On Saturday 21 March David Chamberlain was awarded the prestigious Austin Roberts Memorial Medal at the BirdLife South Africa AGM 2015, in acknowledgement of his contributions to avitourism and conservation in South Africa.

This award is named after Austin Roberts (1883-1948), a household name thanks to the range of bird-books that carry his name. Austin Roberts was one of the co-founders and mainstays of BirdLife South Africa’s predecessor, the Southern African Ornithological Society.

The Austin Roberts Memorial Award has been established to honour people who have made a significant contribution to bird conservation in South Africa, and who have achieved enduring results in enhancing the conservation status of individual bird species, bird communities, key bird habitats or important bird sites, and/or who have brought about positive changes in local attitudes or national policies that have been for the benefit of bird conservation.

We are proud that Mr Chamberlain has been recognized for his ongoing efforts to conserve birds and their habitats in South Africa.

Photo left: Mark Anderson (CEO: BirdLife South Africa), David Chamberlain, Pete Roberts and Phoebe Barnard (President: BirdLife South Africa)


As part of our on-going contribution to wildlife conservation, Chamberlains is proud to sponsor a definitive set of widely acclaimed bird guides. Beautifully illustrated with original paintings by some of the world’s best bird artists, and written by acknowledged experts in their fields, these books enable thousands of people, in Africa and beyond, to experience birding in all its splendour.The following books are available at all leading bookstores in South Africa, and at Chamberlain’s stores.

The Chamberlain Guide to Birding Gauteng

The greater Gauteng region – Pretoria and Johannesburg – is home to over 5,000 birders. Often overlooked by birders who travel further afield, the Gauteng region boasts over 450 bird species. Many specials, including 80 endemics/near-endemics, are more easily seen here than anywhere else on Earth!

  • 101 birding sites with in-depth detail on access, accommodation, habitats and specials
  • Full-colour site maps and information icons indicating facilities, directions and safety
  • Illustrated features on identification challenges and finding sought-after species
  • Supplementary information on other wildlife, geology and botany
  • A selection of top weekend trips, including new sites not covered elsewhere
  • Recommended birding itineraries for local and visiting birders
  • Bi-monthly birding calendar with suggested, year-round birding activities
  • Annotated checklist (English/Afrikaans) featuring old and new bird names


Etienne Marais owns and operates Indicator Birding, established in 1998, an eco-tourism company specialising in finding the more elusive specials throughout southern Africa. He is also the founder of The Raiders of the Lost Lark, the first birding team to record 300 species in one day – all within the Gauteng region! Etienne has nearly 40 years’ birding experience and is a past chairman of BirdLife northern Gauteng. He lives in Centurion with his wife Alice and children, Kayla and Ruben. They share their garden with a pair of Little Sparrowhawks. Faansie Peacock has been passionate about natural history and ornithology since childhood and has been birding for over 20 years. His fascination with LBJs culminated in the 2006 publication of Pipits of southern Africa, a reflection of Faansie’s meticulous observation skills, artistic talent and obsessive note-taking. He holds an honours degree in Ecology. Faansie and his wife Ronel live in Elardus Park, Pretoria.


“If I had this book in my early years, the lifers would have come rolling in!” – Ian Sinclair

Chamberlains Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands

Following in the format of Sasol Birds of Southern Africa, this guide presents all the birds of Madagascar and the other Indian Ocean islands (Seychelles, Reunion, Mauritius and Mascarenes), a great many species of which are endemic to these islands.

  • Concise descriptions of each species, highlighting diagnostic features for ease of identification
  • Differences between sexes and plumages, and the status of the bird, its habitat and call
  • Distribution maps accompany each entry
  • Birds are illustrated in full colour and depicted in all plumages relevant to identification (male, female and immature)
  • In-flight illustrations present the birds from above and below


Ian Sinclair is renowned in African birding circles for his field knowledge and expertise in identifying the region’s many bird species. His vast experience has been gained in expeditions to every corner of Africa, as well as to the Himalayas, Antarctica and Marion Island. He has authored or co-authored several successful bird books, including the hugely successful Field Guide to Birds of SA and the equally successful Sasol Birds of Southern Africa. Olivier Langrand spent 14 years in Madagascar, working in nature conservation. He is now based in Washington DC, working for Conservation International as Senior Vice President: Africa and Madagascar Program.


“Going to a new area as a naturalist is always exciting, but there is also the problem that the majority of species will be unfamiliar and a good field guide is therefore essential. My personal preference is for paintings rather than photos, as I find artists can bring out identification details in their plates to a greater extent than is usually achievable in a photo. In this guide the plates are paintings, simply and beautifully done. Maps and texts are on the facing page opposite the plates, the ideal arrangement. I was pleased with the illustrations of species I am already familiar with and excited by the pictures of species that are new to me. The book is small enough and light enough, to find a space in the luggage of anyone visiting these islands.” – David Sewell, UK

Chamberlains Birds of Africa South of the Sahara

Birds of Africa South of the Sahara provides unrivalled coverage of African birds in a single volume. It’s the first book to describe and illustrate all of the birds found in Africa South of the Sahara Desert (the Afrotropic Region), including Socotra, Pemba and islands in the Gulf of Guinea.

  • Some 2,105 species are covered, with an additional 70 vagrants briefly described, and more than 2,000 images assembled on 359 plates
  • Illustrations portray distinctive plumages, as well as diagnostic flight patterns and major geographic variants
  • Species descriptions give precise identification features, highlighting differences between similar species, as well as briefly reporting habitat, status and calls
  • Distribution maps for each species are based on the latest atlas surveys
  • The most up-to-date taxonomy is used, with many new species described and illustrated for the first time


Ian Sinclair is recognised as one of Africa’s foremost Field Birders and has travelled extensively across the African continent. He is a recipient of prestigious Gill Memorial medal for his contribution to ornithology in Africa and beyond. The most published Author on Birds of Africa and it’s adjacent islands, he has written over 20 bird books, best known of which is the Sasol Birds of Southern Africa.


“Planning a cross-continental trip? Make sure you have this in your cubbyhole. And if you are not, get one anyway. It is a great addition to any birder’s library.”
– Terry Shapiro, Business Day “Na dese kan reisigers byna die hele Afrika met een veldgids aandurf. Boonop kan die tuisblyers nou ook ‘n maklike oorsig kry oor die vasteland se ryke voëlverskeidenheid.” – Neels Jackson, Beeld

Chamberlains LBJ’s

The definitive guide to Southern Africa’s Little Brown Jobs. Almost a quarter of Southern Africa’s bird species and half of its endemics are known by birders as LBJ’s or Little Brown Jobs. This eagerly anticipated book will not only help you confidently identify LBJ’s, but also understand and enjoy these remarkable birds.

  • Includes more than 230 species of LBJ’s
  • Over 1200 superb original paintings by the author
  • Innovative design to facilitate identification
  • Thumbnail illustrations of the bird in its typical habitat and as it really looks in the field
  • Juveniles are shown of almost all the species
  • Depictions of important subspecies


Faansie Peacock has been passionate about natural history and ornithology since childhood and has been birding for over 20 years. His fascination with LBJs culminated in the 2006 publication of Pipits of southern Africa, a reflection of Faansie’s meticulous observation skills, artistic talent and obsessive note-taking. He holds an honours degree in Ecology. Faansie and his wife Ronel live in Elardus Park, Pretoria