What is a bird atlas?

This is #20 in a series of frequently asked questions about birding.

What is a Bird Atlas?

  • A bird atlas is usually in book form and consists of many maps of a given region, state or country, usually one map for every species found in the particular area covered by the atlas.
  • Each map has parts shaded in showing the distribution of that species in that region.
  • Many field guides have simplified maps showing the distribution of each species.
  • A bird atlas may also show other factors, things like areas where each bird is found breeding, how distribution has changed historically, population densities, vegetation distribution, rainfall and topography. All these factors can influence the presence of birds in particular zones.
  • In Australia there have been several atlases of bird distribution published.
  • I have personally contributed over a thousand reports in total to four of them, two in the Adelaide region of South Australia, and two nation-wide atlases of bird distribution.
  • I found this to be a very satisfying pursuit and my contribution towards conserving our wonderful birds.
  • The latest one, the New Atlas of Australian Birds is ongoing in its data collection.
  • More information, including how to be a contributor, can be found at the Birds Australia website. You can even submit your records electronically via the internet.

Relevant links:


2 Responses to “What is a bird atlas?”

  1. Snail says:

    Funny you should mention the Birds Australia Atlas because I bought a copy just the other day. I’m a bit of a sucker for atlases and field guides.

    As you say, it’s impressive how much information can be packed into such a simple format. Distribution, seasonal changes in range, historical changes …

  2. Trevor says:

    If you look on page 706 you will see my name as one of the MANY contributors. Send your copy over and I’ll sign it for you!

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