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A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore Hardcover – Apr 1 2012


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Text is OK, but plates are a mess June 10 2012
By J. Hargrove - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This field guide needs another revision to fix the plates.

The text is fine, though curiously uneven. For example, it devotes considerable space to the various species of Myna, which pose little identification difficulties, but less to the Barbets, where some species are quite similar. Thoughtfully, Appendix 2 contains a table of the different calls for the Barbets, which I stumbled onto, then found a reference in the discussion of the Barbet family.

There are almost no range maps. I guess the authors thought that the area was small enough they weren't required.

However, it is the illustrations that make this an inferior guide. First, the arrangement uses the "cheap field guide" technique, cramming as many pictures as possible onto the smallest number of plates to save money. This means that you have to turn to the text to learn anything except the most basic information about the birds. On top of that, the illustrations and the numbering of the birds is not coordinated well. Consider, for example, plate 23, which I chose at random. The plate is titled "Woodcock, Snipe, Turnstone, Knots, and Ruff. The list of birds on the facing page begins with #155, Eurasian Woodcock, but the first bird illustrated is #176, Ruddy Turnstone. The Eurasian Woodcock is buried in the middle of the page. Ruff, #190 is pictured at the bottom of the page with the list of birds, all by itself. The non-breeding male Ruff is shown with bright pink legs, but most that I have seen had yellow legs, not pink ones.

I bought this guide to prepare for a trip to Peninsula Malaysia. It seems to be the most comprehensive guide to the area. Unfortunately, it makes study quite difficult.

Maybe I would have a better opinion if I hadn't just seen the magnificent sixth revision of "Nat Geo."National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Sixth Edition (National Geographic Field Guide to Birds of North America) Now THAT is what a field guide should look like.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Best current guide to the region April 21 2013
By Mike "Madbirder" Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As I don't have the first edition I can't comment on the changes made to this one. The format is quite typical for slightly older field guides with the plates at the front and text about the birds following behind. There are 74 plates of decent artwork that is not too overcrowded, though some plates appear to have been crammed in a bit, especially those birds depicted in flight. The color on each plate is nice and sharp without being glaring. Most plates have male and female plumage as well as some confusing juvenile plumages or variable subspecies plumage where warranted.

Each plate is faced with ID information about each species. They are numbered on each plate but can seem a bit jumbled at times with the first species numbered on the plate not being that which is at the top of the facing page, though this shouldn't be too difficult to find. Size is mentioned with a page reference for the species account and the descriptions are brief and basic.

The species accounts are preceded by a 72 page section on the region including maps, how to use the book, types of foliage and habitat, the avifauna, migration, breeding and two helpful sections on birding in Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore with some site descriptions and what to find there.

The species accounts start with an overview of each family then the species within that family represented in the guide. Each species has English, Latin and Malay name with a plate reference. Then each species has description for both male and female, voice, range, habitat, habits, status and distribution. All species are covered by about a paragraph of information that will help you to identify the species concerned in this guide.

Following the species accounts there are several appendices that cover night bird calls, barbet calls; which can be helpful in discerning these somewhat similar and often hard to spot species, a table of hills, peaks and hill stations referred to in the text, islets and islands quoted in the text, and conservation and ornithological groups. Appendix 6 is a checklist of the species in the range with a key to the notes in the checklist following.

There are no range maps but the status and distribution covers where they can be found on the peninsula. This is the only real drawback to this guide and something I think can be reviewed in future editions. Following the page reference from the plate back to the species account each time to check on the viability of a species where you are on the peninsula could take a bit of time but other than that this is a fairly decent guide. It is a bit chunky but not so much so that you can't carry it for a day in the field. I would say it is a three and a half star guide.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Flawed, but useful April 5 2014
By J. Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For the serious birder, i.e. one needing a guide covering ALL the species in a region, there are really only two choices for a field guide covering the birds of peninsular Malaysia: This book, or the compact or full version of Robson's Birds of Southeast Asia, which of course covers a larger area If I had to choose one for ID purposes, I would go with Robson because of the superior accuracy and detail in the depictions of the birds. But this book has much to recommend it as a supplement, despite the flaws in plate organization others have noted.

The information you will find in this book but not in Robson includes:

1. Detailed description of the range and abundance of each species in peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. (This book also describes the global range of each species, which is omitted in the compact Robson volume).
2. In most cases, there is a relatively lengthy description of how to identify each species, including behavior. The Robson book's descriptions tend to be very concise and dry, and often omit information about behavior or how to distinguish similar species. While Robson sometimes references ID details this book omits, the reverse is also true. (This book also has descriptions of each family, which is omitted from the compact Robson.)
3. Obviously, the Robson book covers more species over a larger area. The narrower focus of the Malaysia and Singapore guide means the ID discussion can focus on comparing similar species in the region, rather than all of Southeast Asia.
4. The Robson book does not always depict subspecies found in peninsular Malaysia. The colors are also richer and less washed out than in Robson.
5. This book has a 70 page introduction reviewing the habitat, avifauna, conservation issues, ornithological history, and 31 key birding sites in the region.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
unfriendly user format Jan. 15 2014
By Thong Phui Ying - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
as a user, I find it very difficult to use. Too much cross referencing and it lacks the direct visual impact. As the text refers to the plates which refers to the pictures (drawings) represented in numbers. One cannot tell the name and nor the species displayed next to it immediately and the referenced numbers may not be found on the page opposite the pictures.


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