Rozzi, Ricardo et al. Multi-Ethnic Bird Guide of the Sub-Antarctic Forests of South America. 2010. University of North Texas Press. Hardbound: 235 pages. Price: $34.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: The sub-Antarctic forests of South America are the world’s southernmost forested ecosystems. The birds have sung in these austral forests for millions of years; the Yahgan and Mapuche peoples have handed down their bird stories from generation to generation for hundreds of years.
In Multi-ethnic Bird Guide of the Sub-Antarctic Forests of South America, Ricardo Rozzi and his collaborators present a unique combination of bird guide and cultural ethnography. The book includes entries on fifty bird species of southern Chile and Argentina, among them the Magellanic Woodpecker, Rufous-Legged Owl, Ringed Kingfisher, Buff-Necked Ibis, Giant Hummingbird, and Andean Condor. Each bird is named in Yahgan, Mapudungun, Spanish, English, and scientific nomenclature, followed by a description, full color photographs, the bird’s distribution map, habitat and lifestyle, and its history in the region.
Each entry is augmented further with indigenous accounts of the bird in history and folklore. Two audio CDs (included) orient the reader with the birdcalls and their names in four languages, followed by numerous narratives of Yahgan and Mapuche stories about the birds translated directly from interviews with elders of both communities.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in ethno-ornithology and/or Neotropical birds. Birders will find the recordings of bird calls useful (each species name is announced on the CD).