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Recommended Books
Helm Identification Guides
World Field Guides
Where to Watch birds - Worldwide
Watching Wildlife - Lonely Planet
Photographic Guides - New Holland

Major World Field Guides:

Central and South America:

Birds of Northern South America: An Identification Guide: v. 2 (Plates and Maps)
Cemencia Rodner et al: Buy from or

  • The most important book to be published about South American birds for years. It features ALL the 2308 bird species of Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and Trinidad & Tobago plus their ranges were they overlap into the Amazon Basin, thus becoming one of the few guides that illustrates many of the birds of Northern Brazil. This volume features all the illustrations (including known sub-species) and maps. (656 pages)

Birds of Northern South America: An Identification Guide: v. 1 (Species accounts)
Cemencia Rodner et al: Buy from or

  • The sister volume to the above fieldguide featuring the species accounts for all the birds. (880 pages)

Birds of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire (Helm Field Guide) [Paperback]
Bart De Boer et al: Buy from or

  • The Netherlands Antilles comprises three main islands off the coast of northern Venezuela. These are Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire. The colour plates are based on the bestselling Birds of Northern South America, but many new images have been painted specially for this book. The authoritative text highlights the key features needed to identify each species in the field, and the plates illustrate every distinct plumage and race. This will be the first ever comprehensive field guide dedicated to the birds of the region.

Field Guide to the Birds of Chile
Alvaro Jaramillo, Peter Burke et al: Buy from or

  • This guide features concise, identification-focused text positioned opposite the colour plates to allow quick and easy reference. Detailed distribution maps are provided for every species, completing the essential field guide to the birds of this spectacular and tourist-friendly country.

Birds of Venezuela
Steven Hilty: Buy from or

  • This book will surely become the definitive guide to Venezuela, with over 1300 species illustrated and expertly described. Accurate range maps are complemented by detailed notes on identification, similar species, voice, behavior, status and habitat. A comprehensive introduction includes a photographic guide to the main habitat types plus sections on migration and National Parks.

The Birds of Ecuador Vol 2: Field Guide
Robert S. Ridgely, Paul J. Greenfield (Illustrator): Buy from or

  • Volume 2: Field Guide contains 96 full-colour plates and facing pages of descriptive text, a colour map of Ecuador, 2 line drawings of bird anatomy, 115 silhouette outlines and nearly 1600 distribution maps. All species are illustrated in full colour, including migrants and vagrants and visually distinctive subspecies. The text focuses on the field indentification aspects of each species,

Illustrated Checklist: Birds of Southern South America and Antarctica
Martin de la Pena: Buy from or

  • This field guide illustrates and describes 1140 species of bird found in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, southern Brazil and Uruguay. The text details what kind of habitat the birds are found in, key identification features and notes on the songs and calls of each species.

Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (Helm Field Guides)
Floyd E. Hayes et al: Buy from or

  • An excellent concise and well illustrated field guide from the Helm Stable featuring all the 470 species likely to be encountered on a visit to Trinidad and Tobago.

Helm Identification Guides: Birds of the West Indies
Herbert Raffaele: Buy from or

  • This identification guide covers all the birds known to occur in the West Indies, a total of 563 species. Species texts cover all aspects of identification and include the full range of local names for the bird. Accompanying each speices text is a distribution map showing the bird's range within the West Indies. Every species is illustrated in the 86 colour plates, and many island "forms" (where relevant) are also depicted. The "locality checklist" included provides an at-a-glance, island-by-island guide to the distribution and status of all species. This is the BEST book available for the West Indies

A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America
Buy from

  • This new field guide covers the 1070 bird species, including North American migrants, known to inhabit Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, and western Nicaragua. More than 180 species are endemic to this region. Richly illustrated with colour plates and additional black-and-white drawings, it describes the birds' appearance, voice, habitat, behaviour (including nests and eggs), and distribution. Introductory chapters give essential background information.

North America:

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America: Buy from or

  • Compact and comprehensive, this new guide features 703 bird species plus regional populations found west of the Rocky Mountains. Accounts include stunningly accurate illustrations—more than 4,600 in total—with descriptive caption text pointing out the most important field marks. Accounts also include brand-new maps created from information contributed by 110 regional experts across the continent.

