The Universal ID Chart Website

No matter how experienced we are there are still birds out there that give us problems when it comes to deciding what we`ve seen hunkered down in a bush or on a distant mudflat. If you manage to identify that tricky little brown job where does it go on your list? The following links should help you decide on both.

Whilst we vary in skill none of us are perfect… some recent discussions on a birding chatline revealed just how bad some mistakes can be. Not only have I identified a paper bag as a water rail, but I have identified a golden eagle as a black rubbish sack and a barn owl as a discarded plastic carrier bag. I even called out to my wife in Australia that just off the road were a small party of e-mails… that should have come out as emu!

Beware, entering some of these links can seriously enhance your knowledge!

Useful Reading
  • Advanced Bird ID Guide: The Western Palearctic

    By Nils Van Duivendijk | 308 pages | 10 line drawings | New Holland Publishers | 2010 | ISBN: 9781847736079 Buy this book from
  • Bird Identification - a Reference Guide

    by Kristian Adolfsson and Stefan Cherrug 379 pages, about 100 illustrations Cover (Red-necked Stint) by Hans Larsson, drawings by Peter Elfman ISBN: Buy this book from
  • Birds: ID Insights:

    Identifying the more difficult birds of Britain and north-west EuropeDominic Couzens (Author) & David Nurney (Illustrator) | 272 pages | 1000 colour illustrations | New Holland Publishers | Hardback | August 2013 See Fatbirder Review ISBN: 9781780090580 Buy this book from
  • Feathers - Identification for Bird Conservation

    by Marian Cie?lak and Boles?aw Dul, Natura Publishing House 2006 ?25.62p - Buy direct at: ISBN: 8392441001 Buy this book from
  • Hawks at a Distance: Identification of Migrant Raptors

    By Jerry Liguori | Princeton University Press | Softcover | 2011 | 192 pages, 558 colour photos, b/w illus, tabs ISBN: 9780691135595 Buy this book from
  • Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding: Understanding what you see and hear

    by Kenn Kaufman - 448 pages - Houghton Mifflin 2011See Fatbirder Review ISBN: 9780547248325 Buy this book from
  • RSPB Guide to Birdwatching

    - A Step-by-Step Approach by Mike Unwin 192 pages, colour illustrations | Christopher Helm | Softcover | November 2008 | ISBN: 9780713679434 Buy this book from
  • The Handbook of Bird Identification for Europe and the Western Palearctic

    by Mark Beaman and Steve Madge Princeton Cloth 1998 $115.00 ?80.00784 pp. 6 x 9 357 plates 625 color maps ISBN: 0713639601 Buy this book from
  • The Sibley Guide to Birdlife & Behaviour

    Illustrated by David Sibley - The Knopf Publishing Group 2009 See Fatbirder Review ISBN: 9781400043866 Buy this book from
Forums & Mailing Lists
  • ID-Frontiers

    Mailing List
    Discussion about highly difficult bird identification issues, mostly related to North America. subscription message: subscribe BIRDWG01 Your Name
  • World Waterfowl Forum

    Mailing List
    Welcome to the World Waterfowl Forums
Other Links
  • Airport Wildlife Mitigation

    Bird Strike Committee etc
  • Bird Nature

    ID Guides by colour, sone etc. North America
  • Bird Sleuth

    On line guide to ID from Cornell - North American
  • BirdID

    BirdID Home Page - Birds Quick Start News About us Privacy policy Training Quiz To The Training Quiz About the training quiz Competition groups BirdID's Bird Guide BirdID's Bird Guide Study Join the field study in WP Apply for birdID in WP Getting the most from the BirdID website Exam Exam information Apply for exam My Profile About the new login system feather Map of Europe Welcome to BirdID 'Bird Identification' is a website for anyone who wants to learn more about birds and wants to gain formal evidence of their developing skills. Here you can choose to take an exam on the birds in your own country or for the whole Western Palearctic, and receive a valid certificate at higher education level. You can also choose to join our field study trips in the Western Palearctic or study the birds yourself by using our training quiz.
  • Birds at Home

    Lots of ID tips such as how to use filed guides and how to tell a downy from a hairy woodpecker
  • Birds of North America

    The Birds of North America, supported by The American Ornithologists
  • Bob Lewis's Gull Site

