The Definitive Guide to Southern Africa’s Shorebirds
HOT OFF THE PRESS! Waders, or shorebirds, represent only a small percentage of the world’s birds, but are unparalleled in popularity among birders. Why? Identifying these seemingly anonymous grey birds, through a combination of shape, plumage and behaviour, is one of the most rewarding challenges in birding—and the possibility of finding a rarity is an ever-present drawcard. Despite their delicate appearance, waders thrive in some of the most inhospitable environments on the planet thanks to remarkable structural and behavioural adaptations, dynamic life cycles and dramatic global migrations. This unique, lavishly illustrated book will help you not only to identify waders with confidence, but also to understand and enjoy these inspirational birds. The book follows the same formula as mhy LBJs book – with plenty of info on biology, ecology, migration, taxonomy and names, in addition to ID. It also includes write-ups on Southern Africa’s top wader-watching hotspots.
The definitive guide to Southern Africa’s Little Brown Jobs
Almost a quarter of Southern Africa’s bird species, and half of its endemics, are known by birdwatchers as LBJs or Little Brown Jobs. All birders experience some degree of trepidation when confronted by Ornithologicum nightmariensis. Consequently this potentially confusing group of birds is shunned by virtually all beginners and many experienced observers as well. However, LBJs include some of the region’s most spectacular, thrilling, interesting, sought-after and memorable birds. In this eagerly anticipated book, four years in the making, talented author and artist Faansie Peacock shares his passion for and knowledge of LBJs. CHAMBERLAIN’s LBJs will not only help you to confidently identify LBJs in the field, but also to understand and enjoy these remarkable birds. The book was previously sold out, but in January 2016 I printed more! In addition, the book is still available as a downloadable ePdf.
THE CHAMBERLAIN GUIDE TO BIRDING GAUTENG
101 prime birding sites in and around Johannesburg & Pretoria
The greater Gauteng region, including Johannesburg and Pretoria, is home to more than 450 species. Whether you’re a visiting birder, a hardcore local lister, or even just an outdoor-enthusiast looking for a good travel guide, this book is a must-have! Co-authored with professional bird guide, Etienne Marais, Birding Gauteng provides in-depth information on 101 birding sites, including access, habitats, seasons, routes and how to find the specials. Sites covered range from suburban nature reserves, through classic favourites to exciting weekend destinations. Each site has a detailed birding map, with markers corresponding to points in the text. The book also includes an annotated checklist, which suggests the best locations to see each species. After digging through our respective garages and closets, Etienne and I have managed to find a few more copies of the book. If you’re interested in purchasing one of the last BG’s (as the book has affectionately been dubbed by the birding community), you can check out some previews here and link to the purchase page. Copies are signed by both authors.
PIPITS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA
The complete guide to Africa’s ultimate LBJ’s
Apart from some naive childhood experiments, this was the very first book I ever published, back in 2006 as a 24-year old student with a lot more energy but a lot less experience. I only printed 2000 copies of Pipits, all of which have long since been sold (if you have a copy, you could probably get a decent price from a collector if you try to market it as “rare, out-of-print Africana”). So, how does one write a 300 page book about only 16 species (now 14 species, after the demise of the Long-tailed Pipit and Kimberley Pipit) of little brown birds? As a group, pipits provide a whole plethora of unanswered questions and much potential for research – exciting stuff for a young ornithologist. Although the book is no longer for sale, you can download some pdfs by clicking through via the button below.
THE 2015 ESKOM RED DATA BOOK OF BIRDS
…of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland
Together with Martin Taylor and Ross Wanless, I worked as co-editor on The Eskom Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland (and the Prince Edward Islands, we should add). But a whole team of 40+ biologists, ornithologists, conservationists, academics and students contributed to the book. Admittedly, the book is long overdue, as the last regional red list was published in 2000. Since then, ecosystems and habitats in the region have been further fragmented and degraded. The Red Data Book aims to employ sound scientific methods based on criteria established by the IUCN (and a lot of math) to assign birds to threat classes. This process takes into account current, historical and predicted future population sizes and trends, breeding success, longevity, threat severity, distribution size, range fragmentation and a whole suite of other determinants to arrive at a conclusion. Once we know where the most pressing problems lie, we can start fixing them. In addition to authoring a few species texts and general editing, my responsibility was also to map the past, present (and sometimes future) distributions of all the species. We opted to use custom maps for each species, at a scale that is relevant to its geographical range. Lastly, I offered to do “just a few small quick-and-dirty line sketches, to liven things up”. The result was 63 intricate illustrations that I hope can convey my passion for this project. Of these, 132 are now listed as regionally threatened, of which 47 are ‘Near Threatened’ and the remainder are at higher threat levels.And make no mistake – this is a time for action! With vulture and penguin populations in freefall, new threats emerging every day, and the number of species in the Critically Endangered category up to 13 (from 5 in 2000), we all have to roll up our sleeves.
Get your copy through BirdLife South Africa. Contact Martin Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange. You can also head on over to BirdLife’s beautiful office: Isdell House, 17 Hume Road, Dunkeld West 2196, Johannesburg, and buy one directly. Check out their ornithological library while you’re there.
THE ULTIMATE COMPANION
…for Birding in Southern Africa
This is probably the only book that I own that I will not desecrate by highlighting, underlining and scribbled notes! Hailed as the the most powerfully visual and most spectacular bird book ever published in Southern Africa, The Ultimate Companion consists of two, large, coffee-table style hardcover volumes in a protective case. The boxed set features over 1400 spectacular photographs depicting all southern Africa’s bird species: the editors, Peter Ginn and Geoff McIlleron, painstakingly selected the most glorious and stunning photographs from tens of thousands of contributions – the result is indescribable. Complementing the photos are fascinating descriptions, including personal anecdotes and unpublished observations, from 18 top bird authorities in an easy to read style. My contribution to the book was authoring 71 species texts, mostly those of the larks, pipits, warblers and cisticolas, with a few oddities like Common Swift and Red-throated Wryneck as well. Through The Unlimited Child, 100% of the profits from the sales of this book will be used to get educational toys into underprivileged creches throughout South Africa. The book is available through its website, BirdBook.co.za. Purchase of the hard copy also includes a free eBook.
NEWMAN’S BIRDS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA
Economic and Environmental Costs of Alien Plant, Animal and Microbe Species
The impact of invasive species is considered second only to that of human population growth and associated activities as a cause of the loss of biodiversity throughout the world. Biological Invasions presents case studies from six continents by contributors from both university and management sectors, to illustrate the problem of alien species invasion. The book reconfirms the diverse and unpredictable roles that nonnative species asume as they invade new ecosystems: destruction of crops and forests, major damages to ecosystems leading to loss of biodiversity, soil erosion and water loss. My contribution to the second edition of Biological Invasions is a chapter on the status and impacts of alien birds in South Africa, co-authored with Berndt J. van Rensburg. The chapter investigates the history of alien bird introductions, lists all recorded nonnative species with a summary of the current status of each, and considers economic and biotic impacts. There are case studies on the Indian House Crow and Red-billed Quelea. The book is edited by David Pimentel, and published by CRC Press. Unfortunately I do not have any copies of this book for sale, but you should be able to find it at most online retailers.