The best books about elephants and birds

James Currie Author Of When Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife Adventurer
By James Currie

The Books I Picked & Why

The Last Elephants

By Don Pinnock, Colin Bell

Book cover of The Last Elephants

Why this book?

This is one of the most comprehensive books on African elephants I have ever read. It covers a huge variety of topics and is a compilation of stories and studies from a collection of authors, conservationists, and scientists. I particularly like the mixture of personal stories and scientific information. An absolute “must-read” for anyone with a deep interest in elephants and a desire to get involved in their conservation.


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Sasol Birds - The Inside Story

By Rael Loon, Hélène Loon

Book cover of Sasol Birds - The Inside Story

Why this book?

Sasol Birds – The Inside Story is a fantastic book for learning more about the life-histories of southern African bird species. As a life-long safari guide, I am particularly drawn to books that can enhance my ability to interpret nature for my guests. This is simply the best book for intriguing and fascinating stories about birds of southern Africa. I would highly recommend this book for anyone with a keen interest in African birds and also for budding safari guides and naturalists who want to develop their guiding skills to incorporate birds. 


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The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

By Lawrence Anthony, Graham Spence

Book cover of The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

Why this book?

The late Lawrence Anthony was not afraid to anthropomorphize about elephants and, if there is one creature on our planet where this could be justified, I think that this is deserving of elephants. This book is about a cross-species relationship between one man, his family, and a herd of elephants. It is witty, funny, and gives a fascinating insight into the fact that although elephants couldn’t look more different to us, it’s quite remarkable how similar they are to us. I would recommend this book to anyone with a love of Africa, its wildlife – particularly elephants – and anyone with a thirst for adventure.


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Life List: A Woman's Quest for the World's Most Amazing Birds

By Olivia Gentile

Book cover of Life List: A Woman's Quest for the World's Most Amazing Birds

Why this book?

This is the true story of Phoebe Snetsinger and her bizarre and often dangerous quest to see more birds on the planet than any other human. Her quest to hold the world record for most bird species seen is a great story in itself but it is the way the author delves into Snetsinger’s character and her relationships with her family and others that are equally as fascinating. I love learning about what drives people to have absolute obsessions in life that they place above all else – relationships, health, safety, etc. I have been to many of the locations in the book and seen many of the bird species mentioned as well. The author captures all of this in a fast-paced book that will be loved by birders everywhere and anyone who wants a compelling read about obsession!


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Big Twitch: One Man, One Continent, a Race Against Time - A True Story about Birdwatching

By Sean Dooley

Book cover of Big Twitch: One Man, One Continent, a Race Against Time - A True Story about Birdwatching

Why this book?

I love stories about obsessive birding characters, and this is, without doubt, the funniest!! The author details his quest to try and break the annual Australian birding record by seeing more than 700 birds in a year. He drops everything to try and complete this task and runs into incredibly humorous and sometimes unbelievable situations. I love the way the author uses his self-deprecating humor to drive this fascinating story. An excellent read for anyone with a keen interest in birds and a keen sense of humor!


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