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America: Buy from or

  • The Sibley Guide to Birds has quickly become the new standard of excellence in bird identification guides, covering more than 810 North American birds in amazing detail. Now comes a new portable guide from David Sibley that every birder will want to carry into the field. Compact and comprehensive, this new guide features 650 bird species plus regional populations found east of the Rocky Mountains.

Field Guide to the Birds of North America
National Geographic: Buy from or

  • In this field guide are undoubtedly some of the best illustrations in any American birdbook that I have ever seen. Seeing as I have already been to America and seen some of their birds, I was relieved to find that when I bought this, the illustrations were an exact, concise representation of the bird. The maps, which show the state borders as well as the distribution of the birds, are logically colour-coded and easy to understand.

The Sibley Guide to Birds (Audubon Society Nature Guides Ser.)
David Allen Sibley: Buy from or

  • David Sibley's new field guide to the birds of North America renders all the existing guides obsolete at one stroke. The book itself is beautifully produced and crafted - the sort of book that gives pleasure just in the handling of it.


Field Guide to the Birds of Ghana (Helm Field Guides) [Paperback]
Nik Borrow, Ron Demey: Buy from or

  • From the authors of the superb and comprehensive Birds of West Africa, this is a compact country specific bird guide to Ghana, one of the safest and most accessible countries in Western Africa and rapidly becoming a top tourist and birdwatching destination. It uses illustrations from the Birds of Western Africa, with new text and maps specific to Ghana. The result is a compact and up-to-date guide to all the birds that Ghana offers.

Birds of The Horn of Africa - Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Socotra (Paperback)
Nigel Redman et al: Buy from or

  • Long awaited, the first ever field guide to North East Africa. Featuring more than 1000 species, well illustrated with concise text and up to date maps on the facing pages. A very welcome addition to African bird literature.

Birds of Senegal and The Gambia (Helm Field Guides)
Nik Borrow et al: or

  • If you are planning a holiday to that part of West Africa then do consider this guide even if you've never been a regular bird-watcher. There are so many beautiful and unusual birds - even in hotel gardens - you'll want to be able to identify them and this guide is perfect. Wonderful, accurate illustrations and bags of interesting detail.

Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa
Terry Stevenson, John Fanshawe: Buy from or

  • This field guide to a spectacular region for birding covers all the resident, migrant and vagrant birds of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, describing a remarkable 1388 species. The plates show 3400 images illustrating all the plumages and major races likely to be encountered. Set opposite the plates are concise descriptive accounts describing identification, status, range, habits and voice, and range maps for each species.

Collins Illustrated Checklist: Birds of Southern Africa
Ber van Perlo: Buy from or

  • This field guide illustrates and describes every species of bird found in the Republic of South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Angola (including Cabinda). Featuring over 1250 species, the text details the kind of habitat the birds are found in, key identification features and notes on the songs and calls of each species. The 84 colour plates appear opposite their relevant text for quick and easy reference. Maps are included for each species

The Birds of Western Africa
Nik Borrow, Ron Demey: Buy from or

  • A major new fieldguide, and a classic from the "Helm" stable that will set the standard for Western Africa for years to come. It covers all the 1282 species expected to be seen in the c.20 nations inside a triangle enclosing The Congo, Chad and Mauritania. For several of the countries it is the only single guide that covers all of the nations birds in one book. Nicely illustrated with over 3000 drawings on 142 colour plates which cover all the species described apart from a few vagrants. Distribution maps are provided for the majority of species. As the first comprehensive guide to the region in over 25 years this is a "must buy" for any serious birder visiting Western Africa.


RSPB Complete Birds of Britain and Europe

Rob Hume: Buy from or

  • The ultimate photographic guide to every species of bird in Britain and Europe. Whether you're an armchair addict, or a long-time twitcher, RSPB Complete Birds of Britain and Europe is an essential reference to the 800 bird species found throughout Britain and Europe. Comes with a 70-minute CD of birdsong and calls so you can listen to many of the birds featured in this beautiful guide.


Collins Bird Guide
Lars Svensson et al: Buy from or

  • Described by some as the best field guide in the world, and 15 years in the making. Has it been Worth the Wait?...Yes definately! If you buy just 1 book a year then make sure that its this one. Stunning drawings by the worlds finest bird illustrators..and it shows..check out the plates on tern, Skuas, and the Ducks...not forgetting the Finches and Crossbills.

