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Field Guides & Natural History  Ornithology  Birds of Europe/Western Palaearctic

Britain's Birds An Identification Guide to the Birds of Great Britain and Ireland

Field / Identification Guide New Edition SPECIAL OFFER
By: Rob Hume(Author), Robert Still(Author), Andy Swash(Author), Hugh Harrop(Author), David Tipling(Author)
576 pages, 3200+ colour photos, colour distribution maps
Publisher: WILDGuides
NHBS
Four years after the successful first edition, Britain's Birds returns in a second edition, including 12 new species and more than 400 updated photos.
Britain's Birds
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Average customer review
  • Britain's Birds ISBN: 9780691199795 Edition: 2 Flexibound May 2020 In stock
    £14.99£19.99
    #248886
Price: £14.99
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About this book

A bestselling guide since it was first published, Britain’s Birds has quickly established itself as the go-to photographic identification guide to the birds of Great Britain and Ireland – the most comprehensive, up-to-date, practical and user-friendly book of its kind. Acclaimed by birdwatchers of all kinds, from the beginner to the most experienced, the guide has now been thoroughly revised and updated to make it even better than before. Combining the finest of identification guide content and presentation, this eagerly awaited second edition preserves the best of the first edition while covering twelve newly recorded species and offering a host of improvements that make identification easier.

- Provides comprehensive coverage of all the birds ever recorded in Britain and Ireland
- Describes and illustrates all plumages likely to be encountered
- Features more than 3,200 stunning photographs carefully selected to show the birds as you really see them
- Outlines simple steps to help you identify any bird you see
- Presents simple and accurate comparisons of similar and difficult species

New features include:
- Coverage of 12 new species recorded since the first edition plus revisions to reflect the latest taxonomy
- Coverage of all subspecies
- Improved identification aids, including more than 400 new photos, enhanced photo annotations and many redesigned plates
- Fully revised species accounts, including the latest information on identification features, status, numbers, geographical range and date ranges for all plumages that may be seen during only part of the year

Customer Reviews (1)

  • Outstanding photographic identification handbook
    By Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne 15 May 2020 Written for Flexibound
    It would seem that every 10-15 years, a field guide arrives which is a step-change. Sometimes the new guide replaces an existing benchmark, sometimes it complements. 'Britain’s Birds: An Identification Guide to the Birds of Great Britain and Ireland' first published in 2016 was one of those step changes with something new and significant to become a key reference. If I may offer my conclusion upfront, this book in its extensively revised second edition is a book which every serious birder would want to have for reference. It is subtitled an ‘Identification Guide’, but I think it is better described as a ‘Photographic Identification Handbook’. It is the best example yet of this genre I have seen. Although its scope is Britain and Ireland, birders across Europe and Asia will find many of the book’s photographic identification essays very useful.

    A book such as this, collating what has been published in the identification literature and visualising that knowledge through the use of multiple photographs is an enormous task. It is no surprise that this was undertaken by WILDGuides (now an imprint of Princeton University Press) because two of the authors Andy Swash (a photographer) and Robert Still are a part of the publishing team of WILDGuides. All of the authors and principal photographers have undoubtedly contributed to make the book what it is. But I shall comment on Robert Still who is also a highly skilled digital artist. He has been honing his skills on these books for over two decades. Some of the photographic montages are in their own right, works of digital art, seamlessly blending in multiple images of birds into a natural background. A combination of skilled naturalists and photographers who can write and photograph together with someone like Still who can make complex layouts look easy, has made WILDGuides a force in British natural history publishing.

    To provide a balanced review, I think a comparison with the 'Collins Bird Guide' (by Lars Svensson, Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom) is necessary. The 'Collins Bird Guide' appeared in 1999 after 17 years in preparation by a team of accomplished ornithologists. It was so good and such a significant improvement over anything else which existed, it was hard to imagine how another book in a field guide format could improve on it. Indeed 20 years later in a second edition, it remains an essential reference and a book I frequently see people using in the field. In 2017, Princeton also published a photographic field guide by Frédéric Jiguet and Aurélian Audevard ('Birds of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East'). Although the page count and shape is similar to the 'Collins', it is different in style and is an alternative for those who prefer a less text-heavy, photographic guide.

    So why is 'Britain’s Birds' such an important book? Very simply, no other book serves as such a comprehensive photographic identification handbook to the birds of Britain and Ireland. The second edition is even heftier (576 pages) and with a larger shape and noticeably heavier than both the ‘Collins’ (448 pages) and the ‘Jiguet’ (447 pages). 'Britain’s Birds' does fit into the pockets of my Country Innovation jacket which is designed for birders. However, where weight or portability is a consideration, the ‘Collins, the ‘Jiguet’ or even the excellent 'The Mitchell Beazley Birdwatcher’s Pocket Guide' by Peter Hayman will be higher up in the list of contenders. All three of the other books I have mentioned are outstanding in their own way as field guides. 'Britain’s Birds' has created its own niche as the shape, page count and weight make it clear it is not trying to compete in the portable and lightweight field guide market. It uses the extra page area and the page count to be a nearly all-encompassing identification reference. However, it is more; it is also quite a pleasurable book to thumb through for people at different levels of skill and experience. No doubt the advanced birders will relish the pages on difficult groups such as gulls and waders and be entertained and informed by the identification essays on topics such as the ‘Iceland Gull complex’. But both beginners and advanced birders will find a wealth of information on common and not difficult to identify birds which are rich in information which may have escaped them before. The maps are in the vein of infographics and tell us from where and what sort of numbers of a species migrate to Britain. How many people are mindful of a vast influx of Robins into Britain? The next time you have a close view of a Jackdaw, consider; is that a ‘British/Irish’ or a ‘Nordic’?
    Being an advanced birder is an expensive business. Besides the cost of travel and equipment, there is the cost of a large personal library with family monographs and ID-centric books and multiple subscriptions to journals and magazines which carry papers on ID topics. This book is an inexpensive way to head start with much of the ID-centric information encapsulated in it. The second edition is updated to include all species and subspecies recorded in Britain and Ireland up to the point of publication. Thus, the expanded section on the Pied/White Wagtail sees the inclusion of Masked Wagtail, which coincidentally is the subject of a paper in the journal 'British Birds' in May 2020 when the second edition of 'Britain’s Birds' was released.

