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Field Guide for Peru

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Old Monday 14th February 2005, 14:50   #1
Big Phil
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Field Guide for Peru

Can anyone tell me if 'A Field Guide to the Birds of Peru' by James F. Clements and Noam Shany is the best field guide for a visit to Peru?.
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Old Monday 14th February 2005, 15:42   #2
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I would feel somewhat estranged by calling it the best - but it is the only covering the entire country (at least until the next is published - should be finished in one or perhaps two years). Unless highly experianced in Neotropical birds, you will often find it difficult to decipher many of the drawings and the text for each species is very brief (and voices are not described at all - only references to where you can find recordings!). Depending on the region you plan on visiting in Peru, a combination of guides is far better (in many cases you can just copy specific plates to bring along). For Pelagics, bring along a guide for pelagic birds, likewise for waders. For the high Andes (~above 2500 m. asl) the guide by Fjeldsaa & Krabbe - Birds of the High Andes - is unparalleled. However, this is a rather bulky and expensive guide, so you may prefer to have a look at a library and just copy a few of the plates relating to more difficult groups. For the Amazonian lowlands get "Birds of Ecuador" by Ridgley & Greenfield or "Birds of Colombia" by Hlity & Brown. The guide to Ecuador is good for northern Peru, too. For the Yungas in SE Peru, the best guide is a "Field Guide to the birds of Machu Picchu" by Barry Walker. SW Peru is well covered by Jaramillo's "Field Guide to the Birds of Chile". Otherwise we are looking at copies from a few plates of the usual "Birds of South America" by Ridgley and Tudor. Likewise, copies of a few plates from the most recent (vol. 8 & 9) "Handbook of the Birds of the World" will probably help, too. So, do get the Clements & Shany guide to Peru, but realize that the experiance will be problematic unless combined with other guides. I know above may seem "over the top" - but you are likely to only visit a relatively small part of Peru and as such only a few of the additions mentioned above are needed.

Good luck - Peru is World class birding.

Last edited by Rasmus Boegh : Monday 14th February 2005 at 15:50.
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Old Monday 14th February 2005, 16:46   #3
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Hi Rasmus, thanks for the reply.

I'm going on a jaunt round the sights of southern Peru plus a couple of days in the Amazonian forest, not specifically for birds, but I do want to ID most of what I see. What do you think my best combination is, given that I want to travel as light as possible?
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Old Monday 14th February 2005, 17:02   #4
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Three guides:

1) "A Field Guide to the Birds of Peru" by Clements & Shany. "Medium sized".
2) "Field Guide to the birds of Machu Picchu" by Barry Walker. Rather slim and small, but very good for Cusco and the nearby Machu Picchu region.
3) Either "Birds of Ecuador" by Ridgley & Greenfield or "Birds of Colombia" by Hilty & Brown - for the Amazonian lowlands. Both are rather large.

First two are - in my opinion - a must for you, while number three is optional. I have a preference for the guide to Ecuador, but this is purely due to personal reasons and the guide to Colombia is just as good. You may choose not to bring a third guide at all, as most species you are likely to see in the Amazon-region (parrots, Curassows, etc.) are rather easy to ID from the Clements & Shany guide. The problematic species are Woodcreepers, Antbirds and Flycatchers - species you generally only are likely to see if specifically looking and/or searching for them. If specifically searching for these birds, it would be recommendable to bring a few copies of plates from HBW vol. 8 & 9 aswell.

