| Flight Identification of European Passerines and Select Landbirds – An Illustrated and Photographic Guide | By Tamasz Cofta | Photographs by Michał Skakuj | WILDGuides | 2021 | Flexibound | 496 Pages | 2400 Colour Photos, 850 Colour Illustrations | ISBN: 9780691177571 | £27.99p |

A ground-breaking guide with numerous features. Aimed at identifying European passerines in flight, this book provides Tomasz Cofta’s illustrations with photos, species descriptions, flight call descriptions and sonograms, and supplementary audio recordings online.

The Publisher’s View: Opening up new frontiers in birdwatching, this is the first field guide for identifying European passerines in flight, featuring more than 830 stunning colour illustrations from acclaimed bird artist Tomasz Cofta, who creates remarkably lifelike images using the latest digital technology. With detailed coverage of 206 passerines and 32 near-passerine landbirds, this cutting-edge book features a seamlessly integrated approach. It combines Cofta’s precise illustrations, which depict key shape and colouration features, with a range of photos for each species that show how they appear in flight. The species accounts are short, sharp, and authoritative, and essential information on individual flight manner and flock structure and behaviour are represented concisely. In addition, flight calls are transliterated, briefly described, shown as sonograms, and backed up with a unique collection of more than a hundred online audio recordings. While Flight Identification of European Passerines and Select Landbirds is written in a style that will appeal to all birders, it also contains new knowledge on flight identification, making it a must-have for professional ornithologists and scientists as well.

– The first field guide to flight identification of European passerines

– Covers 206 passerines and 32 near-passerine landbirds

– Features more than 830 colour illustrations

– Includes a range of photos showing each species in flight

– Provides extensive information on flight calls

Author: Tomasz Cofta is an acclaimed bird illustrator and ornithologist. He has published more than a hundred papers on bird identification featuring close to two thousand of his own illustrations and has published thousands of other bird and nature illustrations in some sixty books, including The World’s Rarest Birds (Princeton WILDGuides).

Other Views: “[…] It is hard to imagine a guide of the quality of Flight Identification of European Passerines and Select Landbirds coming out 20 years ago. When I first received a copy, I was excited by its novel aims but remained somewhat sceptical about whether it could pull them off. The more I pour over this guide, though, the more I am impressed. Hats off to the author and illustrator, Tomasz Cofta, who has produced a quite remarkable – and undoubtedly original – piece of work. […] this is a visual guide like no other. In many ways it is a reflection of how birding has advanced since the turn of the millennium. Improvements in optics and digital photography have been spectacular, and clearly contribute to making the production of such a guide possible. Furthermore, flight identification has never been more relevant, with ‘vis-migging’ and associated recording an increasingly popular pastime among birders across the region. Flight Identification of European Passerines and Select Landbirds is a genuinely stunning production that is arguably the greatest ‘must-have’ for European birders since the Collins Bird Guide.”
– Josh Jones, birdguides.com“I struggle to think of a birder I know or know of who will not wish to buy this book.”
– Phil Slade, Another Bird Blog 

Fatbirder View:

Have you ever lain on your back with your bins aloft looking at kettling buzzards or migrating storks? Have you joined your local observatory watching viz mig and marvelling at how some people can call the LBJs fling over head by the dozen, gone in seconds. 

If you’ve done the former I bet your field guide helped you ID the raptors, illustrating them from beneath and in flight… silhouettes ca be hard work even then.

Maybe, like me you’ve spent many a wet and windy morning staring out at sea trying to separate the skuas or maybe mis-identifying a house martin as a Leach’s petrel!

The more you do it the more your ID should improve of course, but this long-in-the-tooth, lifelong birder can assure you, it doesn’t!

One of the reasons is that not one has ever bothered to produce a guide that actually helps when the birds don’t oblige by settling down three feet from your nose in a pose only seen in field guides!

So what would help…. ta da! This brilliantly conceived and executed book!

Why hasn’t it been done before? Maybe we were just not that ready for it, who knows and who cares, it’s here now and, wouldn’t you just know it, it’s published by WILDGuides. 

I can give it no greater accolade than to say it has joined the ranks of those so very few books that have a permanent place on my desk within hands reach. It won’t always be there as, as soon as hides open again and the deck of our local observatory it will be there with me!

Buy this book from NHBS