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Bird Guide book

san francisco
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Bird Guide book

I would like to get familiar with what we might see in terms of birds in Uganda / Tanzania before we go. I purchased the file guide "Birds of East Africa" by Stevenson but it is far too large and detailed for me. I am more looking for something that lays out what we might see, the differences between the various kinds of birds, what might be super-special to see, etc.

A pre-trip primer, as it were.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Bill

Somerville, New...
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1. Re: Bird Guide book

Good idea Bill. Wish I thought of that before I went.

I didnt realize how many beautiful birds I would see while on safari; nor did I anticipate that I would love seeing them. I figured that with lions, hyenas ect around, would I really care about the birds?...but I did...I loved them!

Mfuwe always takes great bird photos and always knows the names of them, so perhaps he can help you with your book selection.

Nikki

Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: Bird Guide book

Um. This is pre trip readng?? Tough call. Starting into "Birds" is a bit like when you get a glimpse of the Flight Deck and the arrays of "confusing" dials. After a couple of trips it all makes sense and you know whch you need to look at and what you don't.

I have "Stevenson" in front of me and "Birds of Africa south of the Sahara" which is also useful. I don't READ them from cover to cover, ever! They are reference books (so I can name that bird for Nikki!)

There is a nice smaller book called "Photgraphic guide to Birds of Prey.of S, C & East Africa" But this only deals with Birds of Prey (Raptors) as you would expect. It may be what you are looking for. Most folk like to see Eagles (ISBN1 85368-903-3) There really must be smaller less technical books out there but you may find them disappointing. Do a search on Amazon or the African Bird club sites.

But be assured you will come back to Stevenson for the information once your interest is kindled.

For something completely different get a copy of "A guide to the Birds of East Africa." by Nicholas Drayson. You will love it Nikki. Written for folks just like you! (your money back if you don't agree.)

Enjoy your reading.

Somerville, New...
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3. Re: Bird Guide book

Thanks Mfuwe!

Gonna do a search on Amazon and if I get a book, maybe I can finally put a name with the photo(of the bird in my album)

Edited: 01 February 2011, 13:42
san francisco
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4. Re: Bird Guide book

Do you guys know if the "Safari Companion" by Estes? That's the kind of book I would like to see for the birdlife.

Bill

Isle of Man, United...
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5. Re: Bird Guide book

Yes, I know it. I have never bought it as it seems, to me, to be even 'heavier' than Stevenson is on birds.

I am not really sure what it is you are seeking. Is it more what you might or might not see, or where they occur?

Or what makes the species different or special to see? The difference between "rare" and "endemic" perhaps? Most folk are happy enough to see Eagles and Storks etc., with the enigmatic "ShoeBill" a highlight. Colourful birds, BeeEaters, Rollers (everybody takes pictures of that.) Touracos, the Great Blue is the size of a large Pheasant and bright blue.

If it is the weight of the book there is a paperback version.

san francisco
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6. Re: Bird Guide book

Would like something that introduces me to the area's birds (whilst Stevenson tries to be a compendium of all possible EA birds). The goal is to get to the point that, while on safari, I would already have a sense of what I would most likely see and what to look for (and where to look for it). That is of course what a tour guide is for but the more you bring to the table, the more you get.

Did I use the word "whilst" correctly? :-)

Ohio
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7. Re: Bird Guide book

Hi Bill, thanks for your clarification of "whilst." I was just about ready to accuse you of being Madonna!

Appleton, Wisconsin
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8. Re: Bird Guide book

We had "Birds of East Africa" by Stevenson and it worked well. If you look at this before you go, you will still have a hard time figuring out what you will see since there are so many types of birds! Just like animals on a safari, you never know what you will see. As Mfuwe will testify, we saw a very rare bird on our safari and it was very unexpected. Many times our guide could get to the right species of bird and then we would use his or our bird guide to get down to exactly the right one.

I think one of the travel books that we used had photos of birds. It was not Fodors Safari planner or the Lonely Planet book. I can only assume it was Fodors East Africa book which I cannot find now. The Bradt Guide to Northern Tanzania had one page dedicated to birds but it was a very small sample.

Here is link to my pictures and you can see some of the birds that we saw:

http://irongirl.shutterfly.com/

Go to the Safari section and pictures 115-143 are all birds that we saw. We had a guide that was very into birds and I think we saw a good representation of what you would find.

Isle of Man, United...
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9. Re: Bird Guide book

Whilst I think I am getting an understanding of what you are seeking I share Irongrl's thoughts that perhaps you are getting too close to the problem. Risking stating the obvious but birds are not mammals and don't respect borders or even locations. So whilst (oops) it is 'relatively' easy to predict where you may and may not see Lion this does not work with birds. They can and do turn up anywhere, even in the middle of Kampala. OK, what you folk call 'Peeps' and "shorebirds" are generally to be found by water but don't count on it. Same goes for other habitats.

I think you should step back from it a bit and be prepared to take it as it comes. And even if "the book" says that bird does not come where you are, check it out. Birds can't read books. It becomes 2nd nature after the first few.

After all Mammals are classified in much the same mental process. YYou 'know ' it is a Pig or a Cat so all you have to do is judge size and colour to know which one. Same with birds. Storks, Eagles, Parrots, Ducks and Geese. Then when you have the right pages it just all falls into place. Stork with Yellow bill? Yellow-billed Stork. Hornbill. Grey colour. African Grey Hornbill (should that be Gray for you guys?)

Easy enough? Well almost. Irongrl. You should not have posted that link. Go back and look at 137 & 139 closely. Then turn to plates 29 and 131.

But hey! That was still some Schalow's Turaco you got.

Ohio
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10. Re: Bird Guide book

Irongirl, thanks for sharing your photo album. Beautiful shots, and cute kids, too!