Last edited by Rasmus Boegh : Monday 14th February 2005 at 22:36. Reason: misunderstanding - had mistakenly switched "Peru" and "Ecuador"
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Old Monday 14th February 2005, 22:09   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasmus Boegh
I would feel somewhat estranged by calling it the best - but it is the only covering the entire country (at least until the next is published - should be finished in one or perhaps two years). Unless highly experianced in Neotropical birds, you will often find it difficult to decipher many of the drawings and the text for each species is very brief (and voices are not described at all - only references to where you can find recordings!). Depending on the region you plan on visiting in Peru, a combination of guides is far better (in many cases you can just copy specific plates to bring along). For Pelagics, bring along a guide for pelagic birds, likewise for waders. For the high Andes (~above 2500 m. asl) the guide by Fjeldsaa & Krabbe - Birds of the High Andes - is unparalleled. However, this is a rather bulky and expensive guide, so you may prefer to have a look at a library and just copy a few of the plates relating to more difficult groups. For the Amazonian lowlands get "Birds of Ecuador" by Ridgley & Greenfield or "Birds of Colombia" by Hlity & Brown. The guide to Ecuador is good for northern Peru, too. For the Yungas in SE Peru, the best guide is a "Field Guide to the birds of Machu Picchu" by Barry Walker. SW Peru is well covered by Jaramillo's "Field Guide to the Birds of Chile". Otherwise we are looking at copies from a few plates of the usual "Birds of South America" by Ridgley and Tudor. Likewise, copies of a few plates from the most recent (vol. 8 & 9) "Handbook of the Birds of the World" will probably help, too. So, do get the Clements & Shany guide to Peru, but realize that the experiance will be problematic unless combined with other guides. I know above may seem "over the top" - but you are likely to only visit a relatively small part of Peru and as such only a few of the additions mentioned above are needed.

Good luck - Peru is World class birding.
I can only second this opinion. The present Peru guide is a GREAT disappointment. But then, it's better than nothing. When I was there in 2000, I did have to get by with much less than what is available today. I did have copies of the plates by Tudor, at least, combined with the Colombia book, plus the small guide by de la Peña. That book is quite handy, but it was awful when it came to such groups like yellowfinches. The problem with the books for northern South-America is that you may find different looking subspecies in Peru.
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Old Tuesday 15th February 2005, 09:08   #6
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Thanks. I think I'll probably go with the Peru and Machu Picchu guides, but appreciate what you say about the Equador / Colombia Guides.....I just don't fancy lugging one of them about!. As Rasmas guessed, I'm not going to be worrying too much about the cryptic stuff.....

Cheers, Phil.
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Old Sunday 20th February 2005, 21:12   #7
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yeah, the Peru guide was a disappointment but with the excellent Colombia guide things aren't too bad...

there is a new guide in the pipeline by Tom Schulenberg that should be excellent

Tim
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Old Tuesday 1st March 2005, 15:13   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
yeah, the Peru guide was a disappointment but with the excellent Colombia guide things aren't too bad...

there is a new guide in the pipeline by Tom Schulenberg that should be excellent

Tim
Do you have a publication date for this, Tim?
I was about to post to ask for guides...and found this thread must have missed it...
I'm going to Peru in August...
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Old Tuesday 1st March 2005, 15:49   #9
Rasmus Boegh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle
Do you have a publication date for this, Tim?
I was about to post to ask for guides...and found this thread must have missed it...
I'm going to Peru in August...
If you know any of the people "in the vicinity" of the new guide you can copy a few of the new plates (as a few people visiting Peru already have). Otherwise, from what I know, I doubt it will be out by August and I would say we - optimistically - are talking late 2005 (as I believe I indicate in my first post).
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Old Tuesday 1st March 2005, 20:14   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasmus Boegh
If you know any of the people "in the vicinity" of the new guide you can copy a few of the new plates (as a few people visiting Peru already have). Otherwise, from what I know, I doubt it will be out by August and I would say we - optimistically - are talking late 2005 (as I believe I indicate in my first post).
Sorry Rasmus..guilty of not reading carefully enough the first part of your 1st post!
I skim very quickly when trying to find the meat of a post...specially one with detail like yours!!!
Barry Walker would know about this yes???
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Old Tuesday 1st March 2005, 20:17   #11
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yes!
I'm fairly sure Eagle!!!

Tim
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Old Thursday 3rd March 2005, 20:54   #12
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Ordered Clements and Shany through Amazon.

How do I get hold of Barry Walkers book here?
Not available through Amazon.

Any suggestions(apart from asking him to send one!!!)
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Last edited by Eagle : Thursday 3rd March 2005 at 21:19.
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Old Thursday 3rd March 2005, 22:31   #13
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Hi eagle

I've seen em i'm trying to remember where!

might have been thru Duncan MacDonald at Wildsounds - try their website....

man, you will love it over in Peru. Are you gonna drop into Barry's Pub in Cusco? - it's a great place for a beer of an evening.

