Author Topic: Field Guide Reference Thread  (Read 6980 times)

Varanus

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Field Guide Reference Thread
« on: December 23, 2012, 12:27:43 AM »
A thread for examining field guides.  Feel free to share your favorites too! :))

One of my goals in life to is to get enough field guides to cover every terrestrial vertebrate species in the world!  I'm almost done with birds, mammals are half way done (but finding comprehensive guides to them is really difficult), reptiles and amphibians will be the stumbling block probably as there are some major holes.  Here's a list of all the guides I'd recommend for various regions of the world.  Since it's a long list, we'll start with birds.

Birds:
- Field Guide to the Birds of North America (NatGeo, 6th, 2011): Extremely comprehensive and all around excellent!
- Birds of Melanesia (Princeton, 2011): Comprehensive and with good illustrations, the text and plates are mostly seperate though
- Birds of South America, Non-Passerines (Princeton Illustrated Checklist, 2006): The best of the checklists, highly recommend, includes Galapagos
- Field guide to the Songbirds of South America, The Passerines (Texas, 2009): comprehensive, not every species is illustrated but all are given text and have a range map, does not include Galapagos
- Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands, An Identification Guide (Wild Guides, 2nd, 2005): comprehensive, uses composites of photos not illustrations, good info and range maps
- Birds of Mexico and Central America (Princeton Illustrated Checklist, 2006): the only guide to all of this region, includes vagrants, range maps also show relative abundance, illustration okay but not great, text minimal
- A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific (Princeton, 1989): a little dated taxanomically but still the best to the region
- The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds (New Holland, 2006): very good, range maps don't show seasons, shows eggs for each species, I suspect the Princeton verison is probably at least as good but I don't own it to say for certain
- Birds of East Asia (Princeton, 2009): excellent, but when they say east Asia they really mean northeast Asia so don't expect to get all of China or any of southeast Asia
- Birds of Britain and Europe (Peterson, 1993): good but not great, anyone have a more up-to-date bird guide to this area?
- Birds of the West Indies (Princeton, 2003): excellent, tends to scatter different plumages of some birds on different pages though
- The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand (Penguin Books, 2005): highly recommend, includes a chapter on the best birding sites in New Zealand, also includes many distant islands and recently extinct species, taxonomy could use an update
- A Comprehensive Illustrated Field Guide to the Birds of Africa South of the Sahara (Struik Nature, 2003): highly recommend, all around excellent!
- Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands (Struik Nature, 2003): includes Madagascar and all surrounding islands, highly recommend, includes a chapter traveling and birding tips for the various islands
- Birds of Europe, Russia, China, and Japan (two volumes, non-passerines and passerines)(Princeton Illustrated Checklist, 2009 & 2007 respectively): covers all the holarctic including north africa and many islands and small countries not mentioned in the title, illustrations good, range maps very small and some are nearly useless, only guide to cover central Russia and a few other areas
- Birds of the Middle East (Princeton, 2nd, 2010): all around excellent
- Birds of India (Princeton, 1999): covers all the Indian subcontinent, very good but could probably use an update
- A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Bali (Oxford, 2009): excellent, the only guide to cover all of the Greater Sundas, Princeton makes a guide to just Borneo which is very good but for the same size this one covers more
- Birds of Southeast Asia (Princeton, 2005): very good overall but no range maps
- A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines (Oxford, 2000): highly recommend, excellent and the only one of its kind

Princeton recently released two other bird guides, one to Mongolia, and one to the "-stans" of central Asia.  I suspect both are excellent.  A third, covering Hawaii, the tropical Pacific, and New Zealand, is quite poor with little text and poor illustrations, the only thing it has going for it is that it's up-to-date taxanomically.

If your keeping track, you'll notice that a number of random islands (mainly in the southern hemisphere and the Atlantic) and the Lesser Sundas (Sulawsei, New Guinea, etc) don't have guides in production.  Princeton has been planning a guide to New Guinea for several years and it's due to come out some time next year, but it's been delayed a number of times before so I'm not too hopeful.   Antarctica is essentially covered by these other guides.