RSPB Handbook of Scottish Birds
Peter Holden et al: Buy from or

  • Over 250 species are covered in detail with a page per species. The species accounts include concise information on identification, voice, habits, habitat, food, breeding ecology, seasonal movements, population and conservation. Detailed maps have been specially created to show distribution when breeding, wintering or on migration. Superb colour illustrations from some of the world's leading artists have been integrated into the text for easy reference.

The Complete Guide to the Birdlife of Britain & Europe
Rob Hume, Peter Hayman (Illustrator): Buy from or

  • This is quite simply the best illustrated guide to Europe's birds that I have seen. Every bird is pictured at least five times (and sometimes twenty times) in varying poses within its habitat. Seeing the birds in context, really gives this book the edge.
    The text , written by an expert, is concise, thorough and up to date. Many of the recent splits are included. The likes of Yelkouan Shearwater and Southern Grey Shrike are illustrated superbly for perhaps the first time in any recent guide.
    More than a field guide, the book is coffee table size, and certainly deserves to be in the collection of every serious bird watcher.

Middle East:

Birds of the Middle East
R.F. Porter, S.Aspinall: Buy from or

  • This is a completely revised second edition of the bestselling field guide to the birds of the Middle East. For the first time, the text and maps appear opposite the plates, and as a consequence there are fewer species per plate than before. The text and maps have been fully revised and many new artworks have been painted. There are more than 100 new species in this new edition, which features more than 810 species in total. It will be the essential field guide for anyone visiting the Middle East.

Birds of the United Arab Emirates (Helm Field Guides)
Simon Aspinall & Richard Porter: Buy from or

  • The UAE is an increasingly popular tourist destination, with a good infrastructure for visitors. This new field guide covers all the birds of these Gulf states. The new text written by Simon Aspinall and Richard Porter is specific to the Gulf, and new maps are provided for all breeding birds and regular visitors.


Birds of Central Asia (Helm Field Guides) [Paperback]
Manuel Schweizer et al: Buy from or

  • Birds of Central Asia is the first field guide to include the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, along with neighbouring Afghanistan. This vast area includes a diverse variety of habitats, and the avifauna is similarly broad, from sandgrouse, ground jays and larks on the vast steppe and semi-desert to a broad range of raptors, and from woodland species such as warblers and nuthatches to a suite of montane species, such as snowcocks, accentors and snowfinches.

Birds of Sri Lanka (Helm Field Guides) [Paperback]
Deepal Warakagoda et al: Buy from or

  • With a rich avifauna of more than 350 species that includes 29 endemics, the island of Sri Lanka is one of southern Asia's most popular birding destination. This new field guide provides full coverage of every species on the Sri Lanka list, including most vagrants, with particular emphasis placed on endemic species and races. Detailed text highlights key identification criteria, along with accurate colour maps.

Birds of the Indian subcontinent
Carol Inskipp, Richard Grimmett, Tim Inskipp: Buy from or

  • This highly recommended field guide covers all the bird species found in India, Pakistian, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and the Maldives. The plates face the descriptions and maps for quick at-a-glance reference. Many of the plates have been repainted for this edition and a number of new species added. This guide also provides tables, summarising identification features of particularly difficult groups such as nightjars, warblers and rosefinches.

Birds of Pakistan (Helm Field Guides)
Richard Grimmett & Tim Inskipp: Buy from or

  • The superb plates are accompanied by a succinct text highlighting identification, voice, habitat, altitudinal range, distribution and status. The text is on facing pages to the plates, for easy reference and there are distribution maps for every species. Like previous guides covering Nepal, Bhutan, Northern India and Southern India, this guide is a perfect size for use in the field and will be an essential companion when visiting this region.

Birds of East Asia (Helm Field Guides), Eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Eastern Russia.
Mark Brazil: Buy from or

  • This is the first single volume guide devoted to the eastern Asian avifauna. Birds endemic to this region include representatives of many of the major families, from the world's largest eagle - Steller's Sea Eagle - to the tiny Formosan Firecrest. The guide features the most up-to-date text available, which, in conjunction with extensive colour plates throughout, facilitates the field identification of all of the species known from the region. Colour distribution maps enhance the text by providing a visual analysis of the summer, winter and migratory ranges of all species.

