If you are going to buy one book on Philippine Birds buy this one. It is the bible of the Philippine birders. A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines by Robert S. Kennedy, Pedro C. Gonzales, Edward C. Dickinson, Hector C. Miranda Jr., and Timothy H. Fisher. It is usually just called the Kennedy Guide. It is printed by the Oxford University Press and was first published in the year 2000. There is a hardbound version and a soft cover version.
This is the best field guide for Philippine Birds. Its is a resource that is meant to be a birders companion. The picture above is our copy of this great book. We bring it on all our trips. It has travelled by jet plane, propeller plane, boat, car, jeep, tricycle, horse and it has also done its share of hiking. Its a bit bent, dirty, and battered. But it is more or less intact and in slightly better condition compared to the more abused copies we have encountered. Some of our friend's field guides are stapled together, bound by duct tape, xeroxed, laminated and basically subjected to all forms of Frankenstein book binding to keep their tomes in one piece. A Philippine birder usually feels slightly naked without a Kennedy Guide nearby. This book is meant to be by your side at all times. Its not meant to be in a book shelf. It is supposed to be a readily available resource to be whipped out at a moments notice.
The members of the two biggest birding associations in the Philippines rely on this field guide. The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines and the Philippine Bird Photographers Forum members use this book.
The first part of the book consists of drawings of birds arranged in pages called plates. There are 72 plates. The birds are arranged in taxonomical order. When you find the bird after looking thru the plates you can get more information by going to the next part of the book. The second part of the book is around 368 pages. It describes the birds in greater detail. You get to know the size, call, range, color and different races of the birds.
It is not easy to find this book in the Philippines. Sometimes you can find it in Fully Booked. Locally the price ranges around P4,000 sometimes a bit less. We got ours from Amazon.com. The cost of the book in Amazon is $85.00. You might be able to get it cheaper from the other sellers (around $64) in Amazon or by buying it used in Amazon (around $48). It is available in Book Depository http://www.bookdepository.com) for US$56.52 including free shipping to the Philippines. It is not cheap. But if you are interested in Philippine birds. Bite the bullet. Get this book.
You can buy other books on birds in the future to augment your field guide. We have bookshelves full of other books. But this book is so well used it does not go back into the shelves. It usually stays on our bedside table.
For a beginner this book is the portal to great adventures. Get a pair of binoculars. Then walk to a tree with birds flying around it. Look for a bird then search for it in the book. Repeat.
Pretty soon you might find yourself in a Palawan forest, looking up a tree trying to get a good look at a Palawan Hornbill. You could find yourself deep in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range looking for the beautiful Whiskered Pitta. Or you could be drinking coffee in your house looking at a Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker having its breakfast on one of the trees in your garden.
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