NATURE BOOKS - SOUTH AFRICA
Books for Nature Lovers
Spotter Guide: Birds of the Bushveld
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Review By: Wildlife Africa Vol 62 No 2 Autum 2008

The Birds of the Bushveld is the first in a series of Spotter's Guides planned for Limpopo province. It has a number of features that birders will find useful, and a few that they may find cumbersome. The most useful feature is that it contains only the 468 most common species found in the Limpopo bushveld. This means that when you are in this area you won't have to wade through 900 species to find the bird you are trying to identify. The second useful feature is the small size of the book, which makes it possible to slip it into your back pocket and avoid having to carry an extra thing around in your hands or over your shoulder when birding out in the bush. 

Personally I like the fact that the book is a photographic guide, as it represents birds as you see them in the bush. I know, however, that some birders find photos limiting, as the identifying features are not always visible. This guide does have multiple photos of some of the more difficult species, and of the juveniles and females where they differ from the main photo. 
In an effort to include as much information as possible on each of the species, the compilers have developed a set of icons for breeding behavior, feeding preferences, seasonality, social structure, habitat preferences, and size. This means that next to each photo there are sometimes up to 14 different icons. I found this a bit confusing and difficult to decipher at times, even though there is a quick reference on the inside cover. I am not sure that all this information is needed in a spotter's guide in the first place, and, if it is necessary, it would be simpler to have plain text, in my opinion. 
All in all, I found this to be a useful identification guide to have with on when birding in the Limpopo bushveld. 


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