Herps:
- A Field Guide the Reptiles of South-East Asia (New Holland, 2010): the only comprehensive guide to the region, not every species is illustrated but all get text, some of the numbering on the illustrations is off, includes mainland and Greater Sundas
- Western Reptiles and Amphibians of North America (Peterson, 2003): Could use an update but is still good, range maps at back, includes Baja California
- Eastern and Central Reptiles and Amphibians of North America (Peterson, 1998): Really needs an update, little distinction between what are subspecies and what are full species which gets confusing, range maps in text away from color plates.
- Field Guide to the Frogs of Australia (CSIRO, 2009): Excellent all around!
- Reptiles and Amphibians of Europe (Princeton, 2002): Very good illustrations, range maps, and text
- Reptiles of Australia (Princeton, 2003): Highly highly HIGHLY recommend!  Even includes species known only from specimens, uses photos not illustrations, includes photos of most color variations
- Lizards of the American Southwest (Rio Nuevo): highly recommend, excellent photos, lizard finding tips for each species, and good notes on range and variation.  If only a similar guide existed for other reptiles!
- Reptiles of Central America (Herpeton, 2nd, 2008): highly recommend, suitable for both the novice and hardcore herpetologist alike, good to excellent photos of nearly all species, good range maps, not too much info per species, prefered habitat not given for each species but prefered elevation is.

Biggest holes are most of South America, Mexico, the West Indies, the Lesser Sundas, random islands, much of Asia, and much of Africa.  Several guides exist for Madagascar, but they're pricey and I don't own them yet.  Non-comprehensive guides exist for many regions, those about south and east Africa seem close to being comprehensive though.

Mammals:
- Guide to Marine Mammals of the World (National Audubon Society, Andrew Stewart Pub., 2008): Highly recommend, excellent illustrations and info, taxonomy could use a slight update
- Mammals of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East (A&C, 2009): very good and comprehensive
- Mammals of North America (Peterson, 2006): very good and comprehensive, range maps are in text
- The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals (Princeton Pocket Guides, 2004): excellent for such a small guide, comprehensize on larger species less so on rodents and bats, range maps a little confusing but very detailed
- A Field Guide the Mammals of central America and Southeast Mexico (Oxford, 2009): very comprehensive and excellent
- A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia (Oxford, 2004): highly recommend, excellent text and illustrations, includes recently extinct species

A series of three guides exists for South America and seems quite good.  Guides exist for China, Southeast Asia, India (not comprehensive), Madagascar, and New Zealand.

Fish:
- Freshwater Fish of North America (Peterson, 1991): good, could probably use an update, not all plates are in color
- Coral Reef Fishes (Princeton Pocket Guide, 2002): surprisingly comprehensive but appears to ignore the east Pacific, still excellent overall
- Sharks of the World (Princeton): excellent, as already mentioned

The most difficult group to finds books for, perhaps I should search by family rather than by location.  Books exist for Europe; New Zealand; the coasts of North America, Australia, and Europe; and there's an out of print book on Australian freshwater fish.

Inverts:  Princeton makes two excellent guide to the dragon and damselflies of North America (east and west).  For butterflies I prefer the Kaufman guide for North America.  Oxford makes guides on the stick insects, grasshoppers and katydids, dragon and damselflies, and butterflies of Australia.  I have the butterfly one and it's excellent.  Other insect guides out there seem to be restricted to Europe and New Zealand.  Less than comprehensive guides exist for other regions.

There are many more excellent guides out there I'm sure, these are just the ones I have personal experience with. :)
« Last Edit: December 27, 2012, 03:09:40 AM by Varanus »



tyrantqueen

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Re: Field Guide Referance Thread
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2012, 01:13:20 AM »
This is interesting, thanks. It will help me make a decision in future on which guides to go for.

Just an FYI, it's spelled reference, not referance.

They came flying from far away, now I'm under their spell....

Varanus

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Re: Field Guide Reference Thread
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2012, 01:18:50 AM »
This is interesting, thanks. It will help me make a decision in future on which guides to go for.

Just an FYI, it's spelled reference, not referance.

Looks like reference to me, I don't know what your talking about. :-X ;)

tyrantqueen

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Re: Field Guide Reference Thread
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2012, 01:25:15 AM »
This is interesting, thanks. It will help me make a decision in future on which guides to go for.

Just an FYI, it's spelled reference, not referance.

Looks like reference to me, I don't know what your talking about. :-X ;)
Well you changed it now, right? And it's you're, not your ;)

I'm only teasing, never mind.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2012, 01:25:23 AM by tyrantqueen »

They came flying from far away, now I'm under their spell....

