All fieldguides are not the same!

With the age old problem of luggage weight on long haul flights I've been doing some research into field guide options for my trip to South Africa. I had intended taking the excellent but rather weighty Birds of Africa South of the Sahara (Sinclair & Ryan) but a friend has just lent me the Sasol Birds of Southern Africa, 3rd Edition (Sinclair, Hockley & Tarboton) which is more compact and looks very good. Looking online however, specifically at NHBS, the 4th edition is drastically different in terms of plates and doesn't look very good at all.
Into the bargain I have also downloaded the Roberts Multimedia Guide of Birding in Southern Africa app onto my iPhone which is truly excellent (but not cheap).

Not being familiar with many of the species I set about comparing the various guides and deliberately chose an LBJ - Karoo Lark. And the results of my comparison vary vastly. Here are the plates for Karoo Lark shown after the book/app cover in which they appear:

All this has me thinking that the Roberts app is the way to go because it seems the most accurate, has photos as well as plates and also has the added advantages of having song/call recordings and obviously being very light! The 4th edition of the Sasol guide shows a very poor plate of an orange bird which I'd have real problems using for id! I've found a copy of the 3rd edition on Ebay for only £3.79 so will undoubtedly take that with me too. Being old skool I don't like to rely solely on modern technology.

You live and learn!       

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