Viva Natura Field Guide

The Viva Natura: Field Guide to the Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals of Western Mexico

is the first publication of its kind written about the fauna of this region. The purpose of the field guide is to introduce the reader to the wealth of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals of Western Mexico and help identify them in the field. This guide contains the vast majority of the conspicuous animals of the region.

  • 230 species
  • 440 color photos
  • bilingual – English/ Spanish
  • easy to use
  • companion mobile APP

In this second edition there are 230 species in this guide and a total of 440 full-color photos. The guide is extremely easy to use. The book is completely bilingual (English and Spanish). The book commences with a brief introduction to the study area, its geography, climate and ecosystems. Chapters dedicated to the four groups of fauna (amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) follow. Each chapter begins with an introduction followed by photographic plates that depict conspicuous species of the study area.

All photos were taken by the author himself and with few exceptions, show animals in their natural habitat under completely natural conditions. Each species is described by both its common and scientific names and also by a set of icons that illustrate the species characteristics, such as its habits, diet, preferred habitat, protection status, ect.

Color bands on the outer edge of each species plate indicate one of the three principal habitat types (Ocean, Coast and Islands, Freshwater, Forest and Gardens) where this particular species can be observed most frequently. Silhouette thumbs on the plates edges portray a typical member of each group of fauna, making browsing the guide more efficient. The final chapter of the book is dedicated to the conservation issues inside the study area.

The book is supported by a companion mobile app where additional texts, photos and also sounds and distribution maps can be found.

[blockquote text=”Viva Natura, field guide to the Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals of Western Mexico” show_quote_icon=”yes”]


Note: First edition review (2009)

Very nice, rounded reference to 160 species to Puerto Vallarta, This review is from: Viva Natura: Field Guide to the Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals of Western Mexico (English and Spanish Edition) (Perfect Paperback) Basics: 2007, 248pp, softcover; 325 very good color photos of 85 birds, 17 mammals, 39 reptiles, and 18 amphibians; no text other than the species name; 23 types of icons used to denote the species diet, habits, and activities; chapters on climate, conservation, and habitats This is a great local photo guide that focuses on the Puerto Vallarta area of western Mexico. In all, about 160 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians are shown in 325 very nice color photographs. These photos make up the bulk of the book and offer the visiting naturalist a solid visual resource to the local fauna. Each of the four categories of animals provide a very nice selection of species. The breakdown of each category is the following: Birds: 150 photos of 85 species (of the 300 in the area) Mammals: 35 photos of 17 species (of the 100 in the area) Reptiles: 77 photos of 39 species (of about 120) Amphibians: 40 photos of 18 species (of the 40-50) All of the photos are of top quality and show the animal very well. There are typically two photos per page, meaning each subject takes up a half-page. This produces nice sized photographs. Some of the subjects are even shown in a full page. Many of the species are shown with multiple photographs that help display the variations between races, ages, or genders. One particular attribute about this book that is appealing (to me) is the presence of good photos of bird and reptile species that are not easily found published elsewhere. Examples that caught my attention where the Colima Pygmy-Owl, Elegant Quail (3 photos), and Stripe-headed Sparrow as well as the Many-lined Whiptail. There is very little text to go with the photographs which consists of the English, Spanish, and scientific names, the animal s length in cm, and a large assortment of symbols. These symbols represent 23 different types of diet, habits, and activities for the species. Some examples would be arboreal, lowland, venomous, diurnal, egg diet, fruit diet, migratory, resident, etc. To better understand these symbols, you ll need to review the page that precedes each of the four animal groups. Accompanying the legend for the symbols are 1-2 pages that generally discuss the natural history of the groups. This includes a range of habitat types that are occupied and the number of species in the area. A nice touch is providing a list of specific localities to explore for various species. Anyone who s an outdoor enthusiast and naturalist will like this book for its excellent photos and for the broader scope of the book. Taking a hike through the Puerto Vallarta area will be more enjoyable and informed with this book.  —written by Jack at Avian Review / Avian Books, December 2009

Note: First edition review (2009)

