8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Birds of Ecuador - a heavy weight champion?, Feb 14 2002
I just returned from a trip from Ecuador where I used extensively Volume II of Ridgely et als' book. Having already some acqaitance with both the birdlife of the Neotropics and the bird books on the region I found the plates and the text still very useful when identifying the birds I and my travel mates saw. The weight and the size of the book is, however, making its use very difficult out in the field. The paperback editions did not hold very well during the three weeks, and publishing the book in 3 rather than two volumes could have helped that a lot. Even though the plates do not live up to the quality of the standard dictated by Guy Tudor in the, yet, two-volume handbook on South american birds, but I still found the pictures very informative. The text on habitat, altitudinal distribution, call, and the range maps often helped to narrow down the number of look-alike-species to a manageable level, especially when identifying hummingbirds or tyrant flycatchers.
All in all (and getting back to the question in the title) I could not call this book a champion in the league of field guides for being overweight (just try to carry it on the 'D' trail near Bellavista), although it truly deserves the four stars for the text and the plates alike. If you use it as a 'hotel' rather than a field guide or need it as a reference work for your home library (or have the plates and the text of Vol. II rebound separetely, as I did) you will appreciate the amount of information gathered in this book.