Atlantic seabirds , Volume 3 - Issue 3 p. 141- 142
Most birdwatchers visiting the Galapagos Islands also take-in the diverse avifauna of mainland Ecuador. Space and weight are inevitably limited and much of the baggage allowance will be taken up with The Birds of Colombia and similar hefty tomes. However, the relatively few (but often endemic) birds of the Galapagos also need identifying. This small, extremely useful, wellproduced and relatively cheap guide is far superior to The Field Guide to the Birds of Galapagos (Harris 1982, out-of-print but with better maps) and A Guide to the Birds of Galapagos (Castro & Phillips 1996) and will be all that most bird-watchers require for their visit to the archipelago. This guide covers not only the avifauna but also the mammals and reptiles. Each extant species is described and apart from a few lizards and geckos all are illustrated with photographs or paintings. The plates are montages of digitally manipulated images that have been resized to ensure that all the species in every plate are in proportion. This approach is generally successful but in a few instances, notably in some of the cetacean plates, too many images are crammed onto a single page and this results in clutter and some confusion. As acknowledged, the photos come from many parts of the world but this does cause some problems with subspecies. For instance, the Oystercatcher depicted here in flight has substantial white on the primaries (having been photographed in Florida), whereas individuals of the endemic race in Galapagos lack this white. The pale morph Wedge-tailed Shearwater is a ‘digitally manipulated image of a dark morph’ of a bird at sea off New South Wales, which is hardly for the purist!
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