I put a report on the net of my escapades there - a google should find it; it might be useful but i doubt it knowing me. Also I have a very good mate who lived there a while so if you have any queries drop me a line and i'll do my best to help out.

Tim
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Old Friday 4th March 2005, 00:53   #14
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Just checked - the following internet bookshops all have it listed - even though that obviously isn't a guarantee:

http://www.birdsongs.com/cgi-bin/Shop.exe/shopentrance
http://www.wildsounds.co.uk/
http://www.nhbs.com/

Best of luck. Peru is a pleasure to visit and has great culture, great parties (if you're into that), nice people and of course... great birds!
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Old Friday 4th March 2005, 08:14   #15
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I just ordered the Machu Picchu guide from http://www.birdbooksdirect.com for £24.99 inc. post, if that helps, Eagle.

Phil
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Old Friday 4th March 2005, 08:56   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil
I just ordered the Machu Picchu guide from http://www.birdbooksdirect.com for £24.99 inc. post, if that helps, Eagle.

Phil
Thanks I have just ordered it !!!

Rasmus thanks for the sites I knew 1 so thats helpful.

Tim I will be getting in touch with you re Peru!!
I certainly intend to go to Barry's Pub...to sample the Beer of course.
We are in and out of Cusco a lot on route for different places ...so may see quite a bit of it!!(The Pub!!)

I'm off to see your report!!
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Old Friday 4th March 2005, 09:13   #17
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Is this the pub in question?

http://www.cross-keys-pub-cusco-peru.com/
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Old Friday 4th March 2005, 12:04   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil
Is this the pub in question?

http://www.cross-keys-pub-cusco-peru.com/
Yes it is - a nice place. Easy to find, too - though obviously a bit pricy as everything else located near the main square of Cusco.
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Old Friday 4th March 2005, 18:55   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil
Can anyone tell me if 'A Field Guide to the Birds of Peru' by James F. Clements and Noam Shany is the best field guide for a visit to Peru?.
It's worth knowing that there is a web page on the Ibis website where there are corrections/updates for the Clements, Shany guide.

I hate lugging around loads of stuff so I think I'll be taking copies of plates and some photocopies of other guides agree with the comments on the guide though, real problems in Bolivia last year.

Presumably the MachuPichu guide is cheaper in Peru?

I'll be in Peru in August Eagle say may bump into you in the pub, I like to keep my birding trips well lubricated.

Cheers

Steve
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Old Friday 4th March 2005, 21:44   #20
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Quote:
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Presumably the MachuPichu guide is cheaper in Peru?
Well, probably not as bookstores generally can expect to sell that book to tourists rather than locals (and most foreign birders already have their guides before actually getting to Peru). Birding among locals still hasn't become a major thing in Peru, though the future hopefully will change that. Furthermore, there are only a few places selling it, indeed I have only ever seen it one place in Lima and at a second bookstore in Cusco where a friend of mine bought the last copy they had supposedly.
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Old Sunday 15th January 2006, 10:05   #21
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The Machu Picchu field guide is great if you're walking the Inca Trail as it doesn't weigh much. I saw it in two shops in Cusco (with a different cover from the one I bought in blighty), but the price was much what you'd pay in the UK.....c. £25. I gave mine to a local guide when I left Cusco.
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Old Sunday 15th January 2006, 16:55   #22
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I was in Peru over Christmas and the Machu Picchu guide was easy to get hold of there. It has much better information than the Clements guide, but I was not impressed with the paintings. I think most of the plates in Clements (the ones by Dana Gardner) are much better than those in the Machu Picchu guide, though there are some truly awful plates as well.

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Old Sunday 15th January 2006, 17:45   #23
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Originally Posted by tomjenner
I was in Peru over Christmas and the Machu Picchu guide was easy to get hold of there. It has much better information than the Clements guide, but I was not impressed with the paintings. I think most of the plates in Clements (the ones by Dana Gardner) are much better than those in the Machu Picchu guide, though there are some truly awful plates as well.

Tom
My guess is that you're talking about the colours, right? The first edition has colours that match perfectly, but from what I've heard, the 2nd print (which I haven't seen) has poor colours as something apparently went wrong during the printing process.
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