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Best field guide for Honduras? (1 Viewer)


We leave in a few weeks for our trip to Honduras...will be at Pico Bonito and around Copan Ruinas. Totally confused as to which field guide would be best. I've got Howell & Webb's Mexico/Central America and it will surely come, but its not very portable in the field. We also have: Van Perlo, Birds of Mexico & Central America; the Edwards Mexico guide (not great); the Ridgely Panama & Central America guide. And the old Peterson Mexican Birds as well.

The guide at Pico Bonito told me that they use the Garrigues Birds of Costa Rica guide, but I'm skeptical that will have everything. And its the one book I don't own (but if it is most useful, I would buy it...)

Years ago when I traveled Mexico, Howell and Webb went everywhere with me, and I think it is the best. Among the other choices, I do not find the Ridgely Panama guide much more portable than H&W, and plates probably not quite as good, so I would leave that one at home. I have Garrigues and Dean, but I cannot comment on the extent of overlap of species. No knowledge of the others you mention.


PS: the van Perlo book is commented on here: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=187791
Totally confused as to which field guide would be best. I've got Howell & Webb's Mexico/Central America and it will surely come, but its not very portable in the field.

Some people remove the plates and bind them separately--gives you a more portable version.

You could consider the new field guide (published late last year) to birds of Panama by George Angehr and Robert Dean.

I don't know its utility for Honduras but for Panama it is an excellent field guide. (and only ~$25 on the web). It covers residents and migrants to Panama and surely many spp found in northern/western panama will also occur in honduras. Illustrations on each page, not in plates like Ridgely. Ridgely has more info, but difficult to use as a field guide.

just my two cents
Howell and Webb is definitely the book you need most. It will cover everything at Copan and most birds at Pico Bonito. I would say your best bet would be to take Howell and Webb into the field and have the Costa Rica guide available in the hotel room. You could check up in advance to see what additional birds you want to look out for that are not included in Howell and Webb. My website (link below) has a list of birds that I have seen at Pico Bonito, and if you visit The Lodge (highly recommended) you can buy a list made up by Roberto Gallardo, who is one of the top birders in the country.
Good luck with it. Honduras is a great country and you will see lots of good birds.

Janet - I have separated the plates out of my copy of Howell and Webb as J. Moore has suggested, waterproofing them to some extent by adding a laminated, customized index to the front and laminating the back page as well. It has been on four trips to the Yucatan and still looks fine. It folds up, if necessary, in a pants or jacket pocket and gives you most of what you would need for an i.d. If it doesn't, I take careful notes on a digital recorder for later reference.
To me, guide books are tools, a means to an end. At about 1% of the cost of a birding trip, it doesn't bother me to adapt them to field use.
Good luck in Honduras -

Thanks all. It seems the consensus--here and also on a query I posted on BirdChat--is to take the Howell & Webb. I will definitely split out the plates and make a laminated cover. That's what I did for the Ecuador guide and it worked great (but for that I actually bought a 2nd copy--I just hate defacing books, something ingrained from my childhood I guess!) But in this case I won't bother--it really will increase the utility of the book overall.

And perhaps we'll throw in something else to cover the migrants and water birds--another shortcoming of H&W.

Thanks for your suggestions.
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