Working for birds in Africa

A Sound Guide to Nightjars and related nightbirds

Sat, 12/22/2012 - 11:31 -- abc_admin
Richard Ranft and Nigel Cleere, 1998. 73-minute CD with 14 pp booklet. Pica Press, The Banks, Nr. Roberstbridge, East Sussex TN32 5JY. ISBN 0-300-07580-4. UK£14.99.
pages 81-82

This CD and booklet are designed to accompany the recent monograph Nightjars (Cleere & Nurney, Pica Press, 1998; reviewed in Bull. ABC 6: 70-71). The CD has a playing time of 73 minutes, with 99 tracks but no announcements. The recordings include 107 of the 119 species treated in the monograph. The booklet contains a short but informative introduction, and then lists the recordings, stating the type of vocalisation (for example, song or flight call), locality, year and recordist. Of the 27 African nightjars, only three are missing: voices of Golden Caprimulgus eximius and Star-spotted C. stellatus are described in the monograph but no recordings were available, whilst no vocalisations of Nechisar Nigthjar C. solala are known. For Collared Nightjar C. enarratus, only nest calls were available (the song remains undescribed); for Prigogine's C. prigoginei, a song that might prove to be of this virtually unknown species is usefully presented. For the remaining 22 species, a song is included for all, with an additional call for 14. The quality of the recordings is generally excellent. Since most encounters with these birds start with a vocalisation, and many get no further, this is a very worthwhile production, and I hope that authors of future monographs (and past ones, eg Rails and Pittas and Broadbills?) on vocal but hard-to-see families will follow this lead.

Roger Safford

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