Wildlife of Ecuador: A Photographic Field Guide to Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, and AmphibiansWildlife of Ecuador: A Photographic Field Guide to Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, and Amphibians
by Andrés Vásquez Noboa, photography by Pablo Cervantes Daza

From Princeton University Press:

Mainland Ecuador’s spectacular wildlife makes it a magnet for nature tourists, but until now there hasn’t been a go-to, all-in-one guide geared to the general reader. With this handy and accessible guide, visitors now have everything they need to identify and enjoy the majority of birds and animals they are likely to see. Written and illustrated by two of Ecuador’s most experienced nature guides and photographers, this book covers more than 350 birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. It features over 400 stunning color photographs and includes a range map for each species, as well as a brief account of the country’s natural history and biogeography. With its extensive coverage, attractive and easy-to-use layout, beautiful photographs, and nontechnical text, this is an essential guide for anyone who wants to explore the natural wonders of Ecuador.

  • An essential all-in-one guide to mainland Ecuador’s amazing wildlife
  • Unique and attractive layout with more than 400 stunning color photographs
  • Covers more than 350 of the most frequently seen birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians
  • Uses a habitat-based approach to aid identification
  • Accessible text provides key information on identification, behavior, biology, and conservation
  • Photos, maps, and text are presented together for ease of use


Any nature-loving visitor to Ecuador could make use of this relatively small guide to help identify the mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians most likely to be seen. Birders will still want a more complete, dedicated bird guide, but this one would still be worth having for other wildlife.


Wildlife of Ecuador: A Photographic Field Guide to Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, and Amphibians
by Andrés Vásquez Noboa
Flexicover; 288 pages
Princeton University Press; May 30, 20172
ISBN: 9780691161365

New Book: Cages

August 1, 2017 | Comments (0)

by Sylvia Torti

From Schaffner Press:

Two neurologists are engaged in divergent quests: one to locate the source of memory and the other to study speech patterns in humans by analyzing and manipulating bird vocalization. Both men use experiments on live songbirds in a laboratory on a university campus, and both become romantically intertwined with a woman lab assistant who takes issue with their methods. Overshadowing this trio are significant figures from their individual pasts—a distant mother, a former girlfriend, a best friend and ornithological expert who dies tragically while conducting field research in the Amazon, and a mentor turned lover and nemesis. This is a subtly layered novel rich in natural description and sense of place that grapples with serious philosophical and moral themes, peopled by characters who must confront the emotional truths in their lives in order to be released from their own, individual cages.


It’s nice, every now and then, to read something different. And this novel certainly looks different from the bird books I normally read. But it does still have birds!


by Sylvia Torti
Paperback; 302 pages
Schaffner Press; May 1, 2017
ISBN: 9781943156184

My review of Hummingbirds: Volume 1, by John C. Arvin, is now up on the American Birding Association blog.

Hummingbirds: Volume 1

Great Horned Owlets RescueGreat Horned Owlets Rescue: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way
by Cheryl Aguiar

From Cheryl Aguiar:

Cheryl Aguiar has a strong connection with wildlife and a great love for exploring nature. This is the story of how she gains the trust of one of Mother Nature’s most magnificent and mysterious creatures…the Great Horned Owl. These majestic birds known as raptors have a reputation of being extremely aggressive, but show a different side when struck by tragedy. With some help from her husband, Cheryl’s devotion and determination to help this family of owls turns out to be one of the most gratifying decisions she has ever made. The strong-willed adult owl parents accept help from humans to keep their family safely together. Cheryl gives us an unprecedented look into the life of these wild birds while she closely documents the journey of these two adorable owlets as they grow and experience life in the wild. Through this experience, she witnesses the struggles of survival, the amazing bond of a family and the gift of gratitude. What makes this story special is to see how animals and humans from two different walks of life can co-exist and discover that we are not so different after all. By trusting each other, working together and showing each other respect, the family of owls allow her into their world; now, they have become a part of hers. Together, Cheryl, her family and these magnificent birds have proven ever more, the statement…Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way.


Short, but interesting-looking, story of helping a Great-horned Owl family through a time of crisis.


Great Horned Owlets Rescue: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way
by Cheryl Aguiar
Paperback; 85 pages
Cheryl Aguiar; December 17, 2016
ISBN: 9780998360515

Warblers and Other Songbirds of North America: A Life-size Guide to Every SpeciesWarblers and Other Songbirds of North America: A Life-size Guide to Every Species
by Paul Sterry

From Harper Design:

A stunning full-color photographic field guide of 285 species of North American songbirds and warblers, captured in glorious life-sized detail and featuring concise descriptions, location maps, and useful facts for both experienced birdwatchers and armchair ornithologists alike.

Birds such as the Acadian Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Indigo Bunting, Northern Mockingbird, Pyrrhuloxia, Rock Wren, Song Sparrow, Tree Swallow, and the Yellow Throated Warbler are known for their elaborate songs produced by their highly developed vocal organs. Warblers and Other Songbirds of North America is a breathtaking collection of 285 species of these beautiful, melodious creatures, the largest number of species in a single field guide about North American songbirds.