Varanus

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Re: Field Guide Reference Thread
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2012, 01:32:10 AM »
This is interesting, thanks. It will help me make a decision in future on which guides to go for.

Just an FYI, it's spelled reference, not referance.

Looks like reference to me, I don't know what your talking about. :-X ;)
Well you changed it now, right? And it's you're, not your ;)

I'm only teasing, never mind.

No comment. :-[ :-X ;)



Jetoar

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Re: Field Guide Reference Thread
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2012, 02:21:07 PM »
Thanks for share friend  ^-^.
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sauroid

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Re: Field Guide Reference Thread
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2012, 11:59:28 AM »
i just got the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America 6th edition a week ago. it is indeed an excellent field guide but i havent really looked through it. maybe when i get some free time.

Varanus

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Re: Field Guide Reference Thread
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2012, 03:00:53 AM »
Just got Reptiles of Central America, published by Herpeton, 2nd edition; I'll add it to the list above.  I haven't looked through all of it yet, but so far it's great! :))  The price of this guide seems to have gone down, perhaps a new edition is coming out soon.

I also just saw on amazon that there's now a similar looking guide for the amphibians of this region, it's still pricey though. ::)

Gwangi

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Re: Field Guide Reference Thread
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2013, 11:58:47 PM »
For mammal enthusiasts two must haves IMO would be...

"The National Audubon Society Guide to Marine Mammals of the World" which at the time of publication in 2002 included all species of marine mammal.


"Princeton Field Guides: Carnivores of the World" which at the time of publication in 2011 included all 245 terrestrial species of true carnivores.


For sharks you cannot do better than...

"Princeton Field Guides: Sharks of the World" which at the time of publication in 2005 covered every species of shark.


EDIT: Oops, I just noticed Varanus shared a couple of these already.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 12:01:10 AM by Gwangi »

Jetoar

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Re: Field Guide Reference Thread
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2013, 12:29:49 PM »
Cool draws of Lycaons, thanks for share  ^-^.
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CM

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Re: Field Guide Reference Thread
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2013, 09:36:32 PM »
Anyone know of any good bat field guides?

Varanus

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Re: Field Guide Reference Thread
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2013, 09:58:14 PM »
Anyone know of any good bat field guides?

I don't know of any that cover all bats, a quick amazon search yielded this, but it doesn't look comprehensive at all.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/180-1377301-2489506?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=bat+field+guide#/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=bat+of+the+world&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Abat+of+the+world
If you just need a particular area, then a guide to mammals of that area should include bats.  The best covered regions for bats are Europe, North America, and Australia.

CM

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Re: Field Guide Reference Thread
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2013, 11:52:16 PM »
Anyone own any of the Smithsonian Handbooks published by DK?  I imagine they're far from exhaustive, but they look to be very attractively put together with nice photos.

Varanus

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Re: Field Guide Reference Thread
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2013, 04:11:02 AM »
I'm excited to announce that tomorrow, 4/30/13, Birds of New Guinea from Princeton Field Guides should be available.  I say "should" because its been delayed and teased several times over the past few years, but now there's some info up about it so I'm hopefully that they'll finally deliver. :)
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/birds-of-new-guinea-bruce-mcp-beehler/1002517052?ean=9780691095639
Once available, it'll be the only guide of its kind currently in production for this avian rich region of the world! :o

Anyone own any of the Smithsonian Handbooks published by DK?  I imagine they're far from exhaustive, but they look to be very attractively put together with nice photos.
I used to have the one about herps.  Definitely not comprehensive, but lots of nice pictures and interesting info.

sbell

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Re: Field Guide Reference Thread
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2017, 06:41:06 PM »
Dredging up an old topic here, but very relevant--coming late this year!

https://www.amazon.ca/Field-Fishes-Amazon-Orinoco-Guianas/dp/0691170746/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1496851353&sr=8-1&keywords=field+guide+to+fishes+of+the+amazon+orinoco+guianas



That is going to be one impressive book--and it's not even that expensive!
« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 06:41:27 PM by sbell »

widukind

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Re: Field Guide Reference Thread
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2017, 07:17:26 AM »
Very interesting :)

Jetoar

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Re: Field Guide Reference Thread
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2017, 09:31:58 PM »
Wonderful book  :o.
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