Bird Watching Books

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Bird Watching Books
Field Guide Reviews from Fatbirder

I’ve been using birding Field Guides for more than half a century and reviewing them here for more than two decades. In my lifetime they have gone from risible to magnificent, depending on where you are in the world. A number of trends have emerged some good, so not so much.

In my view the seminal moment was the publication of Collins Bird Guide in 1999. It set a new benchmark that only the very best guides have matched. Happily a number of other guides followed suit and the ones for North America and for Australia are as good. More recently Richard Crossley began publishing guides based on the idea of showing birds in typical habitat covering different ages, genders, flight modes and etc. Another publishing pinnacle. Lastly, several of these guides have become first class apps that add the benefit of calls to the guides, and allow world birders to carry on their smartphone almost a world library of guides (See Birding Apps Review page).

One other development I am not convinced by is the trend to publish photo-based guides rather than painted images. I’ve yet to see one that is as good as a drawn guide simply because photographic images are not all taken in the same light nor show birds in identical poses so that ID differences are obvious and that is the essential prerequisite for a good guide in the field.

Below are reviews of books that I believe are the very best available.

Field Guide Reviews

Collins Bird Guide

| Collins Bird Guide – The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe | 2nd Edition | By Lars Svensson, Killian Mullarney & Dan Zetterstrom | HarperCollins | 2010 | 392 pages |  4000+ colour illustrations | 700 colour distribution maps | Paperback | ISBN: 9780007268146 | £19.99p |

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Birds of the Canary Islands

| Birds of the Canary Islands | By Eduardo García-del-Rey | illustrated by Chris Orgill & Anthony Disley | Christopher Helm | Paperback | February 2018 | 192 Pages | 73 plates with colour illustrations and photos | ISBN: 9781472941558 | £19.99p |

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The North American Bird Guide

| The Sibley Guide to Birds | By David Allen Sibley | Knopf Publishing Group | Edition 2 | 2016 | Paperback | 598 pages, plates with colour illustrations | colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780307957900 | £44.99p |

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Birds of Central America

| Birds of Central America: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama | By Andrew Vallely & Dale Dyer | Princeton University Press | 2018 | Flexibound | 584 pages, 260 plates with colour illustrations | 1190+ colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780691138022 | £69.99 |

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The Birds of Panama

| The Birds of Panama: A Field Guide | By George R Angehr & Robert Dean | Cornell University Press Softcover | 2011 | Softcover | 455 pages | 908 colour illustrations | 911 maps | ISBN: 9780801476747 | £27.99p |

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Birds of the West Indies

| Birds of the West Indies | Guy M Kirwan, Anthony Levesque, Mark W Oberle & Christopher J Sharpe | Lynx Edicions | 2019 | Flexibound | 400 Pages | 1600+ colour illustrations, 650+ colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9788416728176 | £44.99p |

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A Field Guide to the Birds of Brazil

| A Field Guide to the Birds of Brazil | By Ber van Perlo | Oxford University Press USA | 2009 | Paperback | 465 pages | 187 colour plates | 1791 maps | 5 line illustrations | ISBN: 9780195301557 | £28.99p |

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Birds of Venezuela

| Birds of Venezuela | By David Ascanio & Gustavo A Rodriguez | Illustrated by Robin Restall | Bloomsbury| Paperback | Feb 2017 | 592 Pages | 248 Colour Photos, Maps and Illustrations | ISBN: 9781408105351 | £39.99p |

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The Australian Bird Guide

| The Australian Bird Guide | Written by Peter Menkhors, Danny Rogers & Rohan Clarke | Illustrated by Jeff Davies, Peter Marsack & Kim Franklin | Bloomsbury Publishing | 2018 | Paperback | 566 pages, 250 plates with 4700+ colour illustrations; colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9781472912350 | £24.99p |

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Field Guide to the Birds of the Middle East

| Field Guide to the Birds of the Middle East | By Richard Porter & Simon Aspinall | Illustrated by A Birch, John Gale, Mike Langman & Brian E Small | Helm | Edition 2 | 2010 | Paperback | 384 pages | 176 colour plates | 636 distribution maps | ISBN: 9780713676020 | NHBS Price: £29.99 |

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Birds of Cambodia

| Birds of Cambodia | By Cambodia Bird Guide Association (CBGA) | Lynx Edicions | 2019 | Flexibound | 1300+ colour illustrations, 600+ colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9788416728213 | £39.99p |

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Birds of Japan

| Birds of Japan | By Otani Chikara | Lynx Edicions | 2019 | Flexibound | 392 Pages | 1800+ colour illustrations, 540+ colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9788416728121 | £44.99p |

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A Field Guide to the Birds of Mongolia

| A Field Guide to the Birds of Mongolia | By Dorj Ganbold & Chris Smith | John Beaufoy Books | 2019 | Paperback | 352 Pages | 154 colour plates| ISBN: 9781912081042 | £29.99p |

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Birds of Nepal

| Birds of Nepal | By Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp, Tim Inskipp & Hem Sagar Baral | Christopher Helm | Paperback | September 2016 | Edition: 2 | 2336Pages | Colour Maps and Plates | ISBN: 9781472905710 | £34.99p |

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Birds of Sri Lanka

| Birds of Sri Lanka | By Deepal Warakagoda, Carol Inskipp, Tim Inskipp & Richard Grimmett | | Christopher Helm | 2012 | Softcover | 224 pages | 104 colour plates | colour photos | 350 colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780713688535 | £29.99p |

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A Field Guide to the Birds of Taiwan

| A Field Guide to the Birds of Taiwan | By Mu-Chi Hsiao & Cheng-Lin Li (Translated by Jian-Long Wu) | Wild Bird Society Of Taipei | 2018 | Paperback | 416 Pages | 90 plates with colour illustrations, colour distribution map | ISBN: 9789860550191 | £46.99p |

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Birds of Thailand

| Birds of Thailand | By Uthai Treesucon & Wich’yanan Limparungpattanakij | Lynx Edicions | 2018 | Hardback | 452 Pages | 2200 colour illustrations, 1025+ colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9788416728091 | £49.99p |

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Birds of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands

| Birds of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands | By Frank Hawkins, Roger Safford & Adrian Skerrett illustrated by John Gale & Brian Small | Christopher Helm | Hardback | Dec 2015 | 336 Pages | 124 Colour plates | ISBN: 9781472924094 | £29.99p |

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Birds of Senegal and the Gambia

| Birds of Senegal and the Gambia | By Nik Borrow, Ron Demey & Tony Disley | Christopher Helm | Edition 2 | 2012 | Paperback | 352 pages | 140 colour plates | colour distribution maps | colour maps | ISBN 9781408134696 | £29.99p |

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Birds of Botswana

| Birds of Botswana | By Peter Hancock (Author) & Ingrid Weiersbye (Illustrator) | Princeton University Press | Paperback | Nov 2015 | 398 Pages | 1200+ Colour Illustrations | 597 Colour Distribution Maps | ISBN: 9780691157177 | £24.99p |

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Birds of the Indian Subcontinent

| Birds of the Indian Subcontinent | By Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp & Tim Inskipp | Princeton | Softcover | 2012 | Edition: 2 | 528 Pages | 226 Colour Plates | Colour Distribution Maps | Black & White Illustrations | ISBN 9781408127636 | £34.99p |

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Birds of Ghana

| Birds of Ghana | by Nik Borrow & Ron Demey | Christopher Helm | 2010 | 352 pages, 145 colour plates | ISBN 9781408122792 | £29.99p |

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