Working for birds in Africa

A Birdwatcher's Guide to Morocco

Fri, 12/21/2012 - 13:20 -- abc_admin
Patrick and Fedora Bergier, 2004. Perry: Prion Ltd. 172 pp, 54 maps. Softback.
page 165

This revised guide to birding sites in Morocco comes 15 years after the first edition and is an enormous improvement. It is three times as thick, covers over 50 sites, rather than the original 15, and includes far more information on places to stay, the birds themselves and local contacts etc. Such statistics speak for themselves, and by giving phone numbers for recommended hotels this book could even be used to plan an entire birding visit from the outset. The omission of a summary map showing the localities over the whole country would have been a welcome addition to this end, and does make it somewhat less user friendly than it could be.

I must state that the previous edition was already outdated and largely obsolete compared to the regularly revised Gosney guides, which have in my view been superior for at least ten years. This revision includes several sites in Western Sahara, which is an interesting new addition, and one that is sure to be elaborated in future guides. The maps are very clear, but at the expense of not always providing the level of detail that would be helpful (Gosney's are generally better in this respect). In most other aspects, however, this re-establishes the Bergiers' guide as the superior publication to take with you, certainly better than others I've seen that have appeared in recent years.

The target audience is very clearly northern Europeans, and it is a continuing frustration that Moroccan agencies are not more closely involved with such publications, as it proves that the wildlife tourism potential of Morocco still goes largely unrecognised within the country. Having said this, it probably makes such a book all the more important, as it would certainly not appear unless dedicated people like the Bergier husband and wife team took the initiative.

Overall, I would remark that for a prospective birder visiting Morocco, especially for the first time, this guide represents good value for money, and is now the one to acquire.

Chris Bowden

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