The “horn” of Africa consists of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, and Socotra, an area that is under-birded and thus less known than other parts of Africa. Some of this geographical area is “off-limits” to birders, yet with over 1,000 species recorded, is still an interesting and diverse place.
Many of the species found in Birds of the Horn of Africa is covered in Birds of Eastern Africa but there is quite a bit of endemism found in the horn. This area is also a major migration route and includes several important biomes.
Birds of the Horn of Africa includes a whole section on bird identification plus a glossary of terminology used in the text. A land-cover map accompanies a detailed account of the varied habitats. An Important Bird Area map keyed to a list of specific birding hot spots is also included.
The species accounts are detailed and a bit crowded, a necessity to fit in so many birds. The range maps are tiny but color-coded for efficiency.
Each section of birds (groupings) or specific families is introduced with a generalized description. This is a great aid to birders in familiarizing with unknown groups of birds.
The full color plates (illustrations) are well organized and spaced better than the facing text. However, the text, while crammed, provides a great deal of info including habitat and habits, voice, alternative names, identification keys, and remarks on what data is still lacking.
This is the first field guide to birds of northeast Africa and will hopefully encourage more birding trips and research to a truly amazing place.
Birds of the Horn of Africa: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, and Socotra (Princeton Field Guides)
Nigel Redman, Jerry Stevenson, and John Fanshawe
Illustrated by: John Gale and Brian Small
Princeton University Press
Disclosure: we were given a copy of this wonderful book by the publisher to review. However, we were not persuaded to say or do anything other than give an honest review, which we have.