Over ten years in the making, and known throughout its gestation as 'HBI' - Handbook of Bird Identification, this is THE identification guide of the decade.
All the species which have occurred in the region are described and illustrated (including vagrants and accidentals). Species are covered by family, with each family introduction followed by the relevant text colour plates and species accounts. For 625 species there are detailed colour maps within the species texts.
At over 800 pages, with over 357 colour plates and a superbly accurate text, this is an ID guide without peer.
"The Handbook – HBI as it is already known – must now jostle for bookshelf space with not only the BWP but also the other major treatments of the birds of Europe or the Western Palearctic which have emerged over the last decade. To do so successfully, it must offer something identifiably different and of sufficient quality to meet the demands of an increasingly sophisticated market. The acid test of the success of HBI must therefore lie in its text. This I found to be excellent, with an appropriate balance given to jizz and plumage minutiae. The more complex identification problems are well-handled and are models of crisp precision given the constraints of space. HBI is not, therefore, the source of major new enlightenments (nor presumably was it intended to be), but it does give an admirably solid and authoritative snapshot of our knowledge of bird identification in the late 1990's. Other more specialist sources may have more detail on a particular topic, or one may prefer some other plates by other artists in other works, but no other single guide brings together so much of such a consistently high quality."
- Andy Stoddart, Birding World
"Unrivalled as a single volume guide.It is so thorough that if you can't identify what you have seen from its pages the bird probably doesn't exist. [The authors] write with authority, flair and wit First published in 1998, it remains fresh and relevant."
- Gravesend Reporter (January 2007)