Australia's avifauna is large, diverse and spectacular, reflecting the continent's impressive range of habitats and evolutionary history. With specially commissioned paintings of over 900 species, The Australian Bird Guide is the most comprehensive field guide to Australian birds ever seen.
The Australian Bird Guide features around 4700 colour illustrations, with particular emphasis on providing the fine detail required to identify difficult groups and distinctive plumages. Comprehensive species accounts have been written by a dedicated team of ornithologists to ensure identification details, distribution and status are current and accurate.
The Australian Bird Guide sets a new standard in field guides, providing an indispensable reference for all birders and naturalists looking to explore Australia's magnificent and unique birdlife.
"I was fortunate recently to visit Australia with my family. When a Brisbane-based friend heard we were coming over he advised me to wait before buying a new field guide, as this one was due to be published. This was excellent advice as the new ABG – nine years in the making - is a first-rate field guide, one of the best I’ve seen. [...] Should you buy this book if you’ve already got an Australian field guide? Yes, I’d suggest it would be a shame not to. The only (inevitable) downside is its size; it’s a big beast of a book so if you’re planning to do long hikes then maybe go for a smaller guide (or maybe an app version might follow?) Otherwise, it’s worth the extra sweating! Highly recommended."
– Andy Musgrove, BTO book reviews
Alphabetical quick reference to bird groups
Constructing the guide
Birding in Australia
A guide for birders to the evolution and classification of Australian birds
Key to abbreviations and symbols
Checklist of species
Long awaited, now gestated. Now the best of the 5 main guides in Australia, and includes all the sundry overseas territories with the many vagrants subsumed in the main text. This is not too intrusive and makes for handy comparisons, though I still feel they might have been better placed as a separate appendix, as for most visitors and residents these are not the priority.
Plates are of a very good standard by the team of 3 artists, as always one or two odd ones as with the very peculiarly shaped pale Yellow Robin, but overall excellent. The text is highly informative and picks out the salient characters very well, as you would expect from such experienced field birders. The maps are a very small, it works for monotypic species and these with a couple of subspecies, but becomes very hard to discern with multiple taxa, but the book is already large and heavy. It is odd how many of the Oz guides have weird size formats and this one follows Pizzey & Knight in being too big for the pocket.
Taxonomy follows IOC 5.2, and one oddity was the omission of Hornbill Friarbird, still languishing in Helmeted Friarbird here and annoying for those of us in North Queensland, but this is the first Aussie guide to show newly split species like Naretha Bluebonnet, Western Whistler, Gilbert’s Honeyeater and Copperback Quail-thrush. Subspecies are usually well-illustrated and potential/likely splits as with Grey Whistler, Little Shrike-thrush, the 3 shrike-tits and Striated Grasswren are well covered. One oddity is that overall length is not given, you get wingspan instead, a curious decision and one that will take some mental adjustments; you also get bill length as well.
Highly recommended and now the default guide for Australia.
Peter Menkhorst became hooked on birding and natural history books when, as a seven year old, he used Caley’s What Bird is That? to identify a New Holland Honeyeater in his garden; he is now a zoologist at the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Victoria. He is author, with Frank Knight, of A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia (2010), editor and major contributor to the award-winning Mammals of Victoria (1995) and edited two editions of Pizzey and Knight’s Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (HarperCollins). He was awarded the Australian Natural History Medallion in 1998.
Danny Rogers started birding when he was four years old, and regrets those wasted first four years. Any birding is fun, but he has particular interests in the minutiae of plumage, moults and field identification, and in the ecology and conservation of shorebirds. He is Melbourne-based but completed a PhD on shorebirds in Roebuck Bay, north-western Australia and has birded widely in Australia, South Korea, Malaysia and Iran.
Rohan Clarke is an ecologist and ornithologist at Monash University. A birder since childhood, he has field experience with all but a couple of Australian species. He gets a kick out of birding remote island outposts and leading pelagic excursions to watch seabirds, as both present rich opportunities for new insight and discovery. He has previously authored Finding Australian Birds: A Field Guide to Birding Locations.
Jeff Davies is a lifelong birder who completed a Fine Arts Painting Major at Caulfield Institute of Technology. He has contributed artwork for Freshwater and Estuarine Fishes of Wilson's Promontory (Fisheries & Wildlife Div. 1983), Shorebirds of Australia (1987), Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds and The Penguins (1995). Jeff prefers to work with water-based mediums and commissioned works can be found in private collections in Australia and North America.
Peter Marsack trained as a zoologist but has also worked extensively as a natural history artist and illustrator. He was an artist for the multi-volume Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds, and a prize-winner in the inaugural Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize. His collaboration with Canberra naturalist Ian Fraser on A Bush Capital Year (2011) was awarded a Whitley Certificate for regional natural history.
Kim Franklin, BA (Fine Art) has had an interest in birds throughout his life. He has exhibited in Africa and Europe. His illustrations have featured in ornithological books including Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds, Birds of the Western Palearctic, Parrots, Raptors of the World, Birds of the Indian Subcontinent and Pheasants, Partridges, and Grouse.