Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Reviews: Birds of Kenya's Rift Valley and Larger Mammals of Tanzania

Rob writes: Two great field guides were just recently published about a place I've wanted to visit for a long time - Africa! Both guides cover locations in East Africa, so I've decided to include my reviews of both guides in the same post.

Birds of Kenya's Rift Valley covers the species that are likely to be seen when birding in one of the most productive birding areas in Kenya. The intro chapters give a great overview of this amazing part of Kenya and help you understand how the rest of the book is organized.

The heart of the book - the species profiles and photos - is beautifully laid out. Each species is shown with phenomenal photographs. Multiple plumages are also shown if they are needed to fully illustrate a species. The information for each species is interesting and helpful. Just be sure to follow the arrow pointing from the information to the photos or you might find yourself calling a species by the wrong name.

I also found the useful resources section at the end very helpful and really liked that the author included information on local guides that you could hire while birding in the Rift Valley.

This book is a must-have for anyone that plans to go birding in this region. I will certainly have this book with me whenever I happen to make my first trip to the Rift Valley.

Title: Birds of Kenya's Rift Valley
Author: Adam Kennedy Scott
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: May 21, 2014

A Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Tanzania covers the area just to the south of Kenya's Rift Valley, the country of Tanzania.  This is another fantastic field guide just like the book above.

As with any good field guide, you need to start with the introductory chapters. From information about how important conservation is in Tanzania to tips on watching mammals, the intro is loaded with great information.

The species accounts are very informative and provide the reader with a good understanding of the ecology, distribution, population, and conservation status of each species. If I were planning a trip to the country, I would find the "Where to Look" section of each species account to be extremely helpful in deciding where I needed to search in order to see each species.

At the end of the field guide, the authors provide species checklists for every national park in Tanzania. All of the checklists indicate the population status of the species as well as your likelihood of seeing the species at the park. This would be very useful when planning a trip to see the mammals of Tanzania.

As an added bonus, all of the author royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to the Wildlife Conservation Society to support the Tanzania Carnivore Project and other conservation initiatives.

I can't imagine heading out on a safari in Tanzania without this book in hand. Not only can you purchase a very high quality field guide, you can be sure that the authors are supporting efforts that are working to make sure that all of these species survive for years to come.

Title: A Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Tanzania
Authors: Charles Foley, Lara Foley, Alex Lobora, Daniela De Luca, Maurus Msuha, Tim R.B. Davenport, and Sarah Durant
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: July 9, 2014

We received a copy of these books from the publisher to review on The links are to our Amazon Affiliate account.

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