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New guide to Central America coming, apparently

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Old Monday 21st May 2018, 22:21   #1
pbjosh
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New guide to Central America coming, apparently

Birds of Central America: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama

by

Andrew Vallely and Dale Dyer

With this book, the excellent new Northern Central America guide (Fagan and Komar), and the new internationally pubished version of the Nicaragua guide, it appears that all central American countries will have a minimum of two thorough, widely available, modern field guides and a couple will have three. Notably Honduras which was without a field guide until just a few years ago will soon have three! If only Brazil and Argentina could have the same luck!

https://press.princeton.edu/titles/13253.html
https://www.amazon.com/Birds-Central...entral+america
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Old Tuesday 22nd May 2018, 06:36   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbjosh View Post
Birds of Central America: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama

by

Andrew Vallely and Dale Dyer

With this book, the excellent new Northern Central America guide (Fagan and Komar), and the new internationally pubished version of the Nicaragua guide, it appears that all central American countries will have a minimum of two thorough, widely available, modern field guides and a couple will have three. Notably Honduras which was without a field guide until just a few years ago will soon have three! If only Brazil and Argentina could have the same luck!

https://press.princeton.edu/titles/13253.html
https://www.amazon.com/Birds-Central...entral+america
Brazil has plenty of coverage doesn't it?

There is also another big project (Zimmer and Whittaker) due next year, Argentina likewise has a new title on the horizon (Pearman) which should be available in 2020.

Most people still cannot get the new Bolivia guide.

Thanks for posting this anyway, I wasn't aware of it.



A

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Old Tuesday 22nd May 2018, 10:25   #3
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Brazil has the Tomas Sigrist books - of which there are several versions which all leverage the same work. There is a large "An artistic view" coffee table book, which is lovely in my opinion but weighs about 6kg, honestly. There are the generally out of stock / only in Portuguese / generally unavailable out of Brazil actual field guides. I speak enough Portuguese to use a field guide just fine but I've still yet to be able to connect with one - hopefully at some point. I just rechecked the website and there is a miniscule pocket guide available at the moment, FWIW, the Guia do Bolso on this page:

http://www.avisbrasilis.com.br/livro...s-sigrist.html

There is the widely available Ber van Perlo book which is, as far as I know, one of only two full coverage books, and it is the most modern and nominally the best. It is definitely better than the Ber van Perlo Mexico and Central America book, but I can't really get excited about it, it is a very poor guide with inadequate art (with many errors), and woefully inadequate text.

There are the two new Wildlife Conservation Society volumes - Pantanal and Atlantic Rainforest - that leverage prior Ridgely and Tudor work. These are fantastic but only cover a portion of Brazil, and I've heard that it is unlikely that the hoped for 3rd-5th volumes will materialize. If the Amazonian volume were to come to fruition it would be wonderful, but I am not terribly hopeful.

There is also the older Deodata de Souza "All the Birds of Brazil." I don't own it but have seen it, and I would put it a step behind the van Perlo book, based on the bit I've looked at it. I don't know if it's still in print and available?

As well, there are one or two large works underway, that I know of. First, the Zimmer / Whittaker guide - above you comment that it's due next year but are you certain of that? It's 10+ years in and I haven't seen or heard of a fixed publication date elsewhere. This guide should be fantastic when it finally arrives. As well I know that at least previously Brett Whitney was working on a guide or series of guides but I haven't heard anything about it in so long that I don't know if it's still underway or not.

Over to Argentina, the Pearman book is something like 15-20 years underway, original publication dates were 2003 or 2006 or some such? I am certain it will be authoritative and brilliant when it finally publishes.

The Bolivia guide is, in my opinion, fantastic. I was fortunate to be in La Paz just as the first copies became available, and it is a tremendous contribution to South American field guides. I know everyone is hoping it will become more widely available in the future.