This is an amazing photographic guide of the most common fauna of Western Mexico. It is very useful for tourists visiting Puerto Vallarta, Mexico during vacations. A great part of the species mentioned in this book can be observed just by opening the window of your hotel. That’s because Puerto Vallarta is surrounded by the beautiful Tropical forest. The guide give some interesting information of fauna seeing places in Western Mexico and some facts about the species. This book gives a great visual pleasure.  —written by Fabio Cupul Magana (2007)

Current points of sale:

Viva Natura App for iOS and Android

Viva Natura Field Guide App Mexico

Viva Natura Field Guide App Mexico

The Viva Natura Mobile App – 49 pesos MXN (2.59 USD)

Is the first application of its kind in Mexico. It is designed to allow its users identify animals in the field and learn basic information on their natural history, consult species distribution maps, listen to their voices and even report a sighting of the identified animal to iNaturalist database.

– Category: Education
– Released: 28 March 2014
– Version: 1.0.0
– Size: 167 MB
– Language: English
– Developed by Hilda Camacho (SITI systems) & Petr Myska (Viva Natura)
– Rated 4+

Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

The first edition includes:

  • 240 species of local fauna

  • Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, Mammals

  • Over 450 color photographs

  • There are 1-5 photographs per species

  • Natural history in form of icons

  • Distribution map for each species

  • In selected cases an audio file

  • Chapters on regional ecosystems

  • Intro chapters for each animal group

Viva Natura Field Guide for Kindle

Viva Natura field guide is now available on Kindle

  • complete content as in the printed version
  • bookmark feature
  • search feature
  • handy thumbnail preview – ideal for ID comparison

No more excuses, you can download the Viva Natura field guide right now on Amazon. Available on all of these devices:

Free Kindle Reading Apps:
Kindle for PC
Kindle for Android Phones
Kindle for Android Tablets
Kindle for iPhone
Kindle for iPad
Kindle for iPod Touch
Kindle for Mac

Fire Tablets:
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9”
Kindle Fire HDX
Kindle Fire HD(2nd Generation)
Kindle Fire HD 8.9″
Kindle Fire HD(1st Generation)
Kindle Fire(2nd Generation)
Kindle Fire(1st Generation)

Touch of the Blue Crocodile

Touch of the Blue Crocodile

My most complex project to- date. A 93 minute feature documentary on interrelation of wild crocodiles and local people on Mexican Pacific coast. Filmed in a period of 4 years, put together in a crew of 2, myself and the director Petr Tomaides.


The American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) was almost exterminated in Mexico in the sixties, due to intensive hunting. Today, only one-tenth of its population survives The loss of natural habitat forces the crocodiles to ever closer contact with humans.

ON THE BACKGROUND OF LEGEND about the blue crocodile, our documentary reveals true stories of crocodiles and people. What is everyday life next to such creatures like? What is it like to touch a crocodile? From crocodile god to crocodiles swim- ming in sewers. On one side people’s lives destroyed by a crocodile bite, on the other those, who put their lives in danger to protect them. Unbelievable for most, but every- day reality on the Mexican Pacific coast. The documentary challenges the simplified perception of crocodiles as cold- blooded assassins and offers a surprising, thought-inspiring ending.


Touch of the Blue Crocodile is a movie that crosses the boundaries of a documentary, or at least the boundaries we are used to. These however are not the only limits it exceeds. Although filmed by professionals, it was created without a large budget. Moreover, this is a movie where the principal character is a crocodile and yet it is more about people than animals.

… The documentary, besides showcasing carefully chosen interviews with perhaps all Mexican crocodile specialists, brings above all a great amount of splendid images. Exaggerating only a little, we could talk about visual insatiability, partly influenced by the music video aesthetics, which is after all where director Tomaides comes from… … On the other hand, thanks to this insatiability, this movie is based more on image than on “speaking heads”. … It also brings a number of funny moments in sync with the audio, the camera doesn’t fear to venture underwater and we are even treated to an animation. .. The American crocodile isn’t any small fry and grows to 18 ft. length. Even so, the specialists know how to overcome and trap him. In such moments precisely, the documentary shows its most unique and strongest side. Thanks to the fact that both authors participate in the situation and have become members of the crocodile rescue team, they manage to draw the viewer into the action and transmit the drama of face to face encounter with a wild predator… … In short, it intentionally strives to be different from the usual Discovery Channel format or from what we imagine under the – a tad sterile – words “nature documentary”…

– Ecolist, December 2012 –