Nebraska Ornithologists' Union



Date of this Version



R.G. Cortelyou, "Book Review," from Nebraska Bird Review (December 1980) 48(4).


Copyright 1980, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.



Birds of Africa, John Karmali, 191 pages, 9¾ x 13, The Viking Press, New York, indexed, hardbound, $25.00.

The 72 magnificent color plates, ranging from less than half a page to two pages in size but with most a page or more, are the backbone of the book. They are supplemented by 132 black and- white pictures, mostly smaller. The text includes a foreword by Roger Tory Peterson; a preface containing Karmali's comments on photography; an introduction giving the characteristics - relief, rainfall, vegetation - of Africa in general and East Africa in particular; 37 chapters, one for each class of birds shown, giving general information on the class and specific information on each species shown; notes on the color plates, usually giving the little details the photographer likes to know; a bibliography; and a rather detailed index. "For the purpose of this book, Africa is defined as that area of the continent which lies south of the Sahara" - the Ethiopian zoo geographic region - and since the author worked in Nairobi and made his photographic forays from there, the species shown are East African, and obviously, only a sampling of them. But these are the best of some 40 years of bird photography, and they are good.