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What's the best field guide for Ecuador? (2 Viewers)

Swissboy

Sempach, Switzerland
Supporter
Switzerland
Very similar principle as the Field Book I mentioned in post #3. Given that it covers the entire country, it is more like 1/2 inch thick.

Niels
To me that book, and the equivalents for Colombia were real eye-openers in showing what could be done for making books for true field use. Making them waterproof would be the next step that is still needed. But all those so-called FGs that one usually finds, some even burdened with long bibliographic lists etc., just show how too often various legitimate needs are crammed into one product. In the end, none of those needs is optimally served. The two-volume version that was fashionable for a short while at least for South America overdid it just a bit more. As not even the volume meant to be taken into the field was really compact. And having to rip those FGs apart, to essentially just take the plates into the field, while achieving its goal, simply makes any bibliophile's stomac churn.
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
[My NSAM plates and text is ~1,400 pages long. My birds of Peru ~700, birds of Colombia ~400. They are less than 1cm thick in aggregate... And this doesn't include the ~20 or so other field guides I have with me... Of course they're all on my phone...]
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Ecuador is in the odd position of having 3 major field guide offerings but none that is clearly the best option. Juan Freile's new guide (published by Helm with Restall art from Birds of Northern South America) has the most up to date range and taxonomy information but is hindered by the art quality. I personally prefer Miles McMullan's Fieldguide - it is far more compact, has useful if concise text, is up to date, and I find the art at least as good and frequently much better than Restall's art. Either one is perfectly serviceable if you already know your way around S American birds but if you're just starting, the older Ridgely guide might be a better resource for learning neotropical families and genera, and it contains much more thorough text. I have Ridgely and McMullan and just don't see any use for Freile, unfortunately.

I also agree that the Peru guide has far better art and is a great resource. AFAIK, the app is still only available on iPhone and not Android, but is a great app and I would argue pretty indispensable for S America. There should be a new Hilty guide to Colombia with Lynx/Birdlife art this year (scheduled for "early 2021" per Lynx) - this promises to be a very valuable addition not just for Colombia but for all of northern S America.

In my personal view, it's a great shame that the new Helm guides for Ecuador, Venezuela, and Trinidad & Tobago used Restall art instead of Lynx or otherwise sourced original art.
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
Ditto on this....'Miles McMullan's Fieldguide".... I know I have several copies....not sure if this is still in print as it was 'coming and going' for awhile but a real nice concise one, and one you could take into the field.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
McMullan's guides to Colombia and Ecuador are typically sort of in-and-out of print, as you mention. The Ecuador guide has already seen two editions, and the Colombia guide three editions. Notably, the most recent version of the Colombia guide is published via a different publisher and is no longer associated with ProAves, so it may end up being that a potential future third edition of the Ecuador guide would also be issued by a different printing company.
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
McMullan's guides to Colombia and Ecuador are typically sort of in-and-out of print, as you mention. The Ecuador guide has already seen two editions, and the Colombia guide three editions. Notably, the most recent version of the Colombia guide is published via a different publisher and is no longer associated with ProAves, so it may end up being that a potential future third edition of the Ecuador guide would also be issued by a different printing company.
When I would take people down to Ecuador...I would stop off at El Mundo in Quito and buy up whatever copies they had!.... I think I have two copies now and will not get rid of them as one is in bad 'field shape!".... A great guide and always sold out so never could figure out why it was always in and out of print... jim
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Taking a sensu latu approach to "Ecuador", what do we think of this?

https://www.nhbs.com/an-illustrated...MI0oSR7teb7gIVELrtCh3zzQkjEAQYASABEgIfpvD_BwE
I have it on my shelf but I have not used it on a visit to the area so my concerns might be mis-founded. There are things to like and others to dislike. Each page of paintings is opposed by a page that essentially contains maps and information about genera. For each species the text has name in several languages and that is it. You would think that there could have been a little extra info added, but I guess the size of maps is what was used to decide what to do. Maps do seem to be pretty good according to the couple of examples I have looked at.
Secondly, each plate has a relatively dark background which I can live with and there is a shadow on the lower right side which always is the belly. Each image is shown straight from the side, and as such, I sometimes have difficulty judging if there is a dark marking on the central breast or not. The paintings seem very schematic but they may be better at showing relative length of tail etc than what my initial impression was. Tails are either showing upperside or underside (depending on group) but not both.
One major disadvantage: the index of families and genera is printed with tiny font in pale grey text on a page that is only slightly paler. I know this is fashionable, but it means that my old eyes cannot read it. There also is an index to group names in English which is slightly more readable due to a slightly larger font. I do not see an index to individual species.

Niels
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Sorry, you were saying you did not understand they did not do a Lynx for Ecuador. I misunderstood you because the immediately preceding post was about Colombia.

