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The rich bird life of Malawi (ex-Nyasaland) has long been one of the better-documented avifaunas of Africa, since Belcher (1930) and then Benson and Benson (1977). This book brings the picture up-to-date, with detailed scientific accounts of the 650 species known (including nearly 100 migrants from Eurasia). For each there are sections on distribution, ecology, status and movements, conservation, breeding seasons (where applicable) and taxonomy, the whole based on extensive fieldwork supported by some 700 published references. There are clear atlas maps for all but vagrants, as well as details of ringing recoveries and a gazetteer of 400 localities. In 80 pages, the introductory chapters review such topics as vegetation and major bird habitats, biogeography, conservation and a history of ornithological exploration in Malawi. 16 pages of colour photos illustrate the habitats of Malawi as well as a dozen of the more interesting bird species.
This book is not intended as a field guide (there are few illustrations of birds), but as a handbook and distribution atlas, highlighting the status, distribution and conservation of each species.
Francoise Dowsett-Lemaire and Robert Dowsett have an unequalled knowledge of the birds of Malawi. They have travelled and camped throughout the country, especially during 5 years' residence, and Robert had previously studied the wildlife of neighbouring Zambia over 17 years. They are also co-authors of the standard works on the mammals of Malawi (Ansell & Dowsett 1988) and the forest flora (White, Dowsett-Lemaire & Chapman 2001).
I heartily recommend Malawi as a varied and rewarding birding destination. It is certainly a place that I hope to revisit before too much longer. - Fat Birder"