BOOKS: Priest's eggs of Southern African birds2012-09-17 (267)
1. Priest CD. 1948. Eggs of birds breeding in southern Africa. University Press, Glasgow
The earliest text on the eggs of southern African birds was published as early as 1948, a few years after the first edition of Roberts was published. The author Cecil Priest also wrote about the birds of Southern Rhodesia. His book on eggs includes brief notes on 670 species. The notes describe the nest, clutch size, egg colours, mean egg size, incubation period and breeding season. Not all eggs are illustrated, but 20 colour plates depict over 430 eggs.
Figure (right): lower half of plate 19 from Priest, showing some weaver eggs as listed below:
Weavers not listed in Priest's book are Yellow (Eastern Golden) Weaver, Southern Brown-throated Weaver, Chestnut Weaver, Olive-headed Weaver, and Red-headed Quelea.
Jack Winterbottom revised the book two decades later. He rewrote the texts and included all southern African species known at the time, but Priest's plates were used without additional plates being added. The text gives the egg colours, clutch size, egg sizes (range and mean), nest and nest site, more detailed notes on breeding season, and incubation period. He used a new numbering system. The weavers omitted by Priest were all included by Winterbottom, as well as the Bar-winged Weaver which was thought (incorrectly) to occur in southern African at the time.
Figure (left): dust jacket of Winterbottom's revision of Priest's book.
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