    To me, one of the strengths of the book is the details it offers on the everyday birds. With the Starling, for example, it shows not only the change in bill colour from black to yellow between winter and summer but the subtle distinction between an adult female and an adult male in summer. The image composites are a matter of taste. Some may find them busy and may prefer to have more white space as in the ‘Collins’ or as in the ‘Jiguet’. I can’t make up my mind. More white space would have been pleasing on the eye and may make some of the pages less overwhelming. On the other hand the habitat detail which comes out, allows this information to be processed unconsciously.

    Pages such as those on separating the three species of golden plovers, the page on ‘Yellow-legged and Caspian Gull Identification’, the ID sections on pipits and Acrocephalus warblers are a treat and demonstrate the enormous amount of work that would have gone into reading papers in many journals and bringing it together in a way that is easy for the reader to take in the key ID messages. Having written and photographed for photographic field guides, I am in awe at the work that has gone into this book. It’s a special book with the rare quality where bird watchers who are fairly new to birding, as well as those who are very advanced, will find many details that pique their interest and will progress their development as birders. The pricing is fantastic value for money and I suspect those who have the first edition will not begrudge purchasing the improved and updated second edition.
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Biography

Rob Hume is a freelance writer, editor and artist, with more than thirty books on birds to his name. Robert Still is publishing director of WILDGuides and a prolific natural history author. Andy Swash is managing director of WILDGuides and a well-known wildlife photographer and author. Hugh Harrop is an award-winning photographer and the owner of the ecotourism business Shetland Wildlife. David Tipling is one of the world's most widely published wildlife photographers and the author or commissioned photographer of many books. The five are also coauthors of British Birds: A Pocket Guide (Princeton WILDGuides).

Field / Identification Guide New Edition SPECIAL OFFER
By: Rob Hume(Author), Robert Still(Author), Andy Swash(Author), Hugh Harrop(Author), David Tipling(Author)
576 pages, 3200+ colour photos, colour distribution maps
Publisher: WILDGuides
NHBS
Four years after the successful first edition, Britain's Birds returns in a second edition, including 12 new species and more than 400 updated photos.
Media reviews

Reviews of the first edition:

"[...] I conclude that the now so universal medium of photographic record has finally delivered its long nascent message. The excellent work of Hume, Still et al. has shouldered its way in between ‘Peterson’ and ‘Svensson’ on my nearest bookshelf. I recommend it very highly."
– D.I.M. Wallace, Ibis 159(1), December 2016

"[...] this is a significant new field guide, and birders are unlikely to be disappointed; everyone will learn something from this book."
– Andy Musgrove, BTO book reviews

"This guide is head and shoulders above any other photo guide I have seen [...] This is without doubt the best photo guide now on the market [...] The ambitious scope of this guide and the high quality of its execution should ensure a wide audience."
– Andy Stoddart, Rare Bird Alert

"Sets a new benchmark in photographic field guides that will be hard to beat [...] I recommend it to readers of Another Bird Blog as a book they must buy. My already well-thumbed copy is now in a safe but handy place for quick reference."
– Phil Slade, Another Bird Blog

"Packed to the brim with undoubtedly the most superb images you will see [...] This is probably the most complete and comprehensive British Bird Guide I have seen for a number of years. It will no doubt be of interest to birders, regardless of experience or expertise and the authors have certainly set the standard for all future photographic guides."
– Paul Freestone, Cornwall Birding

"A work that should be on every birdwatcher's bookshelf or kept in a rucksack or pocket [...] It will become an indispensable aid [...] Open the book at any page and you are instantly blown away by the quality of the photographs for each species in virtually every plumage stage, be they seasonal, sexual or through ageing [...] Test it out. Your birding will never be the same."
– Stuart Winter, Sunday Express

"A complete identification guide masterpiece [...] The quality of the images and the awesome presentation just took my breath away."
Shropshire Birder

"This is simply the Best book covering Britain's birds for a very long time. It's not just for novices either, this will appeal to birders of all abilities and even has something for the twitcher in all of us [...] A Magnum Opus for Britain's Birds."
– Mike King, Gloster Birder

"No British birder should be without it and sensible birders across the Channel, including those in Spain, will want a copy too."
– Birding Cadiz Province

"Britain's Birds is another of the superb series of WILDGuides. The book is the best identification book I have seen."
– Ray Collier, Highland News

"It's not often a field guide comes along that can accurately be described as a game-changer, but this might just be one [...] Unrivalled coverage of British birds. It's an absolute must."
– Matt Merritt, Birdwatching Magazine

"Why would you need another bird identification guide or field guide? Because this one is very good!"
– Mark Avery, Sunday Book Review

"Princeton University Press's natural-history books deliver the 'wow' factor time and time again, and this ID guide to every bird species seen in the UK including some non-natives is no exception [...] The result is a must-read for bird enthusiasts."
– John Miles, BBC Wildlife

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