Along those lines, Miles McMullen's small guides for Colombia and Ecuador are really quite good, particularly considering size, and it's a shame they're not more widely available. Actually, I am guessing many here aren't aware, Miles is working on a third edition of the Colombia guide that should publish shortly. It was available for pre-order via Indiegogo - link here:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/f...-of-colombia#/

Last edited by pbjosh : Tuesday 22nd May 2018 at 10:34.
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Old Tuesday 22nd May 2018, 12:07   #4
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Thanks for the info


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Old Tuesday 22nd May 2018, 13:27   #5
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Thanks for letting us know about the book. Agree coverage of Central America now seems to have eclipsed that of southern half of south america.

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There is also another big project (Zimmer and Whittaker) due next year, Argentina likewise has a new title on the horizon (Pearman) which should be available in 2020.
Those are titles that have been listed as forthcoming for years, with publication dates being repeatedly rolled forward again and again. I'll be surprised if they are ever published.
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Old Wednesday 23rd May 2018, 21:34   #6
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.......
With this book, the excellent new Northern Central America guide (Fagan and Komar), and the new internationally pubished version of the Nicaragua guide, it appears that all central American countries will have a minimum of two thorough, widely available, modern field guides and a couple will have three. Notably Honduras which was without a field guide until just a few years ago will soon have three!...............
To me Mexico is definitely also part of Central America when it comes to birds. But we still need a decent and compact FG for the whole country. So I don't feel all of Central America has been sufficiently covered with modern FGs. And I mean a FG with the well proven set-up of two-page spreads with range maps there and not in the back of the book like the customary van Perlo ones.
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Old Thursday 24th May 2018, 06:45   #7
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To me Mexico is definitely also part of Central America when it comes to birds. But we still need a decent and compact FG for the whole country. So I don't feel all of Central America has been sufficiently covered with modern FGs. And I mean a FG with the well proven set-up of two-page spreads with range maps there and not in the back of the book like the customary van Perlo ones.
You don't think much of this Robert?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Field-Guide...entral+america


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Old Thursday 24th May 2018, 11:09   #8
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To me Mexico is definitely also part of Central America when it comes to birds. But we still need a decent and compact FG for the whole country. So I don't feel all of Central America has been sufficiently covered with modern FGs. And I mean a FG with the well proven set-up of two-page spreads with range maps there and not in the back of the book like the customary van Perlo ones.
Mexico is most certainly politically part of North America. Biogeographically, the most logical break between North and Central America is arguably the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, which still puts most of Mexico in North America. I do think there is some historical inertia that drives people to not consider Mexico part of North America, most notably that nearly every bird guide to "North America" excludes Mexico. To me this exclusion of Mexico from "North America" is more than just pedantry, it's quite ugly and even if many people disagree, essentially reflective of institutionalized racism. To be clear I'm not trying to accuse anyone here, just beating the same drum I always do!

That whole can of worms aside, Mexico definitely does not have a "modern" guide book by current standards. However, I still think Howell & Webb is among the best of the prior generation of field guides and while a new guide with complete plates, including migrants, and modern layout would be more convenient, I don't think there is really anything missing from the combo of Howell & Webb and a US field guide for migrants, other than the aforementioned convenience. There have remarkably few splits, new species, and range expansions/contractions in Mexico in 30 years. In comparison look at what has happened in Colombia since Hilty was published in the 80's. Nearly 200 new species, myriad splits and discoveries, huge range changes... It's a testament to how well known the Mexican avifauna already was when Howell & Webb published, and to how good a job they did!
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Old Thursday 24th May 2018, 12:56   #9
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To me Mexico is definitely also part of Central America when it comes to birds.

I'm not sure many others share that view. Southern Mexico is part of the Neotropics. But the main field guide is titled “A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America,” which obviously implies that Mexico is not part of Central America. The text of the guide refers to Mexico together with Central America as “Middle America.”
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Old Thursday 24th May 2018, 15:59   #10
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We have had the "where does Mexico fit" discussion many times. Howell and Webb includes a paragraph somewhere about the biogeographic split at the Isthmus. Others, in earlier threads, have argued that there is a similarly strong or stronger biogeographic boundary involving the Rio Grande Valley, going a little north of SE Arizona, and from there in some order to the base of Baja California, where the Peninsula probably should be included in the area north of that boundary.

