» » A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago

Download A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago epub

by Richard Ffrench

Download A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago epub
ISBN: 0801425670
ISBN13: 978-0801425677
Category: Science
Subcategory: Biological Sciences
Author: Richard Ffrench
Language: English
Publisher: Comstock Pub Assoc; Subsequent edition (August 1, 1991)
Pages: 426 pages
ePUB size: 1209 kb
FB2 size: 1472 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 767
Other Formats: lit mbr mobi lrf

In 1991 this volume would have (in my opinion) merited four stars as a distinct but still flawed improvement over the first edition (1973). As Vuilleumier observed in his 1997 evaluation of then extant Neotropical field guides, it "includes many improvements over the first one, and clearly this is the book that field workers must take along with them when they visit Trinidad and Tobago, and neighboring areas of Venezuela as well", but that "the same drawback that I noted ...for the first edition, the small number of plates, remains a criticism, even though a new plate by John O'Neill was included in the second edition". In comparison to Neotropical field guides now available (including presumably the third edition of this work), the failure to incorporate illustrations of all species is a serious defect.

But that was then. I believe five stars are justified for a work that is an artifact in the evolution of the Neotropical field guide, but more importantly is a thoroughly readable compendium of information about species gleaned not just from the author's extensive personal observations but also from those of other observers in Trinidad and Tobago and from a great deal of published literature, conveyed in an anecdotal style not often replicated in the concise language of modern guides. I defy you to read more than a few of the species accounts without learning something new about the birds described. Most species accounts devoted to birds other than transients include sections covering habitat and status in Trinidad and Tobago, the global range of the species and the range of the subspecies most likely in T&T, description, measurements, voice, food [& foraging methods], nesting, behavior and (in quite a few accounts) additional comments of interest. Casual observers may overlook the measurements and even the nesting segments without penalty, but will find especially compelling the sections devoted to food & foraging, behavior, and (where applicable) special comments. The plates are serviceable but don't invariably follow the sequence of the separate text. This work offers useful insights not just for students of birds in Trinidad and Tobago but also for those interested in northern South America and southern Central America.
Great bird book,short on descriptions
I purchased both the Ffrench and Kenefick books for birding in T&T. I much preferred birding with the Kenefick guide. Better photos and easier to manage in the field. Ffrench book has more detailed text but not as good for an in-the-field guide. Ffrench book better left at home for more in-depth info on each species. Didn't like the way the color plates were arranged, either.
While this may be a good book, my copy did not have any of the illustration plates. None in color, they were missing. Therefore the copy was completely useless.
I used ffrench's guide for a month of birding on Tobago, and found many mistakes. The plates are incomplete and inaccurate (the chachalaca, Tobago's national bird, is not given a color plate), the "range and subspecies" descriptions are confusing, the English names are not up-to-date with current ornithological classifications, and it is just plain difficult to use. I give it two stars instead of one because it is pretty much the only guide for Trinidad and Tobago birds available, so if you plan to do any bird watching on Trinidad or Tobago, you're better off with this book than without it. One of the biggest problems is that ffrench often does not include plates of common North American birds (the broad-winged hawk, for example), so if you are not familiar with North American birds, I suggest you also bring another field guide, such as Sibley's or Peterson's.
The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has long been a mecca for visiting birders eager to conveniently experience the sights and sounds of South American birds. This book, which is essentially a hybrid between a manual and a field guide, is exceptionally well written, packing in more natural history information than most bird guides. The introductory chapters provide an excellent overview of Trinidad and Tobago. The greatest asset of the book is the natural history information provided in the species accounts. The extensive coverage of the literature makes this book an excellent reference, but few recent sources are cited. Although the taxonomy is outdated, it is familiar to the older generations. Information on the status and distribution of birds--which birders lust--is often vague, but usually accurate. The biggest drawback is the illustrations, which depict only species not illustrated in the North American guides, and are poorly organized. Despite these shortcomings, this is an excellent, authoritative book which must be purchased by any serious birder who plans to visit Trinidad and Tobago. I hope a more compact revision is forthcoming...
Sadly, this book is a disappointment. Using it was commonly an exercise in frustration and futility.
Unlike other books in the same series, there was a noticeable lack of information - particularly Plates - on even the most common birds. The Plates that were available often showed marked errors e.g. colouring, from the actual birds (eventually) identified.
I found quite quickly that my poor view of this book was widely shared by the local guides - it was universally criticised as below the required standard.
I wished I'd taken my "Birds of Costa Rica" instead - I would have been better off!
An excellent field guide to Trinidad & Tobago's avifauna, the ffrench has been around long enough, & loved well enough, in its various editions, to be considered a classic of its kind. I've used it everywhere from Port of Spain's Botanical Gardens to the forests of the Northern Range to the Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust to my own back garden & never failed to identify the specimen in question (& I am no more than an enthusiatic amateur). This book, for me, is the model of a natural history field guide.