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.
- Over 600 stunning paintings of 80 species of waders, at every age and in every plumage.
- Vignette illustrations of the bird in its typical habitat and as it really looks in the field.
- Modern, neat, logical and intuitive layout for easy comparison.
- In-flight illustrations, from above and below.
- Fascinating insights into wader biology, ecology, classification and names.
- Useful tips and techniques to help you find and identify waders.
- Site guides to Southern Africa’s top wader-watching hotspots.
- Appendix with 21 of the most likely potential future vagrants (new species) for the region.
More than two years in the making, this eagerly anticipated new book is the ultimate resource on the identification and biology of Southern Africa’s wader species. However, because of waders’ incredible worldwide migrations, most of the species in the book will also be familiar with readers from other regions of the world (only 30 of our 80 waders are NOT migratory). What makes this book different from any other titles on waders? Firstly, it is written from a Southern Hemisphere perspective, unlike most European and American books. This shift of focus completely changes the picture! Secondly, it explains wader identification based on a background of biology and ecology – instead of just listing all the tedious identification details. Thirdly, it is so much more than just a field guide. Some paragraphs really read like a love letter written to waders – in celebration of their beauty, adaptability and triumph over seemingly insurmountable challenges.
ABOVE: The Long-toed Lapwing is a localised special of the Okavango Delta region. Ecologically, it shares some features with jacanas, such as it elongated toes and long hind-toe. Illustration by Faansie Peacock.
In Southern Africa we see waders mostly in their drab NON-BREEDING PLUMAGE. Illustrations such as this one is what you expect in any field guide, but Chamberlain’s Waders offers so much more…
Every species is shown in full BREEDING PLUMAGE. In Southern Africa we often see hints of waders’ colourful nuptial dress just after they arrive in spring, and again just before they depart in autumn. In breeding plumage, the origin of the name “Red” Phalarope becomes obvious!
Many waders look completely different in JUVENILE PLUMAGE, and young birds are more prone to vagrancy than adults. As such every species is depicted in juvenile plumage. with notes on ageing. This juvenile phalarope has already started moulting some of its scapular feathers.
Where relevant, the SEXES are illustrated separately. In the case of the polyandrous phalaropes, males (shown here) are smaller and much less colourful than females.
Every species is illustrated IN FLIGHT, from above and below. Many waders reveal critical clues in flight, such as the presence of absence of a white wing-bar, and the pattern of the tail feathers.
Gorgeous VIGNETTE ILLUSTRATIONS show the bird from different angles, or compared to similar species. In this case the illustration is intended to show the pattern on the nape, plus the retained juvenile tertials which allow this bird to be aged as an immature moulting into its first non-breeding plumage.
The vignette illustrations (“thumbnails”) are also used to show the BIRD IN CONTEXT. For example, phalaropes often swim out on the open water, and may follow larger birds such as these coots that stir up the water and sediment.
Chamberlain’s Waders goes far beyond conventional field guides, and shows MULTIPLE SUPPLEMENTARY ILLUSTRATIONS. This image is part of a series that shows the face patterns, head shapes and bill dimensions of the world’s phalarope species.
Red Phalaropes have somewhat flexible lateral extensions on their bill, as shown here. A few small papillae are found on the inside of the lower mandible, suggesting a form of primitive filter-feeding. Chamberlain’s Waders has a strong focus on ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY, in addition to just identification.
Have you ever wondered what the name “Phalarope” actually means. It translates as “coot foot” and is in reference to phalaropes’ lobed toes, which they use for swimming or spinning on waterbodies (including the opean ocean!). Chamberlain’s LBJs provides fascinating information on the ORIGIN OF BIRD NAMES.
EXTENSIVE INTRODUCTIONS to each chapter provide unparalleled insight into waders’ biology and ecology. This illustration shows a phalarope feeding at an oceanic front, where masses of cold and warm water collide to cause upwellings of zooplankton.
In the last few years, the use of satellite-tags and geolocators has provided a full picture of the epic GLOBAL MIGRATIONS that waders undergo. Although the book is focused on Southern Africa, the “bigger picture” is painted in the shape of planetary migration maps and family trees of the all the world’s species.