266 pages, 580 col illus, 40 col photos, 2 maps, tab
Featuring all the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods that one is likely to see on a trip to the rainforest (as well as those secretive creatures such as the jaguar that are difficult to glimpse), The Wildlife of Costa Rica is the guide to have when encountering trogons, tapirs, and tarantulas.
In addition to providing details for identifying animals along with interesting facts about their natural history, this guide offers tips for seeing them in the wild. Costa Rica, a peaceful nation with many and diverse animal species, is one of the best places in the world for wildlife watching and nature study. It has an excellent system of national parks and reserves, a wide choice of ecolodges, and many professionally trained tourist guides. It is possible to leave the capital city of San Jose and, just a few hours later, visit a high-elevation cloud forest, dense rainforest, savanna-like plain, or coastal habitat, each with a unique collection of animal species.
This lightweight field guide provides nature enthusiasts visiting Costa Rica with the best introduction to the country's amazing diversity of wildlife. It is the first general field guide to Costa Rica to combine the most sought-after features: treatment of all major phyla in the country; coverage of the animals most likely and most desirable to be seen; more than 450 detailed illustrations integrated with the text (the preferred method of animal identification in the wild); full species accounts including ID points, range and habitat, size, and behaviors; a wealth of natural history information.
The Wildlife of Costa Rica: A Field Guide
by Keith Betton in UK
Costa Rica contains an incredible mix of wildlife and must surely be home to a larger range of species per kilometre than any other country of its size. This book aims to give a snapshot of the animals that you might encounter. It is partly a compilation of illustrations from previous works. Some 226 images from Birds of Costa Rica (A & C Black, 2007) have been combined with 74 from Field Guide to the Mammals of Central America and Southeast Mexico (OUP 1998, 2009) to create half of the book. In both cases only about a quarter of the available species are featured – but clearly full coverage is not an option for a book designed to be carried in the field. The remainder consists of new illustrations of reptiles, amphibians and insects. Here the coverage is really thin – and so while there are over 1200 butterfly species in Costa Rica, the book only offers a selection of 11. Of course only a selection can be made but I think 1% is way too low given the high visibility of this group. If you want a selection of images of animals to fit in your bag this book is helpful, but clearly for a visiting birder it can never replace the need for a proper field guide.
"[...] The Wildlife of Costa Rica is a good overview of the country’s diverse wildlife. Of the general guides, I think this one will work best due to its smaller size, yet greater number of species included. It should come in handy for any visitor who’s even slightly interested in the animals they will see there. I know it will for me when I go back."
- Grant McCreary (07-08-2010), read the full review at The Birder's Library
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Fiona A. Reid is a departmental Associate in Mammalogy at the Royal Ontario Museum. Twan Leenders is a professional herpetologist and illustrator with more than ten years of field experience in Central America. Jim Zook is one of Costa Rica's most prominent ornithologists. Robert Dean is the illustrator of the Helm Field Guide: Birds of Costa Rica.