An Essential Indian Wildlife Library

If you are one of those persons who have invested hundreds of thousands of rupees on equipment and not spent any on wildlife literature, this article is especially for you. More so, if you are a complete uncivil zed boor who bothers people on facebook for the identification of what you have shot.


Vivek Menon's Indian Mammals: A  Field Guide is the default publication in this regard. Well-laid out and succinct, this is a book which although you may not carry it to a PA, you might want to keep near as you process and upload images.

For further reading on mammals, the Indian classic is SH Prater's The Book of Indian Animals. This is more descriptive that the field guide. Remember, being a better wildlifer will make you a better wildlife photographer.

The latest literature on mammals, however, stems from that doyen of Indian wildlife; AJT Johnsingh and Nima Manjrekar's 2-volume Mammals of South Asia is the text to acquire.


I have covered field guides to Indian birds in detail here; the book to buy is Krys Kazmierczak's A Field Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent. This is a useful book to carry in to the field.


You're a great photographer and you specialize in photographing leopards on trees :-) But do you know what tree the leopard is sitting on? A guide to trees is essential, especially if one is waiting quietly during a game drive, a good way to pass the time is to study and discuss the vegetation around you with your driver / guide. One of the best-designed books, and definitely, one of the best designed natural history books I have encountered is Pradip Krishen's Jungle Trees of Central India: A Field Guide for Tree Spotters. The only possible downside is being rather large, it may not be the most convenient thing to carry on a game drive.

As you have noted this covers Central India. For the rest of the country we do not have a great choice and are limited to KC Sahni's The Book of Indian Trees

If you know of any other good tree books out there, do give us a shout using the comments box below!

Wild Flowers

The default guide to wild flowers is the very competent guide by Isaac Kehimkar Common Indian Wild Flowers. If you are going up to the Valley of Flowers you will find specialised guides but this works for most places including Kaas.


Once again all marks to Isaac Kehimkar's The Book of Indian Butterflies.

Ants and Spiders

Ants and spiders are my particular interest when it comes to macro. Thankfully we possess great resources with regard to these creatures. For ants it is Ajay Narendra and Sunil Kumar's On the Trail with Ants:  A handbook of the Ants of Peninsular India. For spiders look no further than PA Sebastian and KV Peter's Spiders of India.

On a related note do look at titles from the admirable Universities Press.

Snakes and Frogs

Lastly a reluctant word about snakes. Reluctant because most snake pictures are of restrained and harassed snakes and I am not a fan of photographing restrained wildlife and I am not an advocate of wildlife harassment. But the book to buy is Ashok Captain and Romulus Whitaker's  Snakes of India: The Field Guide.

For frogs look at the excellent Amphibians of Peninsular India  by RJ Ranjit Daniels.

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