Amazon River to about 47 degrees east in Brazil (near the city of Araguaina in the state of Tocantins) and then north to the eastern terminus of the Amazon on the Atlantic Coast. The northern boundry extends to Panama (Azuero Penninsula) and the islands north of Colombia and Venezuela (Aruba, Curacao to Trinidad and Tobago.)

There are an incredible 2,308 species included in the guide with 6,400 images on 306 color plates according to the back cover. The illustrations (done by author Robin Restall) are excellent and a special feature of this book is the inclusion of depictions of most known subspecies along with male, female and juvenile plumages.

This book joins the ranks of the best field guides for South America including Birds of Ecuador, and Birds of Peru (I haven't seen the new Venezuela guide yet) and like these books has only minor flaws. The Ecuador book is excellent and mainly is just too large for the field and the Peru book which is another great accomplishment has somewhat too large illustrations that could have been condensed. Both of these books have considerable information regarding their depicted species, the Peru book on the opposite page and the Ecuador book on a page referred to in the text. This book has almost no text and you would have to purchase the companion volume. What is included are excellent range maps and very brief comments about the birds habitat preference. For example the Roraiman Antwren on plate 163 has this mention: "usually among topmost leaves of upper canopy may sortie out after a flushed insect". Each species is tagged with a mark keying in an identifying feature.

Rangemaps are bicolored (green for terrestrial ranges, blue for coastal ranges) and are on the same or opposite page of the illustrations for easy reference. Maps include the size of the bird, a key for altitude range (eg LT= lower tropical, sea level to 800-900m), status (resident/migrant), abundance and threat status (CR critical, EN endangered etc.).

Unlike the new Princeton Guide for Birds of Central America and Mexico this book is too large to easily slip into a pocket for field birding and you would want to have the companion guide (or another more text filled book) back in the car or lodge to refer to during a trip. Despite this and the brief amount of text this is still an excellent addition to the guides for South American birds and works for many areas that until now had no field guide. If you could only have one guide for Northern South America this should be the one.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing accomplishment Aug. 6 2008
By Nicholas Oberling - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This work is an exemplary achievement. Seldom have I seen such a beautifully illustrated guide that makes me want to jump up and down with enthusiasm. Not only are all the birds illustrated hansomely and meticulously illustrated, but multiple plumage variations are depicted full scale along side and juvenile plumages are also depicted. Also migrants from North America are given equal standing with the residents, and not shunted to the back of the book or illustrated in black and white. One of my biggest criticisms of many other guides is that they employ multiple illustrators with varying degrees of competency. Having one illustrator is an advantage, and one like Robin Redstall who knows and loves the birds he depicts is the best kind. This book is the next best thing to having private access to a great research collection!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars never go birding without it.... June 20 2008
By Diego Calderón Franco (www.colombiabirding.com) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book became available a year ago approximately in April 2007.. I arrived to Venezuela to the Neotropical Ornitholgoical Congress with it in my backpack, and sure it was useful... I took it to the Orinoco river delta and to the Gran Sabana/La Escalera endemics area... we (some people from Colombia, Argentina, Finland, Venezuela, Costa Rica, etc) were birding thoroughly and it was the right book to have handy... never "lost" a species and was very cool having all ssp and variation illustrated... of course, the book has mistakes and errors, but if you have been birding for some time and not a "juts-started birding yesterday" person, this book is going to be your perfect companion in the field !!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Birds of Northern South America March 31 2013
By Anna Hobbs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great book but too large to carry with you. However it is full of much useful information. I especially like the clear geographic information showing the areas where the birds are usually found.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Restall, Birds of Northern South America, vol 2 Feb. 23 2008
By Ronald Eggleston - Published on Amazon.com
Excellent resource for birders - even if too large to be a "field book". Beautiful illustrations and good info on range of habitats. Amazon sent book very quickly and I appreciated "no shipping fee" promotion.
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