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Roberts Guide to The Nests & Eggs of Southern African Birds
By Warwick Tarbotan
If you are going away on holiday, or simply for a weekend, it would be prudent of you to buy a map because you could get lost. Many of our street names, towns and cities have changed, and this also holds true for our bird names.
Since the publication of Roberts Birds of Southern Africa VIIth edition, many more of our birds have been renamed. If this were not enough, many families of birds and even species have been sub-divided, and DNA testing has shown that previously “related” species are not related.
To this end, Warwick Tarbotan has included the latest knowledge and terminology in this updated Roberts Guide to the Nests & Eggs of Southern African Birds. A previous book on the same subject has been long out of print, so it’s pleasing to have this book, which includes much more information on many more species of birds.
Both common English and Afrikaans names are used to help you to cross-reference. There are more than 1 200 life-size photos of eggs shown on 47 plates. To the best of our knowledge, there are about 730 bird species that nest in our region – south of the Kunene and Zambezi rivers.
Most of us will not have the opportunity to look into a bird’s nest, so this book will show you more than 2 500 photos of our birds with their nests and eggs as photographed by about 85 photographers.
The book’s introductory chapter sheds light on the new ornithological information, which has had to be revised in this edition, and the reasons for species’ name changes.
Notes here detail how to understand the text abbreviations which are used for each bird species, which saves a great deal of unnecessary extra printing.
A paragraph shows some gadgets and equipment which can be used to “spy” on the nests. However, people should always bear in mind that birds should not be unduly disturbed while nesting because it could affect their breeding behaviour.
Remember that only permit holders, such as universities and permitted ornithologists, may remove eggs from nests.
Tarbotan has laid out the book for quick reference, with text on the left and photographs on the right-hand pages.
All basic information of the species is covered, with emphasis on the colour, size of the egg and type of nest, with details of its materials of construction.
Other interesting information, such as clutch size, incubation periods, and periods of nesting and fledgling, is detailed.
Next to my everyday bird guide book, this is the most comprehensive and useful book in my collection. It is well put together and is a must-have book for anyone going outdoors.
The “Family Index” on the inside front and back covers will ensure that you find your bird without too much fuss and paging around.
Roberts Guide to the Nests & Eggs of southern African Birds will fill in the details and facts you never knew about our birds. – Ed Lemke