There is a new bird book on the block and it is fantastic. The latest version of Newman’s Birds Book By Colour is brilliant, and perfect for birders at every level.


Newman’s Birds by Colour

by Kenneth Newman and updated by Nicholas Newman

Instead of bird illustrations this book is packed with full colour photographs of birds shade, of every size and of every shape. The book has a fantastic introduction, describing details and clear illustrations, that will help you navigate your way through bird identification. Then the book explores from the black section and the “White-Rumped Swift” all the way through the rainbow, to the collared “African Marsh Harrier.”


It is absolutely perfect for birders of all ages and stages who would like to be able to identify what they are looking at. Birds are sorted by colour and then refined by size… so it is really easy to identify the bird you are looking at quickly, before it flies out of site or out of mind.


Rather than a comprehensive field guide this is an identification guide. Once you have sorted through the colour and size and found your bird there is a regional map, a short description of defining features and habitat symbols, helping you to refine your identification further. Then there is the up-to-date name of every bird as well as the bird’s name in several of the official local languages.


Kenneth Newman (1994-2006)

The famous birder, who’s legacy is Newman’s Birds, started birding as a child in the Uk, collecting birds eggs and so on. He popularised birding for South African’s with his brilliant Bird Books, many of which I encountered on adventures into the great outdoors, growing up… and the legacy continues with his son.


Nicholas Newman

Nicholas Newman is the son of the original Newman’s Bird Book and by the time he was 19 had a “life list” of well over 700 birds… while he wasn’t a natural birder, as a young child, the environment he lived in meant that birding washed over him and it was unavoidable that he would grow up to be a birder. When it came to refreshing and updating Newman’s Birds he decided to reset his “life list” to zero and begin his count again.

Starting his search for new birds, through the eyes of a beginner birder. He asked the question, “What do beginner birders see?” The answer, “colour.” Followed by what size is the bird, and then other features like: speckled, collared, breast bands? Colour when flying? What does it look like in a bush?


From the Book

Newman’s Five Point Check

  1. Colour and Markings: First impressions are important.
  2. Size: small, medium, large and extra large.
  3. Habitat: towns, wetlands, Karoo, grasslands, coastal shore and so on.
  4. Behaviour and Activity: Observe what your bird is doing.
  5. Distribution: Take a look to see that the bird you are looking at is in the right region.

The book ends with an interseting article on the impact of Climata Change on Birds, followed by citizen science and some useful information regarding local bird groups in south Africa.


From the Book Launch

Nicholas Newman introduced the new and updated book and gave an interesting presentation. Including a quick and interesting lesson on where colour comes from in birds: pigmentation, diet, structural colour as well as iridescent birds. While we don’t see ultraviolet light, birds certainly do. Really interesting and definitely inspired me to take a closer look at the birds that I encounter.


You can learn more about the book at Newman’s Birds Website and follow Newman’s Birds on Instagram here.


This book was given to us for review purposes by Struik Nature. This is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are entirely our own.

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