A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Japan and North-east Asia
Tadao Shimba: Buy from or

  • The first English language field guide to the birds of Japan for many years. A great deal of care has gone into the selection of the photos. Up to a page is devoted to each species. The distribution maps are very helpful. This will be a valuable guide for all birding visitors to Japan and North-East Asia for many years to come.

Birds of Southern India:
Grimmett & Inskipp: Buy from or

  • Covering southern India, the superb plates are accompanied by a succinct text highlighting identification, voice, habitat, altitudinal range, distribution and status. The text is on facing pages to the plates, for easy reference. This guide is a perfect size for use in the field and will be an essential companion when visiting this region.

Birds of Northern India
Richard Grimmett & Tim Inskipp: Buy from or

  • From the wet evergreen forests and alpine peaks of the Himalayas, to the Thar Desert and the vast wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural habitats that stretch to New Delhi and beyond, northern India is a diverse and welcoming paradise for birders and ecotourists. This field guide provides a concise, fully illustrated introduction to the region's known species.

East Indies and South East Asia

Book of the month:
The Birds of Thailand
Craig Robson: Buy from

  • At last, the quality of field guides for the Far East has caught up with those of Europe and America. Craig Robson's "Birds of Thailand" is a tour de force...950 mouth watering species, all beautifully illustrated and expertly described, each with its own distribution map. The natural riches of Thailand make it an ever more popular birding destination and this indispensible guide will set the standard there for years to come.

A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Bali
John MacKinnon: Buy from or

  • This book provides a complete identification guide to the birds of this important region, including descriptions and colour illustrations of all 820 species found there, many of which do not occur anywhere else. Information is provided on where to look for endemic and insular forms and on major birding localities. Introductory chapters discuss habitats, climate, land-use, and conservation. This volume is intended for reference and for pleasure, for amateur and professional ornithologists, for birdwatchers and for tourists to Indonesia and region.

A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia
Craig Robson: Buy from or

  • A new flexi-cover edition of this superb and influential book is now available (UK) making it much more useful as a field guide. The birds of South-East Asia details the identification, voice, breeding, status, habitat and distribution of the 1250 species and distinctive sub-species of the region covering Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, West Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. The illustrations are excellent and Craig Robson's text reflects his position as one of the foremost ornithological authorities of S.E.Asia. Indispensable for anyone visiting the area.



Birds of Melanesia: Bismarcks, Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia (Helm Field Guides)
Guy Dutson: Buy from or

  • This new Helm Field Guide covers the species-rich Melanesia region of the south-west Pacific, from New Caledonia and the Solomons through the Bismarcks to Vanuatu. The cover star is the Kagu, the region's most iconic bird species and a highly sought-after endemic of New Caledonia. Superb colour plates illustrate the 650 species that occur in the region, allied with concise identification text and a series of distribution colour bars. For anyone travelling to this far-flung Pacific region, this book is indispensable.

Field Guide to Australian Birds
Michael Morcombe: Buy from

  • A beautifully illustrated and brand new guide to 850 species of birds seen in Australia, Tasmania and Australia's Island Territories. There are lots of innovations, the contoured range maps that also indicate the likelihood of seeing a species are a great idea. Colour coded family groups make finding species in the book very easy. The large illustrated section on nests and eggs is unique in recent guides. The text is authoritative and thorough, I highly recommend this book.

A Complete Guide to Antarctic Wildlife:
Hadoram Shirihai: Buy from or
  • A Complete Guide to the Birds, Mammals and Natural History of the Antarctic Continent and Southern Oceans. The best photographs yet from Antarctica, lavishly illustrated, good maps and robust scientific analyses of the status, taxonomy and conservation of all the species likely to be encountered.

Collins Field Guide: Birds of Australia 
Graham Pizzey, Frank Knight (Illustrator): Buy from  

  • A handbook of Australian birds containing information on 778 species of birds. Identification features are highlighted in the text and illustrations help birdwatchers distinguish similar species. Details of breeding and nesting habits, voice characteristics and habitats are also included.


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