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