284 pages, 105 plates with colour illustrations; colour & b/w photos, colour & b/w illustrations, colour distribution maps
Roberts Geographic Variation of Southern African Birds is an illustrated version of aspects dealt with under the subject of Geographic Variation in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa 7th ed. Worldwide, this is the first field guide to attempt to comprehensively illustrate the varied plumages that are exhibited by the region's birds. Although sometimes a camouflage and defence mechanism against predation, many other factors contribute to plumage variation and it is hoped that this guide will stimulate the readers interest in this complex subject so that we can further our knowledge on various subspecies, a concept that was brought to the fore a little over 100 years ago.
The colour maps (courtesy Guy Upfold), are a guide to the distribution of the subspecies; included too are the meaning of scientific names (etymology). This information, together with 105 annotated plates illustrated by the exceptional talent of Ingrid Weiersbye, makes this guide essential for both beginner, and expert birders.
"[...] I cannot recommend this book more highly; it is the first monumental venture into field guides for subspecific variation. The three authors and the trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund must surely be proud to have taken the first brave step, which will no doubt be followed by similar field guides covering other regions in the world, and in the process will change the way that we look at birds and bird identification."
- Adam Riley, Bulletin of the African Bird Club 20(2), September 2013
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Hugh Chittenden has over 50 years birding experience in the region. His ornithological interests have taken him to many remote places on the African continent and elsewhere in the world. Hugh received an honorary Doctorate degree for contributions to Ornithology in 2012, has a passion for bird photography and is author of numerous bird guides in the southern African region. He is Chairman of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund.
David Allan is Curator of Ornithology at the Durban Natural Science Museum. Prior to this he was based at the University of Cape Town, initially at the FitzPatrick Institute studying cranes and bustards, and subsequently at the Avian Demography Unit, working on the Southern African Bird Atlas Project. David started his career with the Transvaal Division of Nature Conservation, studying raptors, grassland birds and waterbirds. He was an editor of the Atlas of Southern African Birds and has authored books on birds of prey and many scientific and popular articles.
Ingrid Weiersbye grew up in Zimbabwe, a country where the natural beauty shaped her deep interest in, and love for all aspects of nature. Ingrid has painted professionally and exhibited extensively for 38 years, working in acrylic and oils from her studio in Hilton, KZN. She travels widely, particularly in the rest of Africa to acquaint herself and photograph subject matter. Ingrid is a Trustee of the JVBBF, for which she has illustrated for the past 12 years.