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The Southern African Birdfinder: Where to Find 1,400 Bird Species in Southern Africa and Madagascar [Paperback]

Callan Cohen , Claire Spottiswoode , Jonathan Roussouw

List Price: CDN$ 39.95
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Book Description

March 1 2007
The authors outline and describe 39 key bird routes and more than 330 birding sites (and their associated birds) across South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and the little-documented but increasingly popular areas of Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi. All sites are ranked into one of three categories of priority: essential (the region's best), excellent (top sites but expendable to a time-limited visitor) and local interest (ideal for those looking for new areas to explore). Sites include practical details of access, best times to visit, habitat diversity and the birds that occur there and general natural history; the more important sites feature a detailed map. A guide to finding the region's top 150 birds and an annotated checklist conclude the book.

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About the Author

Callan Cohen is Director of Birding Africa, a specialist bird tour company, and was the youngest person at the time to see the landmark 800 bird species in southern Africa. He is the co-author of Essential Birding, Western South Africa (2000) with Claire Spottiswoode.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff Jan. 8 2007
By Antonio Salvadori - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I just got back from a two month self-guided birding trip to South Africa. I used this book for all my planning and selection of the places to visit. The book proved invaluable. It is well laid out, includes very good maps - including one of the whole of Southern Africa with all the birding spots clearly marked on it, it has many excellent bird and scenery photographs and a complete list of all the birds that can be seen with a cross-reference to their location in the book. A few minor points that caused me some irritations during the trip: only odd pages are numbered in the middle of the right hand side (very confusing); some of the maps are a little misleading e.g. the Sir Lowry's pass map is incorrect - the trail starts directly opposite the car park and not downhill as shown; some of the instructions are also incorrect e.g. the instructions to the Damara Tern Colony (I could not find the location.) These are minor points that an able birder can easily overcome. The book also covers other Southern African countries however having lived in Zambia and Zimbabwe I found their coverage of these two countries to be very sparse only covering the top birding spots. I strongly recommend this book if you are planning a trip to this beautiful area of our planet so rich in birds.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice book but terrible binding Aug. 29 2012
By Okole1808 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I purchased this book primarily to get more detailed site information for finding birds in Madagascar for an upcoming trip. My intent was to also use it for planning a trip to Southern Africa in the (hopefully) near future. Since the book is primarily for birding Southern Africa, I didn't expect there would be a huge section on Madagascar. I thought the information presented for Madagascar was very helpful, and I very much appreciated tips like where to find birds in nearby sites for Ifaty and guidance for not flushing Subdesert Mesites into the trees. For some areas like Montagne d'Ambre NP, however, the bird finding information was pretty skimpy and there was no information for another nearby site, Ankarana Special Reserve which, apparently, has spectacular rock formations and one of the highest densities of lemurs. If one is traveling this far north, it seems as tho more information could have been provided to assist in bird and mammal finding and logistics planning, especially for those traveling by themselves or using a travel agency that provides for customer-designed tours. Detailed information on places to go and target species lists is given for the more common destinations like Perinet and Matadia, Ramomafana NP, Ifaty, and Ankarafantsika NP.

The binding for this book is poor at best. After only 3 or 4 openings, the page sections for Madagascar have already begun to separate from the binding. If you are taking this book in the field, you should probably bring a good supply of rubber bands with you to hold everything together. Now I am not sure it will even last for an Africa trip, let alone the Madagascar trip.
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't leave home without it! Dec 29 2007
By Dietrich Roloff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is so full of information that it transcends the format of a typical site guide (you'll find advice on the type of car jack and how to behave in case of attacks by wild animals. The target audience are independent birders who will find the guide indispensable for Namibia, Botswana and especially South Africa. Commendably, the less commonly traveled adjoining countries of Zambia and Angola find coverage as well, even though they are not strictly in Southern Africa. One hopes that success will breed a future edition in which I would like to find GPS coordinates, particularly for the more remote sites. Even if you don't have any immediate plans for a birding trip to Southern Africa this book would enjoyable for the armchair adventurer fascinated by the charismatic (and often enigmatic) avifauna. Congratulations also to the publisher for keeping the price so low.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Resource Dec 13 2008
By Texas Birder - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Covering 11 countries from South Africa to Madagascar to Angola, Zambia, and Malawi, this book site descriptions, maps, and photos to take you to the birds you want to see. We bought it for South Africa, but are using it first for Malawi. It describes driving conditions and seasons to visit. It has good descriptions of the special birds to be found at each site, and where to look for them. If you want to make the most of your birding trip to any of these countries, or plan future trips, this is an essential guide.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Southern African Birdfinder: a recipe for success Feb. 5 2010
By P. Penning - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bird watching will always be dependent on luck, but this book helped me find species that I wouldn't have found without it. Sometimes the bird appeared as if on cue - exactly on the spot where it should be. It's not an armchair book, you should use it for preparing for trips and take it along with you. Best buy in the last 12 months.

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