Arranged by region and taxonomic order, every songbird is depicted life-sized; each photograph is accompanied by a short description with essential information on identification and the particular species, habits, and behavior. Every species entry also includes a map showing where the species can be found, as well as a fact grid listing key details such as common and scientific name, length, food, habitat, status, and voice. Inside you’ll find fun facts, including:

  • Songbirds are members of the order Passeriformes, the most varied group of birds both in terms of numbers of species and diversity of appearance and habit preferences.
  • Songbirds have feet that allow them to perch with ease, with three toes pointing forward and one facing back.
  • Songbirds are extremely vocal; some male species are among the finest songsters in the bird world.

Every photograph is gloriously detailed and chosen to show each species’ unique identification features and typical postures. Packed in a convenient portable size, Warblers and Other Songbirds of North America is ideal for the experienced birdwatcher, the aspiring naturalist, and every bird lover.


“Life-size” guides seem to be a trend, this is the third such book in as many years (see also Life-Size Birds and Hummingbirds: A Life-size Guide to Every Species). This one, though, works a little better than its predecessors. It’s visually stunning and can actually work as an identification guide. However, despite the title, it does not include every songbird that regularly occurs in North America (north of Mexico).


Warblers and Other Songbirds of North America: A Life-size Guide to Every Species
by Paul Sterry
Hardcover; 352 pages
Harper Design; May 16, 2017
ISBN: 9780062446817

The Australian Bird GuideThe Australian Bird Guide
by Peter Menkhorst, Danny Rogers, Rohan Clarke, Jeff Davies, Peter Marsack, and Kim Franklin

From Princeton University Press:

The Australian avifauna is large, diverse, and spectacular, reflecting the continent’s impressive habitats and evolutionary history. Looking at more than 900 species, The Australian Bird Guide is the most comprehensive field guide on Australian birds available, and contains by far the best coverage of southern seabirds. With 249 color plates containing 4,000 stunning images, this book offers a far more in-depth treatment of subspecies, rarities, and overall plumage variation than comparative guides. The artwork meets the highest standards, and the text is rigorously accurate and current in terms of identification details, distribution, and status. The Australian Bird Guide sets a new bar for coverage of Australia’s remarkable avifauna and is indispensable to all birders and naturalists interested in this area of the world, including the southern oceans.

  • Brand-new guide with an attractive look and design
  • 249 color plates containing 4,000 superb images by some of the most talented illustrators working in Australia today
  • Every bird species in Australia is covered (more than 900), including subspecies and rarities
  • Up-to-date maps reflect the latest information on distribution
  • Accurate and detailed text


The Collins Guide down under. In terms of format, content, quality, and overall feel, this new guide is very similar to the Collins Bird Guide (aka Birds of Europe). That is a very high compliment. This is the field guide to have with you in Australia. And by “have with you”, I mean in the car. It’s a little too large and heavy to comfortably carry. But that’s not a drawback in my book.


The Australian Bird Guide
by Peter Menkhorst, Danny Rogers, Rohan Clarke, Jeff Davies, Peter Marsack, and Kim Franklin
Flexibinding; 576 pages
Princeton University Press; May 16, 2017
ISBN: 9780691173016

A Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of IndiaA Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh
by Bikram Grewal, Sumit Sen, Sarwandeep Singh, Nikhil Devasar, and Garima Bhatia

From Princeton University Press:

This is the only comprehensive photographic field guide to the birds of the entire Indian subcontinent. Every distinct species and subspecies–some 1,375 in all–is covered with photographs, text, and maps. The guide features more than 4,000 stunning photographs, many never before published, which have been carefully selected to illustrate key identification features of each species. The up-to-date facing-page text includes concise descriptions of plumage, voice, range, habitat, and recent taxonomic changes. Each species has a detailed map reflecting the latest distribution information and containing notes on status and population density. The guide also features an introduction that provides an overview of birdlife and a brief history of ornithology in India and its neighbors. The result is an encyclopedic photographic guide that is essential for everyone birding anywhere in the subcontinent.

  • Covers all 1,375 subcontinental bird species
  • Features more than 4,000 stunning photographs to aid quick field identification
  • Includes up-to-date facing-page text and range maps
  • Contains concise descriptions of plumage, voice, habitat, and much more


This is a very attractive guide, filled with lots of great pictures (wow, those minivets are amazing!). It’s more suited to be a reference rather than field guide, though. That’s mainly due to its size (thick and heavy) and small, nearly inscrutable maps.


A Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh
by Bikram Grewal, Sumit Sen, Sarwandeep Singh, Nikhil Devasar, and Garima Bhatia
Flexibound; 792 pages
Princeton University Press; April 25, 2017
ISBN: 9780691176499

Best Places to Bird in British ColumbiaBest Places to Bird in British Columbia
by Russell Cannings and Richard Cannings

From Greystone Books:

In this unique guidebook that will appeal to novice and experienced birders alike, the authors of acclaimed Birdfinding in British Columbia explore their 30 favorite birding sites in the diverse landscape of Canada’s westernmost province. More detailed and more personal than the Cannings’ previous books, and illustrated with more than 30 color photographs of birds and locales, and 28 maps, Best Places to Bird in British Columbia introduces some sites that will be familiar favorites for readers, while others may come as a surprise.

Readers can choose their destination by species—each chapter has a list of “Specialty Birds,” the ornithological highlights of a trip to the area in question—or by geography—each chapter is named for its region and includes detailed information not only on how to get there but also on how to make the most of being there. Personal anecdotes, historical background, and ornithological information make this an indispensable guide to exploring the best birding sites B.C. has to offer and learning more about its bird population.


I don’t know if I would go so far as to say this guidebook is “unique”, as the publisher’s blurb does, but this is certainly a different kind of birdfinding guide. But a good different. It’s very personal, with the authors sharing their experiences birding these locations, as well as the more traditional information like how to get there, birds to expect, etc. It would certainly be helpful for planning a trip to B.C., though I wish it had more basic information on the province and an annotated list of target birds for someone like me who’s never been there. (To be fair, such information may be present in the authors’ previous Birdfinding in British Columbia, which I have not seen.)


Best Places to Bird in British Columbia
by Russell Cannings and Richard Cannings
Paperback; 224 pages
Greystone Books; May 16, 2017
ISBN: 9781771641661

Where to Watch Birds in MoroccoWhere to Watch Birds in Morocco
by Patrick Bergier and Fedora Bergier

From Pelagic Publishing:

Morocco is a paradise for birdwatchers with its coasts, islands, wadis, plains, forests, mountains and deserts creating conditions that are often very different from those found in Europe. The richness of these habitats is clearly illustrated by the 452 species which have been recorded so far. This is a very short period in the dynamics of bird communities, but a very long period in a country that has developed so quickly. The Government is encouraging development and tourism, for example in the Atlantic West Sahara, which opens up great new sites for birdwatchers. The most important, and easily accessible of these new sites have been included in this second edition, and the original 15 sites have been increased to at least 50. This book is not a field guide to species, rather it a guide to the sites of key ornithological importance in Morocco. It contains information and detailed maps to enable you plan a visit and provide guidance when you are on your trip. In addition, the book provides an overview of travel in Morocco, information about climate and habitats, when to go, and a full checklist of species.

This book is a reprint of The Prion Birdwatchers’ Guide to Morocco (2nd Edition, 2003, ISBN: 1871104092).


If you’re planning a trip to Morocco, this looks to be a great resource. Besides the 58 sites described in detail, there is extensive information on how to get around the country and other touristy information. There are even checklists for mammals, dragonflies, and other animals (and birds, of course).


Where to Watch Birds in Morocco
by Patrick Bergier and Fedora Bergier
Paperback; 176 pages
Pelagic Publishing; March 7, 2017
ISBN: 9781784271442

The New Neotropical CompanionThe New Neotropical Companion
by John Kricher

From Princeton University Press:

The New Neotropical Companion is the completely revised and expanded edition of a book that has helped thousands of people to understand the complex ecology and natural history of the most species-rich area on Earth, the American tropics. Featuring stunning color photos throughout, it is a sweeping and cutting-edge account of tropical ecology that includes not only tropical rain forests but also other ecosystems such as cloud forests, rivers, savannas, and mountains. This is the only guide to the American tropics that is all-inclusive, encompassing the entire region’s ecology and the amazing relationships among species rather than focusing just on species identification.

The New Neotropical Companion is a book unlike any other. Here, you will learn how to recognize distinctive ecological patterns of rain forests and other habitats and to interpret how these remarkable ecosystems function–everything is explained in clear and engaging prose free of jargon. You will also be introduced to the region’s astonishing plant and animal life.

Informative and entertaining, The New Neotropical Companion is a pleasurable escape for armchair naturalists, and visitors to the American tropics will want to refer to this book before, during, and after their trip.

  • Covers all of tropical America
  • Describes the species and habitats most likely to be observed by visitors
  • Includes every major ecosystem, from lowland rain forests to the high Andes
  • Features a wealth of color photos of habitats, plants, and animals


Pretty much anything you want to know about the ecology and natural history of the neotropics (tropical America) can be found in this book. Short, but information-packed, sections make it easy, and even fun, to browse. One of these is called Brightly Banded Snakes: Some of These Can Kill You, Some Are OK. How can you not read that? I couldn’t resist. And then I read more, and more again. If you’re planning on traveling to this wonderful region, reading this guide beforehand will add immensely to the experience.


The New Neotropical Companion
by John Kricher
Paperback; 448 pages
Princeton University Press; March 7, 2017
ISBN: 9780691115252