101 Curious Tales of East African Birds

A Brief Introduction to Tropical Ornithology

  • Bite-size stories about fascinating birds featuring cutting-edge research
  • Packed with stunning photographs of East African birds, both iconic and little known
  • An accessible introduction to important topics in modern ornithology
    We currently have 975 in stock.

    • A colourful collage of fascinating facts, intriguing stories, accessible science and beautiful photographs...
      —Juliet Vickery, CEO of the British Trust for Ornithology
    • bird behaviour
    • birds
    • birdwatching
    • East Africa
    • ornithology


    Is there any bird as dishonest as the Fork-tailed Drongo? Did you know that the Tawny Eagle is an 'obligate Cainist'? And what of the irresistible-to-predators and highly cryptic Spotted Thick-knee?

    East Africa’s birds are extraordinary in their evolution, diversity and behaviour, often proving to be the unexpected highlight of a safari. Lavishly illustrated with beautiful photographs of each species, this book tells the fascinating, surprising, amusing stories of 101 regularly encountered birds – whether iconic or unjustly overlooked. In the process, the reader is introduced to ornithology in East Africa through the eyes of a passionate birder and professional ornithologist.

    Filling a niche between field guide and textbook, 101 Curious Tales of East African Birds offers a wealth of information, including insights on the evolution of birds, the distributions and migrations of species, bird adaptations and senses, their lifecycle, ecology and conservation, as well as cultural and historical associates – each collated and referenced with the latest scientific papers. The author's deep understanding of this region's avifauna ensures that there is be new and engaging material for all, whether you have a general interest in wildlife or are a dedicated birder.

    DOI: 10.53061/EHMT6812


    • Birding in Africa is exciting, and Colin Beale’s book brought memories flooding back – and an almost overwhelming desire to go back! Woven into a framework of vignettes for 101 East African birds, each accompanied by the author’s own stunning photographs, are a series of short scientific essays each one a masterclass of how to explain advances in modern biology, ecology, and ornithology. I loved it.
      —Professor Sir John Lawton FRS
    • A colourful collage of fascinating facts, intriguing stories, accessible science and beautiful photographs that celebrates the brilliance of these birds and made me fall in love with them all over again. From Babblers to Bee-eaters and Wydahs to Weavers this book is written with affection and insight and will be enjoyed by anyone with a passing interest or strong connection to the birds of East Africa.
      —Juliet Vickery, CEO of the British Trust for Ornithology
    • There's 101 great reasons to read this book. But, in my view, the best reason is that you will be left wanting to learn about another 101 birds!
      —David Lindo (The Urban Birder)
    • ...finely honed essays about the interesting biology of species that you might well see if you were birding in East Africa... what an excellent book this is.
      —Mark Avery, author and environmental campaigner
    • There is a good mix of birds featured for you to find out a wealth of curious facts about, along with two colour photos of each species. Very enjoyable.
      —John Miles, birdwatching.co.uk
    • Fascinating... The text is written in such a way that sometimes-complicated science is presented in a clear, concise and consumable way, while the inclusion of the beautiful photographs and sheer variety of topics covered means this title will appeal to many.
      —Stephen Menzie, British Birds
    • This book is informative, relevant and interesting, and the text is engaging on subjects that some readers may not already be familiar with.
      —Keith Betton, IBIS

    About the Author

    Past Chair of the Pan-African Ornithology Congress’s Scientific Committee, Dr Colin Beale is a Reader in Ecology at the University of York, where he studies spatial ecology, ornithology and conservation biology, often in East Africa. With 25 years of experience living and working in East Africa, he is happiest with a cold beer in one hand, binoculars in the other and a good birding view.

    Bibliographic Information

    • 224 pages
    • 200 colour photographs
    • BISAC SCI070040, NAT043000,