Indonesia and Philippines field guides (long)

Subject: Indonesia and Philippines field guides (long)
From: Peter Lansley <>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2006 16:33:44 +1000 (EST)
Hi all,

  Alastair Smith recently enquired as to field guides for Indonesia and the 
Philippines. The comments below are in addition to Bill Jolly's reply:

  Short answer:

  for the Philippines, yes the only option is 'A Guide to the Birds of the 
Philippines by Kennedy, R.S. et al. (OUP, 2000).
  Re Indonesia, if the English language version is unavailable, buy the 
Indonesian version of the field guide covering the part of Indonesia you are 
visiting, and just use the plates. Also, download trip reports covering sites 
near where you are going to get an idea of what species are where.Follow up any 
identification and distribution queries with relevant experts.

  Longer answer:

  The only recent field guides covering western Indonesia is indeed MacKinnon & 
Phillipps',  `A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali', 
OUP 1993, and MacKinnon's earlier work (1988) covering Java and Bali. The 
plates are better in MacKinnon & Phillipps and it covers also Sumatera and 
Kalimantan. Indonesian language versions of these two books (funded by BirdLife 
International, I think) were available in Indonesia last time I checked but you 
might be struggling to obtain English language versions (out of print).

  Please note that books stocked by most Indonesian bookshops are not usually 
of the quality we would expect in the English-speaking world but there are 
exceptions - try Gramedia bookstores as your first choice for bird field guides.

  Get hold of a copy of Birding Indonesia by Paul Jepson and Rosie Ounsted 
(Periplus Editions, 1997). This should be available in Indonesia at airport 
bookshops and Gramedia - it was on sale at Macassar airport in September 2005. 
Although the prices listed in it are completely out of date due to inflation in 
the wake of the Asian economic crisis of 1997-98, this is still a useful guide 
on where to go. It also has a full checklist dividing species distribution into 
the 7 main regions of Indonesia (Sumatera, Kalimantan, Java+Bali, Sualwesi, 
Moluccas, Lesser Sundas and West Papua).

  There is also Victor Mason's Birds of Bali (c. 1989) - not comprehensive as a 
field guide but useful for Bali.

  I would steer clear of reliance upon the photographic guide - there will be 
many common species not covered by it, but has distribution maps of the species 
it does cover.

  Eastern Indonesia is covered by two books: Coates & Bishop 1997, A Guide to 
the Birds of Wallacea (covering Sulawesi, Moluccas and Lesser Sundas) and 
Beehler, Pratt & Zimmermans's 1986 'Birds of New Guinea' (covering West Papua 
and mainland PNG). Again Indonesian translations of these should be available 
but I think English language versions are also out of print.

  Hope this is useful. If you have any ID/distribution queries on 
Indo/Philippine birds, there is heaps of expertise on OB (Oriental Birding) 
email list server as well as on Birding-aus.

  Cheerio. Peter S. Lansley.

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