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Field Guides & Natural History  Ornithology  Biology, Ecology & Behaviour

Bird Pellets A Complete Photographic Guide

Field / Identification Guide New
By: Ed Drewitt(Author)
250 pages, 500+ colour photos
The first comprehensive guide to bird pellets including owls, hawks, falcons, corvids, waders, and garden birds.
Bird Pellets
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  • Bird Pellets ISBN: 9781784274719 Paperback Jun 2024 In stock
    £26.99 £27.99
Price: £26.99
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About this book

This book is the first comprehensive guide to bird pellets, the undigested remains of food that form together into a ball or sausage-like shape and are regurgitated. It showcases the range of pellets that different bird species produce, including owls, hawks, falcons, corvids such as ravens and magpies, as well as waders – and even garden birds! The common items found in them, such as small mammal skulls and bones, are analysed in detail, with the discussion accompanied by numerous colour illustrations.

The book progresses methodically from an introduction to pellets, covering what they are and how they are formed, to instructions on dissection and analysis and how this can be used in research, followed by a closer look at the pellets of each bird species in turn – from the golden eagle to the dipper. We learn how to identify the remains of small mammals including bats, as well as reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates and of course other birds.

Dissecting bird pellets and identifying what is inside can be an important tool for discovering what birds are feeding on as part of more detailed diet studies. It is also an activity often delivered at family-friendly events or in schools by wildlife organisations. Extracting information from pellets also has sound scientific value: while it does not capture everything a bird has been eating, it still goes a long way in revealing the diet of birds and how this may change over time, in different habitats and different parts of the world.


1. Introduction
2. What is a pellet?
3. Dissecting your own pellets – where to begin
4. Owl pellets
5. Falcon, hawk, kite, harrier and eagle pellets
6. Corvid (crow family) pellets
7. Gull, tern and skua pellets
8. Other seabird and waterbird pellets
9. Garden bird pellets
10. Other species’ pellets
11. Identifying small mammal bones
12. Identifying other small animal parts
13. What else might you find in a pellet?
14. A final reflection

Latin names of species

Customer Reviews


Ed Drewitt is a professional naturalist, wildlife detective, and broadcaster for the BBC. He has been studying urban Peregrines for over 15 years, and specialises in colour ringing their chicks, and identifying what they have been eating.

Field / Identification Guide New
By: Ed Drewitt(Author)
250 pages, 500+ colour photos
The first comprehensive guide to bird pellets including owls, hawks, falcons, corvids, waders, and garden birds.
Media reviews

"Yet another masterpiece by Ed Drewitt. This is the book I wish I'd had as a 10-year-old with a bath full of barn owl pellets!"
– Iolo Williams, TV presenter, author and naturalist

"Ed Drewitt's lavishly illustrated book will be invaluable both for identifying pellets produced by different bird species, and for identifying the prey items in the pellets. The "clincher" tips are especially useful for identifying small mammal skulls quickly."
– Gareth Jones, Professor of Biological Sciences, Bristol University

"Ed Drewitt has produced a must-have guide for birders and naturalists who have always wanted to investigate these curious objects."
– Stephen Moss, author and naturalist

"This beautifully-produced book by Ed Drewitt represents a wealth of expertise built up by Ed over decades of studying birds and bird diet. As a field guide it will be invaluable to naturalists and field workers, and a very useful addition to any ornithologist's bookshelf."
– Dr Rob Thomas, Cardiff University

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