Niels
 

Timbirder3

Well-known member
I don't understand why Helm didn't do the same as the Ecuadorian publishers for the Ridgley & Greenfield Guide: Sell the field guide as a unit but with the plates and text bound separately. This can't cost a lot extra to do and makes the guide far more useful, as the bulky text can be left in the car or hotel and just the plates taken into the field. Better than attacking it with scissors and sticky tape.
As an aside when I last went to Venezuela (several years back when it was one of the safest South American countries) I took both the original De Schauensee and the Hilty guides. The Hilty has far more detail but is twice the weight and the De Schauensee was far easier to use in the field, so the Hilty stayed in the hotel for reference when needed.
Tim
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
I don't understand why Helm didn't do the same as the Ecuadorian publishers for the Ridgley & Greenfield Guide: Sell the field guide as a unit but with the plates and text bound separately. This can't cost a lot extra to do and makes the guide far more useful, as the bulky text can be left in the car or hotel and just the plates taken into the field. Better than attacking it with scissors and sticky tape.
As an aside when I last went to Venezuela (several years back when it was one of the safest South American countries) I took both the original De Schauensee and the Hilty guides. The Hilty has far more detail but is twice the weight and the De Schauensee was far easier to use in the field, so the Hilty stayed in the hotel for reference when needed.
Tim
It was in two, seperate parts but they did eventually do a more portable version in 2018 with Freille and Restall
 

Timbirder3

Well-known member
Actually Andy the European/American Ridgley books were in two parts: A Field Guide, and Status and Distribution guide, but the field guide was still a monster of a book. (And most people didn't buy the other volume) In Ecuador the Field Guide part was split into a plates volume and text volume, plus there was a separate Status and Distribution volume, so a full set of three books. I think you may have had to buy the complete set to get the split version of the field guide. It was only available in Spanish anyway so not much use to me.
As far as I can make out the Freille and Restall book is a totally different book with inferior plates.
I still don't see why publishers don't bind plates and text separately but sell it as a single book. This would make sense for other bulky South American guides like the Hilty Venezuela and Columbia volumes. This would allow them to keep the excellent and detailed text as well as the good plates without the necessity of carrying round a tome the size of a breeze-block. Failing that they could publish the original as a handbook and a stripped down version with minimal text as a field guide, like Helm did with the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent; though that was spoiled by its use of the Sibley Monroe taxonomy that made it really hard to navigate.
Tim
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
Actually Andy the European/American Ridgley books were in two parts: A Field Guide, and Status and Distribution guide, but the field guide was still a monster of a book. (And most people didn't buy the other volume) In Ecuador the Field Guide part was split into a plates volume and text volume, plus there was a separate Status and Distribution volume, so a full set of three books. I think you may have had to buy the complete set to get the split version of the field guide. It was only available in Spanish anyway so not much use to me.
As far as I can make out the Freille and Restall book is a totally different book with inferior plates.
I still don't see why publishers don't bind plates and text separately but sell it as a single book. This would make sense for other bulky South American guides like the Hilty Venezuela and Columbia volumes. This would allow them to keep the excellent and detailed text as well as the good plates without the necessity of carrying round a tome the size of a breeze-block. Failing that they could publish the original as a handbook and a stripped down version with minimal text as a field guide, like Helm did with the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent; though that was spoiled by its use of the Sibley Monroe taxonomy that made it really hard to navigate.
Tim
Hadn't realised this Tim, thanks.

Regarding size and portability, that's a good cue for the pro 'techies' to enter and sound the death knell for the printed book again ;)

I do agree though, slimmed down versions of books, particularly for longer trips which may encompass several countries, would be helpfull.
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
Hadn't realised this Tim, thanks.

Regarding size and portability, that's a good cue for the pro 'techies' to enter and sound the death knell for the printed book again ;)

I do agree though, slimmed down versions of books, particularly for longer trips which may encompass several countries, would be helpfull.
For me at least, the biggest advantage of electronic is I can carry several references. In South America I usually find one guide isn't enough and that others add extra information. For example, most of the illustrations in Birds of Peru are excellent but there's one or two which actively mislead. A second opinion helps here...
 

jurek

Well-known member
Better would be splitting such a guide into geographical regions - west, south etc., as the avifauna is split. In South America, in many cases, each lookalike species occurs in another part of the country. They cannot be confused with each other, only with another genus, which often also has several lookalikes which neatly separate by range. That is why I avoid books where maps, call descriptions and pictures are on different spread, even if there are more species per page.

And on electronic, of course, you can download and carry a library of photos. They usually help if some bird is confusingly drawn. But electronics does not like humidity and mud.
 

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