Peacocks & Picathartes is a celebration of the diversity of African birds, focusing on families that occur only in Africa as well as iconic families and species that, despite having close relatives in other parts of the world, seem to embody something of Africa. Watson’s anecdotal style captures vividly his encounters with prized species, such the secretive White-necked Picathartes and the elusive Congo Peacock. He conveys the sheer delight mousebirds take in ‘being what they are’, and reveals the surprise discovery in 1991 of a new partridge in Tanzania’s Udzungwa Mountains. Drawing on precolonial and current-day avian accounts, he offers his own insights based on a lifetime of personal observations in the wilds of Africa – recounting unforgettable expeditions, quirky bird behaviour, jittery taxonomy, moments of rare good luck – and much more. Both informative and entertaining, this book captures the essence of African birdlife, and will appeal to bird enthusiasts across the spectrum.
Rupert Watson was born in England but has lived in Kenya for over 40 years where he practices variably as a lawyer, mediator, naturalist and writer. His work has taken him to many parts of Africa, providing every opportunity to indulge his lifelong fascination for birds. He has authored several books, including The African Baobab and Culture Clash, and has written many articles, largely on natural history, for a wide range of publications.