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Field Guides & Natural History  Mammals  Mammals: General

The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals

Field / Identification Guide SPECIAL OFFER
By: Jonathan Kingdon(Author)
304 pages, 134 plates with colour illustrations; colour photos, b/w illustrations, colour maps, 500+ colour distribution maps
The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals
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  • Best of winter The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals ISBN: 9781472924384 Edition: 2 Paperback Feb 2016 In stock
Selected version: £12.99
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About this book

Originally published in 2004, the Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals quickly became the field guide of choice to take on African safaris. Its compact format makes it ideal for use in the field, while its coverage is the most comprehensive currently possible in this format. Adapted from the Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals, the greatly condensed text focuses on essential information such as identification and distribution, while the author's superb illustrations have been rearranged into an easy-to-use plate format and placed opposite the text. Complex and more obscure groups like the bats and certain rodent families are summarised by genera. Over 500 maps plot the distribution of all larger species, and for smaller mammals the maps show distribution by genus.

This is a completely revised second edition of this popular guide. The information and taxonomy have been updated to follow the newly published second edition of the Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals (2015), and this new edition of the pocket guide contains several new species and illustrations. The maps have been completely replaced and there are now 200 more maps than in the original edition.

Customer Reviews (2)

  • Portable, excellent coverage & illustrations
    By Gehan de Silva 5 Nov 2018 Written for Paperback
    This short review is based on a week I spent in Zambia during September 2018 where I visited Kafue, South Luangwa and Mosi-oa-Tunya. The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals was in my field bag all the time. I also had the much heavier SASOL Birds of Southern Africa (Fourth Edition) by Sinclair et al. in my bag together with the small and lightweight Pocket Guide: Trees of Southern Africa by Piet Van Wyk, plus a digital SLR camera with a 100-400mm lens and a 16-35mm lens. With so much gear and books, the small size and weight of the ‘Pocket Kingdon’ were helpful as it allowed me to keep it in the bag with everything else. I kept all of this packed in, irrespective of whether I was walking about or on a safari boat or in a safari vehicle.

    The coverage in the ‘Pocket Kingdon’ was very good with the illustrations and text being just about right to provide sufficient detail but concise enough to keep the book compact. There are around 1,100 species of mammals recorded in Africa. To have a compact guide which you can use as a single guide for the entire continent is quite remarkable. Of course, the book does not illustrate every species; it would be impossible to keep it so compact if it attempted that. But it probably covers every species a keen wildlife tourist is likely to see and illustrates a representative sample of species from families of the smaller mammals for completeness, although with some , you will probably be a field researcher to encounter them. There are 134 plates. I did not attempt to count, but I estimate well over 400 species are illustrated. The standard of the illustrations by the author cum artist is very high and consistent across all the plates. Text and many distribution maps face the plates. Although concise, the text is densely packed with information. For people on a safari holiday, the coverage in this book would be more than adequate. There are many other excellent books referenced in the bibliography for people who would like to read deeper.

    The introductory text spanning 13 pages is very helpful for context and includes maps of rainfall, vegetation and major evolutionary realms. It draws attention to the Afrotheria which are a special African radiation and included the elephants. It points out some surprises; the zebras came from North Africa and many of the animals which are central characters in any African wildlife documentary (e.g. antelopes, giraffes and carnivores) have a Eurasian origin. The exchange has been two-way with elephants, apes and monkeys in Asia having an African origin.

    For pre-trip background reading, I also read the introductory chapter of the author’s ‘Island Africa’. This goes into more detail in explaining how many climatic ‘islands’ are found within the continent giving rise to isolated populations which have evolved into different subspecies. For example, the zebras in South Luangwa Nation Park and Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, are different subspecies although they are within Zambia.

    The one thing I would have found helpful was to have a full page map of Africa showing the different countries. This would have been helpful when reading the text on distribution to get my head around the many countries on the continent and their locations relative to each other. This was easily fixed on my return. With future trips in mind, I printed off a map from the internet and cellotaped it into the book.

    There is never one perfect guide and I also had in my suitcase some of the other photographic guides to mammals. It is a personal choice whether you prefer photographic guides or illustrated guides and also whether you want one that focuses on a few of the larger species or something wider in coverage. But as mentioned before, this was my choice to carry about in the daypack with my camera gear.
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  • A bit disapointing
    By Jean-Marie 18 Jul 2019 Written for Paperback
    It is rather a good, illustrated check-list than a field guide. The size of the book is convenient for use in the field. The text and maps in front of the drawings is a good point as well as extensive coverage of species. The drawings are the weak point of the book. The attitude of the animals is not convenient for an identification guide. The book would benefit from animals drawn in more neutral positions and with the same position for all similar species to allow spotting the differences/identification criteria.
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Jonathan Kingdon is one of the foremost authorities on African Mammals and an acclaimed artist. His many books include the bestselling Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals (2nd edition 2015) and he was the founder and senior editor of the award-winning 6-volume series Mammals of Africa, both published by Bloomsbury.

Field / Identification Guide SPECIAL OFFER
By: Jonathan Kingdon(Author)
304 pages, 134 plates with colour illustrations; colour photos, b/w illustrations, colour maps, 500+ colour distribution maps
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