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A Field Guide to the Birds of Brazil

Field / Identification Guide

By: Ber van Perlo

465 pages, 187 col plates, 1791 maps, 5 line illus

Oxford University Press USA

1 customer review
Paperback | Oct 2009 | #180970 | ISBN-13: 9780195301557
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £25.99 $35/€30 approx
Hardback | Nov 2009 | #180977 | ISBN-13: 9780195301540
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £132.50 $177/€151 approx

About this book

Brazil's bird diversity is one of the richest in the world. And yet there has never been a comprehensive field guide to this splendid and elusive avifauna - until now. The carefully vetted text and images are the first to cover the full range of bird life in this vast and varied country. The more than 1800 up-to-date accounts treat the Yellow-nosed Albatross to the Sombre Hummingbird, the Ash-throated Gnat-eater to the Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Nighthawks and Jacamars, to Motmots, Puffbirds, and Peppershrikes.

They are all here - every species and many subspecies found in each region of Brazil - with special attention given to the 218 Brazilian endemics. The book is laid out so that the illustrations sit across from the commentary and the distribution maps, so it is easy to use. Also, the author uses short-hand notation throughout, to make the book compact and easy to carry when in the field. For each bird, the scientific, English, and Portuguese name are given as well as detailed information on measurement; identifying features; habitat; voice, song, and call. Distribution maps show the range for each species, also indicating seasonality and occurrence, essential for finding and identifying specific birds.

From the equatorial North to the tropics, the introductory paragraphs set the stage in describing Brazil's varied biogeography, climate, geomorphology, and natural vegetation. A list of protected areas of Brazil, information on relevant national and international organizations, a bibliography and further references, and an English-Portuguese dictionary of frequently used terms enhance the user-friendly qualities. Anyone wishing to fully explore the fabulously varied bird life of Brazil will find this light-weight, easy-to-use, attractive guide an invaluable field companion.

Customer Reviews:

The good and the bad
by John Brannan in UK
On buying this book my first reaction was one of delight. On studying parts of it thoroughly I was surprised at the number of errors and wondered if the book had ever been proof read and if so by whom. The most glaring and unforgivable schoolboy error is on Plate 45 where a Collared Dove is actually labelled as a Turtle Dove. There are illustrations with no identifying number against them and some with the wrong number. There are texts that refer to illustrations a, b etc. of particular species, but the illustrations are not shown. I counted 9 errors and I was only studying the birds of one particular region, I shudder to think how many there are in total. A really useful and important book, partly spoiled by sloppy workmanship. I feel that for the price Oxford Press ask for this book, they should make a bigger effort to make it error free.


LIST OF PLATES; PREFACE; ACKNOWLEDGMENTS; INTRODUCTION; 1 BRAZIL: THE AREA COVERED; 1.1 Country Profile; 1.2 Biogeography; 1.2.1 Climate; 1.2.2 Geomorphology; 1.2.3 Natural Vegetation; 2 BRAZIL: THE BIRDS; 2.1 Classification and Names; 2.2 Field Identification; 2.2.1 Plates; 2.2.2 Captions; 2.2.3 Distribution Maps; 2.3 Short Introduction to Selected Bird Groups and Families of the Neotropics; 2.3.1 Worldwide Families and Groups; 2.3.2 Typical American Families and Groups ; SYMBOLS, ABBREVIATIONS, AND GLOSSARY; PARTS OF A BIRD; SPECIES ACCOUNTS, PLATES, AND DISTRIBUTION MAPS; PROTECTED AREAS OF BRAZIL; NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS; BIBLIOGRAPHY AND FURTHER REFERENCES; APPENDIX 1: THE ENDEMICS OF BRAZIL; APPENDIX 2: ENGLISH-PORTUGUESE DICTIONARY; INDEX

Reviews (1)

Shame its the only option
By Hannah 21 Oct 2016 Unconfirmed Purchase Written for Paperback

The book has the maps facing the plates – a must in a useful field guide. However, there are a number of frustrating features:

Firstly, the plates show some features that appear to be diagnostic, but these aren't mentioned in the text. Meanwhile the text mentions plumage features that are not evident from the plates.

Secondly, the plates are inconsistently organised – some plates have birds ordered horizontally, others vertically and others seemingly randomly, so that you can never match the text to the plate rapidly in the field.

Thirdly, there is some sloppy editorial mistakes, e.g. mislabelling.

Finally, there is no indication of scale on the plates and birds tend to be drawn at the same size. On many plates the birds are painted painted rather small, leaving much white space that could be utilised to make the painting clearer.

It is currently the best field guide on the market, so you'll have to take it, and it is mostly good enough to identify most of the birds you will see. But you will be frustrated at times and there is definitely room for a substantially better guide to enter the market.

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