What Bird Field Guide should I buy?

Frequently Asked Questions about Birding #9

What field guide should I buy?

Again, this is really up to personal preferences. Most countries of the world have at least one really good field guide for the birds of that country. In Australia we have a range of about 5 or 6 really lovely field guides to choose from. Often it comes down to what your budget can afford.

Most Australian field guides are in the range from $20-40. A word of warning: in recent times there have been a few ‘field guides’ that consist of only photographs. These are often beautiful productions and worthy of any birder’s library. They are, however, of limited use when identifying birds in the field.

A photograph shows a single bird, sometimes in light conditions that are not ideal. A good field guide consists of paintings of a typical member of the species showing all the subtle colour and plumage features that make for a positive ID. Good field guides also give a written description of the bird, and include a distribution map and plenty of additional information.

Willie Wagtail

Willie Wagtail


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