Raptors are notoriously hard to identify, even if seen well. Contrary to expectation, it is actually easier to identify raptors in flight, rather than perched, and it is fortunate that most raptors are usually seen in flight! This is the ultimate flight-identification guide to Western Palearctic raptors. It covers 60+ species, and goes to subspecific level wherever needed. The geographical area covered is Europe, North Africa, the Middle East including the Arabian Peninsula, and east to Central Asia.
This is a photographic guide with stunning images, most of which have been reserved for Flight Identification of Raptors of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East and have never been published before. The thorough text covers every plumage and age in breathtaking detail, and each species are illustrated with a range of photographs covering all the principal plumages.
Please note that this book does not replace, but complements Forsman's other book, The Raptors of Europe and the Middle East: A Handbook of Field Identification. The latter dealt with identification of birds both perched and in flight, whereas the new guide focuses on in-flight identification only.
"[...] [This is] Dick’s second contribution to raptor ID. This new book does not replace the first but, rather, is a welcome addition to it. As the title suggests this book deals solely with flying raptors – the way we usually encounter them – and has moved away from images of close perched birds. The geographic area is enlarged, now also covering North Africa, which means more species are included: over 60, with another handful of distinctive races and known hybrids. Several pages per species cover the various important features, such as distribution, behaviour, variation, plumages and confusion risks, but the greater part of the book is left over to the breath-taking photographs and their enlightening captions. Every bit of this book strikes you with the sheer amount of work and knowledge that has gone into it. I really can’t fault it.
The first book helped me increase my (limited!) knowledge of raptor ID and grow in confidence in identifying some species. This new book, highlighting the astonishing similarity between certain taxa, and the incredible variability among species has, if anything, made me less sure again! As Dick says in the introduction, even with this book, raptors will still be tough to identify and it is important to understand that no book can ever replace time spent in the field. This superb book has definitely persuaded me to get back out there, armed with its pages and brilliant images, and get practicing again!"
– Su Gough, BTO book reviews