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Birds of Western and Central Africa

Field / Identification Guide
  • The only field guide to illustrate and describe every known species of bird in Western and Central Africa, a vast area stretching nearly 2,500 miles down the coast and over 1,000 miles inland, from Mauritania and Senegal southward to Nigeria all the way to the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • More than 1,500 species illustrated on 109 full-color plates
  • All plumages for each species are depicted, including male, female, and juvenile
  • Text for each species on facing pages, describing distinctive traits, habitat, and voice
  • Distribution maps, showing range and frequency, further aid identification
  • Comprehensive, concise, and highly portable

Series: Princeton Illustrated Checklist

By: Ber van Perlo(Author)

384 pages, 109 plates with colour illustrations; colour & b/w illustrations, 1500+ b/w distribution maps, colour maps

Princeton University Press

Paperback | Jan 2003 | #216886 | ISBN: 0691007144
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £31.99 $41/€36 approx

About this book

Please note that this book was published in Europe as the now out-of-print Collins Illustrated Checklist: Birds of Western and Central Africa.

This is the only pocket guide to all the species of bird known to inhabit Western and Central Africa. Ber van Perlo introduces more than 1500 species through 109 expertly rendered full-color plates and concise, easy-to-consult entries. The territory covered is vast – nearly 2500 miles down the coast and over 1000 miles inland, including not only Senegal, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo but all or part of Benin, Burkina, Cameroon, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Príncipe, São Tomé, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

Characterized mainly by lowlands and the coast but also some mountainous areas, the region is home to a tremendous variety of species in myriad shapes, sizes, and colors – from ostriches, peacocks, and flamingos to raptors and owls, from cuckoos and warblers to parakeets, parrots, turacos, weavers, widows, and woodpeckers. Numerous major wetlands provide homes for herons, storks, ibises and other water birds, including millions of migrants from elsewhere in the world.

The plates show all plumages for each species where these differ, including male, female, and juvenile. Succinct textual entries on each species appear on the facing pages, providing key notes for identification and basic information about habitats and voice. Distribution maps follow in the next section, and an appendix provides the French and Portuguese names. Presenting the most essential, up-to-date information in convenient, highly portable form, Birds of Western and Central Africa is the definitive guide for all birders planning or simply pondering a visit to the region.


Parts of a bird 8
Introduction 9
The Plates 25
Distribution Maps 259
Appendix of French and Portuguese names 333
Indices of scientific names 373
Bibliography and further reading 384

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Ber van Perlo has been traveling and living in Africa since his retirement from the Dutch National Forest Service in 1981. His most recent books include Collins Field Guide: Birds of Eastern Africa and Birds of Southern Africa (both Princeton). Previously he illustrated three other bird guides.

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