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The Helm Guide to Bird Identification: An In-Depth Look at Confusion Species

Field / Identification GuideSPECIAL OFFER
This is an unmissable supplement to regular field guides for the more experienced birdwatcher, focusing on look-a-likes and other confusing species

Series: Helm Identification Guide Series

By: Keith Vinicombe(Author), Alan Harris(Illustrator), Laurel Tucker(Illustrator)

396 pages, plates with colour illustrations

Christopher Helm

Paperback | Mar 2014 | #208922 | ISBN-13: 9781408130353
Availability: In stock
NHBS Special Offer Price: £19.99 £24.99 (Save £5.00) $26/€23 approx (ends 31/12/2018)

About this book

The Helm Guide to Bird Identification covers tough species identification issues by looking at tricky pairs or groups of birds, and comparing and contrasting their respective features. This book is designed as a companion to regular field guides, providing much additional information. As well as detailed texts, the guide includes a large number of drawings that, for each species, show variation in plumage and changes in appearances as birds age.

Based on The Macmillan Field Guide to Bird Identification published in 1993, this is a complete revamp, thoroughly updated and re-worked to include lots of new artwork, extra species, a larger format, and a better design.

"[...] As it states on the cover, this is not a complete ID guide to all British birds, but as it concentrates only on the confusion species there is ample room to treat these in much greater depth and that alone makes this book a must-have companion to any field guide. Used alongside the BTO ID videos this will be a great source of reference to help us tackle those birds we all come across while birding or surveying that we struggle with."
– Paul Stancliffe, BTO book reviews

"[...] Is it worth buying? Yes, definitely. This, as the book says, is "suitable for birders of all levels". While it might not be quite on the level of intricacy of van Duivendijk's Advanced Bird ID Guide (which is primarily aimed at the more experienced end of the market, and also lacks illustrations), it's not intended to be – the great advantage of this publication is that it offers illustrations, which makes it much more accessible. For beginner and intermediate-level birders, there's plenty of information to soak up; plenty to learn about. And for those more seasoned among us, it'll act as an extremely useful identification reference on many of the more pressing quandaries relevant to British (and European) birders in contemporary times."
– Josh Jones,, 04-02-2014

Related titles

See the previous edition

The Macmillan Field Guide to Bird Identification

An important guide which concentrates on the identification problems of 91...

NHBS Price: £14.99 $19/€17 approx


- Whooper and Bewick's Swans
- Grey Geese
- Snow and Ross's Geese
- Canada and Cackling Geese
- Brent Geese
- Mandarin and Wood Ducks
- Eurasian and American Wigeon
- Large dabbling ducks in late summer and autumn: Mallard, Gadwall, Pintail and Shoveler
- Small dabbling ducks: Common, Green-winged and Blue-winged Teals, and Garganey
- Aythya ducks: Greater and Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Ferruginous Duck and hybrids
- Eiders: females, immatures and eclipse males
- Scoters
- Goosander and Red-breasted Merganser
- Divers
- Great and Cory's Shearwaters
- Manx, Balearic and Sooty Shearwaters
- Storm, Leach's and Wilson's Petrels
- Slavonian, Black-necked and Red-necked Grebes
- Bittern and Night Heron
- Purple Heron
- Egrets
- Cormorant and Shag
- Red and Black Kites
- Hen, Montagu's, Pallid and Northern Harriers
- Sparrowhawk and Goshawk
- Common, Rough-legged and Honey Buzzards
- Golden and White-tailed Eagles
- Falcons: Peregrine, Merlin, Hobby and Red-footed Falcon
- Ringed, Little Ringed and Kentish Plovers
- Large plovers: Grey, European Golden, American Golden and Pacific Golden Plovers, and Dotterel
- Little Stint, Temminck's Stints and Sanderling
- The rare stints: Semipalmated, Western and Least Sandpipers, and Red-necked and Long-toed Stints
- Baird's and White-rumped Sandpipers
- Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper and Knot
- Ruff, Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper
- Common, Jack and Great Snipe
- Godwits
- Curlew and Whimbrel
- Common and Spotted Sandpipers
- Green and Wood Sandpipers
- Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank and Marsh Sandpiper
- Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs
- Phalaropes
- Arctic, Pomarine and Long-tailed Skuas
- Kittiwake, Little and Sabine's Gulls
- Mediterranean Gull
- Ring-billed Gull
- Herring, Lesser Black-backed and Great Black-backed Gulls
- Yellow-legged and Caspian Gulls
- Glaucous and Iceland Gulls
- Gull-billed and Sandwich Terns
- Marsh terns - Black, White-winged Black, American Black and Whiskered Terns
- Common, Arctic and Roseate Terns
- Auks
- Pigeons and doves
- Long-eared and Short-eared Owls
- Common, Pallid and Alpine Swifts
- Red-backed, Turkestan, Daurian, Brown, Woodchat and Masked Shrikes
- Great Grey, Lesser Grey and Steppe Grey Shrikes Crows: Carrion Crow, Rook, Raven, Jackdaw and Chough
- Marsh and Willow Tits
- Skylark, Woodlark and Short-toed Lark
- Red-rumped Swallow
- Cetti's Warbler
- Greenish and Arctic Warblers
- Yellow-browed, Hume's and Pallas's Warblers
- Goldcrest and Firecrest
- Radde's and Dusky Warblers
- Wood Warbler, Western and Eastern Bonelli's Warblers
- Willow Warbler and the chiffchaffs
- Aquatic Warbler
- Unstreaked Acrocephalus warblers
- Iduna warblers: Booted, Sykes's and Eastern Olivaceous Warblers
- Hippolais warblers: Melodious and Icterine Warblers
- Locustella warblers: Grasshopper, Savi's and River Warblers
- Sylvia warblers: Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Subalpine, Garden and Barred Warblers
- Rose-coloured Starling
- Ring Ouzel and Blackbird
- Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush
- Common and Thrush Nightingales
- Common and Black Redstarts
- European Stonechat, Eastern Stonechat and Whinchat
- House and Tree Sparrows
- Grey, Yellow, Eastern Yellow and Citrine Wagtails
- Pied and White Wagtails
- Tawny, Richard's and Blyth's Pipits
- Small pipits: Meadow, Tree, Red-throated, Olive-backed and Pechora Pipits
- Rock, Water and Buff-bellied Pipits
- Green finches: Greenfinch, Siskin and Serin
- Linnet, Twite and Common Rosefinch
- Lesser, Mealy and Arctic Redpolls
- Common, Parrot, Scottish and Two-barred Crossbills
- Cirl Bunting and Yellowhammer
- Reed, Little, Rustic and Lapland Buntings

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Keith Vinicombe is one of Britain's top ID experts, writing regularly for Birdwatch magazine on the subject. Alan Harris is one of the world's top bird artists.

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