Review of Birds of Eastern Africa and Birds of Southern Africa

Birds of Eastern Africa: Updated Edition (Princeton Illustrated Checklists) is perhaps the best field guide for this region of the world. The guide covers Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Socotra Island (Yemen); which includes some 1,487 species of birds!!

With only six pages of introductory text and limited space allowed for each species, the information in this guide is a bit lacking. But the 96 full color plates, beautifully illustrated by Ber van Perlo provide an excellent visual representation of a heck of a lot of birds. The range maps, which are shaded for frequency distribution, are split from the text and plates, which makes it more difficult than necessary to figure out which birds can be found where.

All in all, the Birds of Eastern Africa is a great resource but could definitely use a better layout and more information.

Princeton University Press

Birds of Southern Africa (Princeton Illustrated Checklists) follows mostly the same format as the Birds of Eastern Africa. Also written and illustrated by Ber van Perlo, this guide includes 1,200 species over 84 full color plates.

The region covered is Angola (including Cabinda), Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The range maps are shaded for frequency distribution, and although they are split from the main part of the guide, each is labeled with species name to improve usability. The overall text is a bit shortcoming, but overall both of these guides plus the Birds of Western and Central Africa (Princeton Illustrated Checklists) (also done by Ber van Perlo) provide any traveler to this continent the enhanced ability to identify a large number of species.

Princeton University Press

2 thoughts on “Review of Birds of Eastern Africa and Birds of Southern Africa

  1. Thanks for the reviews BirdFreaks.
    I only know the southern african version – and it certainly creates a market segment for itself by including so many more species and regions than other competing guides, but if you are only going to southern Africa (South Moz, Zim, Botsw, Nam, Swazi, SA, Lesotho) then I believe the Sasol guide (sinclair, hockey & tarboton) completely outstrips the former in practically every way.
    Two other great sA bird books are Newman’s birds of southern Africa, and
    the field guide version of Roberts: the “Roberts Field Guide” by Hugh Chittendon

    Happy birding

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