Collectively, the Greater Antilles possess over 100 endemics, most of which are confined to just a single island. Of particular interest to students of avian biodiversity are the two endemic families: Todies (Todidae) and Palmchat Dulus dominicus. This well-produced and competitively priced book will tell you where and how to find them all, as well as many of the region's other birds. Naturally, being one of a series of birdwatchers' guides, this follows the successful format of earlier volumes. Thus there are introductory chapters on pre-tour and travel information, staying in the Greater Antilles, climate and clothing, general health and safety, books and maps and when to go. These are fortunately brief, answering most of the essential questions a traveller new to the region might ask. The bulk of the book is devoted to the best birding sites on the islands. The major sites have sections on location, strategy and birds, while accommodation and other wildlife are covered where necessary. Many have large, clearly drawn and very helpful maps. Cuba is exceptionally well covered, not surprising given that one of the authors is Cuban and the other two have visited many times. Cuba has 48 sites covered in 48 pages, compared with 10 in 22 for the Dominican Republic, 12 in 20 for Puerto Rico and just 6 in 11 for Jamaica. This is not to say that the other islands are anything other than well covered; it is as much a reflection of geography and accessibility of habitat as anything else. Between them these sites hold just about all of the islands' endemic or sought-after birds, along with sufficient information on finding them. The selected species accounts that follow allow for easy cross-reference to the above sites. These are especially helpful for harder-to-find species and in planning any visit. Finally, there is a comprehensive island-by-island checklist of all species. In these guides, Prion has found a winning formula and by sticking to the format developed in previous volumes has again come up trumps. This is an exceedingly thorough and well-researched guide, reflecting well the authors' knowledge of and experience in the islands. The few errors are typographical and in no way detract from its usefulness. Despite trumpeting the fact that they have all seen Cuban Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis levis, they are very vague as to where one might find it. All the other specialities of the region should be findable with the help of this book. It is essential for anyone visiting the region. Richard Schofield Prion, 2010 Pbk, 198pp, many maps and line-drawings ISBN 978-1-871104-12-7  Subbuteo code M20672 £16.99 Buy this book from the British Birds bookshop which is run by Subbuteo Natural History Books. This means that 5% of all sales generated by British Birds subscribers, whether it is books reviewed in the journal, featured on its book page or listed on the Subbuteo website, will be paid to British Birds - and will directly support the production of the journal. To browse the British Birds bookshop, please click here.
Volume: 
Issue 7

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