This guide covers 23 countries in Western Africa south of the Sahara. From Mauritania in the northwest to Chad and the Central African Republic in the southeast down to the Congo in the south. It also includes the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Gambia. Such a large region includes nearly 1,300 species, nearly all are illustrated in this guide. The guide is small enough to be carried in your pack or cargo pocket and clearly was made for ease of use in the field
The emphasis of this guide is the illustrations and range maps. The 148 colour plates are clear, and very well illustrated and organised.Range maps follow each plate and are included for each species. Every raptor is illustrated in flight as well as adult male and females (if dimorphic) and juvenile forms. as a result the plates are crowded and the illustrations smaller than in other plates. And the shorebirds are shown in breeding and non-breeding plumage, so the plate are also a bit crowded. Sub-species are not well represented again due to available space.But this is really just nit-picking a very well done illustrated guide.
I would preffer more detailed written descriptions for each species, they really are sparse and not very helpful for indentification, but that would increase the size of this guide, quite a bit. The real test of a guide is how helpful it is in the field and I feel that focusing on the illustrations was a correct choice, considering the size of the area covered and number of species included.
The last few plates are very helpful in showing island forms, different from species illustrated elsewhere in the book, and there is a nice page showing the shape of the nests of each species of weavers.As usual this book meets the high standards I have grown toexpect from Princeton field guides,and I can highly recommend this guide to anyone travelling to Western Africa or as an addition to anyone's birding library.