Almost a quarter of Southern Africa’s bird species, and half of its endemics, are known by birders as LBJs or Little Brown Jobs. All birders experience some degree of trepidation when confronted by Ornithologicum nightmariensis. Consequently this potentially confusing group of birds is shunned by virtually all beginners and many experienced observers as well. However, LBJs include some of the region’s most spectacular, thrilling, interesting, sought-after and memorable birds. In this popular book, four years in the making, talented author and artist Faansie Peacock shares his passion for and knowledge of LBJs. CHAMBERLAIN’S LBJs will not only help you to confidently identify LBJs in the field, but also to understand and enjoy these remarkable birds.
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CHAMBERLAIN’S LBJs has a very strong visual component, subscribing to the principle that a picture is worth a thousand words. The book includes more than 1400 original colour paintings of superb detail, accuracy and appeal. Particularly attention has been paid to size, proportions, posture and carriage, to help transform the paintings from two-dimensional images into representatives of living, breathing creatures that might fly off the page at any moment. Faansie Peacock, who is both the author and artist, has the following to say:
“The paintings are attempts at capturing something of the birds’ lives and characters, and I hope that my excitement for LBJs is detectable in the material. Personally I am most fond of the small thumbnail illustrations (which often took up more time than the main paintings); these are based on actual birding memories, and I ended up painting hundreds of objects I never thought would be in a bird book: car tyres, aeroplanes, tractors, roof tiles, signboards, hosepipes, bridges, buildings, huts, mountains, beaches, lawns, hammers, spanners, cast-iron pots, snakes, chameleons, terrapins, antelope, insects, fingers, golfers, soccer players and birders, to name a few. If anything, this is testament to the fact that birds are all around us, always. A part of life.”
The colour plates form the main component of the book, and each LBJ is lavishly illustrated, with 5-10 images per species. Most species are depicted on a half page, but variable or especially challenging groups such as cloudscraper cisticolas and large brown pipits are allocated a full plate each. Plates feature images of juveniles, non-breeding adults / females and breeding adults / males, as well as in-flight illustrations (from above and below) and a thumbnail sketch of the bird as it really appears in the field. Important subspecies differences are also clearly painted and shown on the multi-colour distribution maps.
All illustrations were done by Faansie Peacock. The paintings are a reflection of his passion for birds, his meticulous observation skills and his talent as a bird artist. The result is an unparalleled range of celebratory and scientific images of exceptional quality. The innovative design of the book and the logical plate layout allow efficient comparison between the most similar species.
habitat and as it really appears in the field
SPECIES TEXT & EXTRA INFORMATION
CHAMBERLAIN’S LBJs is far more than just an amplified field guide. From the outset it was deemed important to provide extensive supplementary information to give readers a broader and more in-depth understanding of LBJs. Consequently the book features diverse background information on topics such as names, evolution, classification, breeding biology, eggs and nests, diet, subspecies, and hybrids. Although the focus of the book is on field identification, additional identification resources are provided for tricky groups; these include wing formulae, sonograms, measurements, feather details, identification keys, schematic summaries, habitat tables, optical illusions, and more.
General tips on how to find and observe each family are given, and specific stakeouts for a few sought-after species are also suggested. Finally tips on photographing LBJs, suggested further reading, a glossary of terms and bird topography diagrams are provided.
Faansie Peacock’s unique writing style is evident throughout: his mix of accurate scientific information, creative and colourful writing and subtle humour make CHAMBERLAIN’s LBJs essential in the field but also fascinating enough to enjoy at home.
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