Birds of the Masai Mara by Adam Scott Kennedy

Cover Image

Cover Image

Birds of the Masai Mara Adam Scott Kennedy

Birds of the Masia Mara by Adam Scott Kennedy | 177 pages | Princeton University Press | Paperback | 2012 | ISBN: 978-0-691-15594-4 |

In a continuation of the books on the Masai Mara, this review looks at Birds of the Masai Mara by Adam Scott Kennedy. It is a photographic guide to the ornithological species of the region. With over 300 photographs covering 200 species of birds, if you are planning a trip to this Kenyan national park should you be packing this book?

The Style

Written in a friendly non-jargon filled style that attempts to take some of the mystery out of more traditional field guides, and full of some simply stunning photography this book is an easy read or flick (as you do with most field guides).

Being region specific in this way allows for a much more relaxed style than usual field guides and also means less real in depth descriptions of the birds, instead relying very heavily on the photographs to be your ID guide. Is this a good thing, well read on for my opinion.

As an ID guide

While I normally prefer illustrations to photography in bird books (it is all to do with light affecting plumage detail) as this guide is so region specific this detail is easily ignored after all the light the birds were photographed in is likely to be how you see the bird. I found it very easy to navigate through the birds, which has often been cited as an issue in books that are not of your local region (finding which species you have seen can be tricky when whole groups of birds are different from those you are used to).

However over all I don?t think there was enough detail about some of the birds, you would be reliant on seeing them well enough to be able to compare them with the photographs, while this may often be the case a poorly seen bird could be mistaken without better notes. Perhaps it is the attempt at non-jargon based text that is the root of this issue, and maybe the book is aimed more at the casual observer.

The Photographs

From a photographers point of view the images used in the book are stunning (also the case from a birders point of view) and for some may be reason enough to visit the book (if not purchase it).


I thought overall the book was great in terms of imagery and use, but lacked a little in written descriptions, some people will, like me, see this as an issue, others will be fine just using the photographs to identify the birds, which is after all what the book is for.

Available from Wildgudes/Princeton University Press - Birds of the Masai Mara

Ashley Beolens

Created: 14th Jan 2013