Working for birds in Africa

Birds of South Africa, Checklist and Alternative Names

Sat, 12/29/2012 - 14:13 -- abc_admin
Compiled by P A R Hockey, 1994. Struik Publishers (Pty) Ltd. ISBN 1 86825 631 6. Distributed by New Holland.
page 56

This publication should be extremely useful for birders visiting southern Africa, particularly those who are more familiar with the English names used in other parts of the continent. The first section is a complete checklist of the birds of Africa south of the Cunene and Zambezi rivers, extending up to 333 km offshore. The entry for each species gives English and scientific names, the Roberts' number, a reference to the relevant page number in the SASOL, Sinclair and Newman field guides, a space to record date and locality and a grid showing the abundance of the species by month. The second section is a list of alternative English (but not scientific) names. 25 references are listed as sources of alternative names and the treatment is very thorough. Natal Nightjar Caprimulgus natalensis gets no less than 14 alternative names, some of which may only be familiar to birders who have been living as nomads in northern Chad for the past 50 years, A list of recommended changes to some of the scientific names used in the SASOL guide is useful though not comprehensive: African Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus spilogaster and Lesser Gallinule Porphyrio alleni have different scientific names in the SASOL guide from those used in the Checklist. Lastly there is a comprehensive index of accepted southern African common names cross-referenced to Roberts' numbers. This book is excellent value for money and should be widely appreciated.

lain Robertson

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