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Old Thursday 24th May 2018, 16:06   #11
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Peterson clearly doesn't count Mexico as Northern Central America in his book.



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Old Thursday 24th May 2018, 16:19   #12
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We have had the "where does Mexico fit" discussion many times.

Yep, but just to clarify, I think that's a different question from whether it is generally considered part of Central America for birding or other purposes. The latter is more a question of descriptive linguistic usage, and I think the answer is fairly straightforward.
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Old Thursday 24th May 2018, 21:05   #13
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If we're talking simply geograpical positioning, as part of the land bridge, Mexico sits slap bang in between North and South America so must therefore by the very definition, be Central.

Just looking up at my World map and if you take the section that is Mexico to Panama, it's almost exactly central, let's not forget that North America goes way up beyond the USA.



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Old Friday 25th May 2018, 16:18   #14
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If we're talking simply geograpical positioning, as part of the land bridge, Mexico sits slap bang in between North and South America so must therefore by the very definition, be Central.

Just looking up at my World map and if you take the section that is Mexico to Panama, it's almost exactly central, let's not forget that North America goes way up beyond the USA.
The AOU defines North America as including Central America. Fortunately cooler heads prevail in the publication of field guides intended to cover the essentially North Temperate portion. Often characterized as the ABA's North America. The SACC apparently concurs.
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Old Friday 25th May 2018, 19:47   #15
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We can "nit pick" about whether central and middle are the same or not, as well as about other details. The facts remain that Howell and Webb is a book that is simply too bulky to be taken into the field, particularly when a "North American" book is needed to complement it. And it has range maps where they do not allow a quick comparison. Thus their placement is not very convenient. The need for a more compact modern FG book with less text is clearly there. Including Mexico in a "North America" book is not practical when even Hawaii is not included. In both cases, too few people visit the additional regions together with mainland "North America" (US and Canada). Thus, it is better to have slimmer books for each region.

An important practical consideration also comes from the different languages prevailing in the different countries. Thus, Mexico is a "Central American" component again when it comes to birding.
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Old Friday 25th May 2018, 20:03   #16
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You don't think much of this Robert?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Field-Guide...entral+america


A
I must admit that I do not know this book. But I have several earlier books by Edwards, and they have never really impressed me. Thus, I'm open to any convincing arguments, but from the description found in the link, I doubt the book is a major advancement.
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Old Friday 25th May 2018, 20:14   #17
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.................... But the main field guide is titled “A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America,” ..............”
That is Howell and Webb with its doubtful FG qualities (as outlined in post #15) despite otherwise being a great book.

Van Perlo covers it all, but it plays in a lower class league when it comes to illustrations as well as the remaining info. Plus the range maps are all stuffed into the back pages.
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Old Friday 25th May 2018, 20:37   #18
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That is Howell and Webb with its doubtful FG qualities (as outlined in post #15) despite otherwise being a great book.

Van Perlo covers it all, but it plays in a lower class league when it comes to illustrations as well as the remaining info. Plus the range maps are all stuffed into the back pages.
I have used Howell and Webb as a field guide and find it really good. I have some knowledge of the US birds and bring Sibley's app when I travel to Mexico, so have a way around that lack. The H&W lives in the backpack rather than in a pocket - but with the temperatures when I have been in Mexico, I have not worn anything that could contain a boook similar to the CR or Panama field guides in a pocket anyway (when visiting those two countries the field guide usually lives in the backpack anyway for the same reason).

Having said the above, yes I would switch to a good field guide with modern layout if one was published, but the illustrations would have to be good!

[as I have said before elsewhere, I do not understand why Fagan and Kumar does not add the few species missing to that book to also cover the entire Yucatan peninsula]

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