From Belize to Brazil, the forests of the American neotropics are home to an astonishing array of birds—over 3,700 different species, or nearly 40 percent of all the birds on earth. Because of this overwhelming abundance, birders come from all over the world to try to catch glimpses of species that can be found nowhere else, such as toucans and antbirds, motmots and manakins, bellbirds and cocks-of-the-rock, and practically all of the planet's hummingbirds. Two such birding enthusiasts are Vera and Bob Thornton, who have spent fifteen years photographing these special and exotic birds in the rainforests of eleven different countries of Central and South America. In this book, you'll find more than a hundred spectacular color photographs they took during their travels, along with a highly entertaining account of their adventures—and misadventures—in chasing these exotic neotropicals.
The birds pictured here are among the Thorntons' personal favorites—birds that, in their words, "either dazzled us with their beauty, or charmed us by their behavior, or, in a few cases, simply challenged us by the mystique of their rarity." This latter category includes such elusive and sought-after birds as the Black-crowned Antpitta, the Zigzag Heron, the Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, the Bare-necked Umbrellabird, and the monkey-eating Harpy Eagle. In the accompanying text, Bob Thornton engagingly describes the challenges as well as the magic of negotiating the neotropical rainforests in search of colorful birds to photograph. For those who would like to follow in the Thorntons' footsteps, there are also helpful tips about photographic gear and techniques, preferred places to see the birds, lodging, and guides. For everyone who enjoys excellent nature photography, Chasing Neotropical Birds is a must-have volume on the coffee table or in the library.