    Gulls are one of the last frontiers of bird identification, and I have been a certified gull freak for 20 years. I have long felt that gulls are the most interesting of all birds. True, Peregrine Falcons, Golden Eagles, and Elegant Trogons have their allures, but nothing combines for me the intellectual and aesthetic qualities of birding better than gulls, especially the large white headed Herring Gull assemblage. Add to that the fact that an amateur like me can get decent photos of them -- without getting seasick -- and you've got an unbeatable combination. Parked at Cape Point in a four wheel drive vehicle with a couple thousand gulls standing around, on a cold cloudy day with the wind howling -- that's as close to paradise as it gets.
  • Caluta

    Photos and sound recordings of many Eurasian species.
  • Dark Atlantic Yellow-legged Gulls

    Identification of difficult gulls
  • Gadwall Birding Page

    Identifying birds is tough. It`s tough for experienced birders and it`s even tougher for new birders. Birds have a variety of different plumages including: winter, summer, juvenile, first spring, male, female, eclipse and combinations thereof. Plus they molt. So don`t feel bad if you can`t identify every bird you see. On the other hand, learning those different plumage patterns, and the other clues that help identify birds, is what makes this hobby fun.
  • Gull Identification Website

    These pages are dedicated to those rakish scavengers from the north (okay, some are from the south): gulls! gulls! gulls! Many breed in remote locales, migrate great distances, and, in winter, form the most coveted phenomenon that birders hope for: mixed species flocks
  • How to write field notes

    When Lewis & Clark were sent off to explore the interior of the United States, they were given specific and detailed instructions by Thomas Jefferson as to the records they were expected to keep. Most of us are not called upon to explore a continent, but occasionally we might come across a detail about the world around us that others may find of interest. The quality of the details written affects how seriously the record is taken. Practicing with field notes every day prepares the amateur naturalist for the unexpected event.
  • ID Frontier

    Presented here is a photographic guide to many of the birds of the South-eastern U.S. The geographic area covered by this guide includes the following states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and the south-eastern part of Texas.
  • Identification of Caspian Gull

    This article describes the identification of Caspian Gull, a bird that occurs regularly at inland rubbish tips and gull roosts, but is perhaps under-recorded due to limited awareness of identification criteria
  • Ocean Wanderers - Angus Wilson

    Welcome! This site is dedicated to spreading information about bird identification, migration, systematics and conservation. There is likely to be heavy emphasis on the seabirds (shearwaters, petrels, albatrosses etc.); gulls and shorebirds (waders) of the world, however a few passerines might squeak in!
  • Ornithology

    Most useful for N Americans
  • Peterson On Line

    These days mostly just a catalogue of the fieldguides
  • Seabird Osteology

    The Seabirds Skull Gallery, existing since 2002, has only been changed a bit and was given a new name that covers the subject more properly. After two years working on this site it is not only skulls anymore that are shown. Regular visitors have already noticed that since December 2004 the scope has widened. It now includes also other parts of the seabird skeleton. In the Seabird Osteology section general aspects of seabird osteology are treated and in the species section you willl find a listing of families and groups with links to pages on skeletons of particular species or groups. There is always work in progress, which means that there will be additions and improvements from time to time
  • Smithsonian Institution

    Ornithological database - Search the Division of Birds Collections
  • Stokes Birds at Home

    So you're enjoying a cup of coffee at your kitchen table when an unknown bird lands at your brand new feeder, and you ask yourself, What kind of bird is that? Or you're an experienced birder, determined to learn the sparrows, out in the field with an unfamiliar bird in focus. Now what? Like any skill, you need to practice to get good. Using the clues below, try to improve your identification skill set!
  • SurfBirds ID Articles

    Advanced articles as well as basics
  • The Birds of North America

    In two centuries of American ornithology, The Birds of North America (BNA) is only the fourth comprehensive reference covering the life histories of North America
  • VIREO - Visual Resources for Ornithology - The Academy of Natural Sciences

    Bird photographs from around the world. Images of all North American birds and half of the world's bird species. Pictures from some of the best bird photographers worldwide
  • What Bird

    My name is Mitchell Waite and I have developed a radical search engine to identify birds of North America that differs from anything on the web. lets you find your bird with just a few clicks
  • What Bird Is This?

    Everyone who loves nature should easily find the species of animal or plant he/she has seen. Have you seen a beautiful bird you do not know? Do you wonder what bird it is? Exactly for that purpose has been built...
  • What’s the secret to identifying birds?

    The Birding eBook Manual provides just that with over 700 pages of in-depth descriptions of every North American bird. The Birding Manual takes you from being the casual backyard birdwatcher to becoming an avid birdwatcher.
  • Wild Waterfowl of the World

    List of websites etc

Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND