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Helm Bird Identification Guides

Superb Bird Guides

The Helm series of Field Guides and Identification Guides are a superb set of resources for birders, birdwatchers and ornithologists alike.

I have been birdwatching for more than 30 years and as I have become a more serious ornithologist I have become more and more aware of how good the books in the Helm series are, but there is no point in waiting to become an experienced birdwatcher before getting these books; start with the best.

I have written lenses on How to be a Good Birdwatcher and Where to Watch Birds in Thailand, now it is time for me to share this lens which lists all the bird books in the Helm Identification Guide series that I know of.

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My Favourite Helm Bird Guide - Gulls Of Europe, Asia & North America

Gulls of Europe, Asia and North America (Helm Identification Guides)
Gulls of Europe, Asia and North America (Helm Identification Guides)

This is one of those authoratitive books without peer. Gulls are a really difficult group of birds to deal with and this book details them all with great plates, many pictures of different moult phases and informative text.

If you want to identify gulls, get this book; it's as simple as that.

 

Another Great Helm Publication - Reed & Bush Warblers

Reed and Bush Warblers (Helm Identification Guides)
Reed and Bush Warblers (Helm Identification Guides)

Reed and Bush Warblers are some of the hardest to see and identify birds in the world of birdwatching; this new book allows birdwatchers to study the ecology and minute plumage details that are vital in being able to identify these cryptic birds and is the first book to attempt to do so. A wonderful addition to the Helm series.

 

Pipits & Wagtails Of Europe, Asia & North America

Pipits and Wagtails of Europe, Asia and North America: Identification and Systematics (Helm Identification Guides)
Pipits and Wagtails of Europe, Asia and North America: Identification and Systematics (Helm Identification Guides)

This is another fantastic guide, this time dealing with wagtails and the highly cryptic pipits. Superb illustrations, expansive text and a wealth of photographs allow ornithologists to identify all plumages of these difficult birds. This book was essential for me in identifying the second record of Blyth's Pipit in Thailand.

 

Helm Identification Guides - Bird Family Accounts

The Helm Identification Guides are ornithological masterpieces, focusing on specific bird families and containing an unbelievable amount of information on their subjects. No serious ornithologist should be without at least some of these books.

I personally use "Pipits and Wagtails", "Raptors of the World" and "Shorebirds" regularly and they frequently help me sort out difficult identification problems.

Helm Field Guides

Birdwatching Field Guides are books written to help birders and birdwatchers identify the bird species they see whilst out in the field.

The term "In the field" refers to being outside in any wildlife habitat be it forest, beach, open sea or wetlands.

Field Guides usually contain a large number of high quality plates depicting the birds along with a little text and often accompanied by a distribution map for each species.

The Field Guides published by Helm are particularly good and I own and regularly use a number of them. Whilst I have not looked at all the field guides listed here, I have used enough of them to know that they are of consistently high quality and would be confident in recommending any of them.

Helm Field Guides - Africa

Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania (Helm Identification Guides)
Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania (Helm Identification Guides)

Here is the definitive guide to the birds of Kenya and, indeed, to all of Eastern Africa. For the first time, each of the 1,114 species of the region is described and illustrated. This long-awaited book includes detailed information for every species, including appearance, plumage, vocalization, habits, status, and distribution, as well as detailed treatments of habitats and ranges. The product of more than ten years of development and field testing, Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania renders obsolete all other guides to the area. The Republic of Kenya is home to more bird species than any other African nation, with the exception of Zaire, which has a land area four times greater than that of Kenya. This book serves as both a handbook and a field guide to this fascinating region--one that will meet the needs of professional ornithologists and amateur birders alike. It is the only guide to this region that is truly comprehensive. In 112 color plates and numerous line drawings, every one of Kenya's 1,080 bird species is illustrated. In addition, 34 species from northern Tanzania are illustrated and described. In all, approximately 90 percent of Tanzania's birds are included, as are more than 85 percent of the birds of Uganda and a majority of all species endemic to the entire area. "In East Africa, where Kenya alone boasts nearly 1,100 species, scarcely more than half are figured in the most widely used field guide. Because there has been so much guesswork by traveling birders about the hundreds of unfigured species, a superb team has finally done something about it and filled the gap. There will be no more guesswork.... The present volume should be hailed not only by birders but by conservationists aware of the urgent need for African governments to establish strong strategies to preserve their rich natural heritage."--From the foreword by Roger Tory Peterson

 
Field Guide to the Birds of Western North America (Helm Field Guides)
Field Guide to the Birds of Western North America (Helm Field Guides)

The Sibley Guide to Birds has quickly become the new standard of excellence in bird identification guides, covering more than 810 North American birds in amazing detail. Now comes a new portable guide from David Sibley that every birder will want to carry into the field. Compact and comprehensive, this new guide features 703 bird species plus regional populations found west of the Rocky Mountains. Accounts include stunningly accurate illustrations—more than 4,600 in total—with descriptive caption text pointing out the most important field marks. Each entry contains new text concerning frequency, nesting, behavior, food and feeding, voice description, and key identification features. Accounts also include brand-new maps created from information contributed by 110 regional experts across the continent. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America is an indispensable resource for all birders seeking an authoritative and portable guide to the birds of the West.

 
Birds of Eastern North America (Helm Field Guides)
Birds of Eastern North America (Helm Field Guides)

The Sibley Guide to Birds has quickly become the new standard of excellence in bird identification guides, covering more than 810 North American birds in amazing detail. Now comes a new portable guide from David Sibley that every birder will want to carry into the field. Compact and comprehensive, this new guide features 650 bird species plus regional populations found east of the Rocky Mountains. Accounts include stunningly accurate illustrations—more than 4,200 in total—with descriptive caption text pointing out the most important field marks. Each entry contains new text concerning frequency, nesting, behavior, food and feeding, voice description, and key identification features. Accounts also include brand-new maps created from information contributed by 110 regional experts across the continent. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America is an indispensable resource for all birders seeking an authoritative and portable guide to the birds of the East.

 
Birds of the Mediterranean: A Photographic Guide (Helm Field Guides)
Birds of the Mediterranean: A Photographic Guide (Helm Field Guides)

The Mediterranean is remarkably rich with birds, not only because of the great diversity of habitats in the region but also because it provides the main flyway for most migrant breeding species of northern Europe. This stunning new photoguide encompasses all species of birds, including seabirds, found in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and in the adjacent areas with a Mediterranean climate. Featuring nearly 1,000 beautiful color photographs, many of which were taken for this volume, the book presents illustrations and concise accounts of each species. The pocket-sized photoguide is convenient, up-to-date, and accurate. Through the extensive use of digital software to enhance the photographs, the book enables readers to compare similar species easily and to view far more plumage variations than ever before. Armchair travelers, birders in the field, and holiday visitors alike will find this book both delightful and useful.

 

If you have ever used a Helm Identification Guide please leave a comment about it here. Any comments about the lens are welcome too.

 Last updated on April 20, 2013

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Helm Bird Identification Guides Feedback - Please leave a comment 7 comments

K Linda profile image

K Linda 6 years ago

Nice lens. These look like great birding books. 5*'s.


ElizabethJeanAl profile image

ElizabethJeanAl 6 years ago

Great lens!

5* and lensroll

Lizzy


qlcoach 5 years ago

Great information and excellent lens. I rated it 5 stars. I also voted for you on Squidom. Hope you will do the same and visit my lens about emotional healing. Gary Eby, author and therapist.


anonymous 5 years ago

Very helpful lens.


paperfacets profile image

paperfacets 4 years ago from La Verne, CA Level 3 Commenter

Very nice. I will have to look into these guides.


kohuether lm profile image

kohuether lm 4 years ago

I see a bird around here a lot that I wish I knew what it was - watching it flit around amuses me to no end! Nice collection of guides here. :)


nickupton lm profile image

nickupton lm 18 months ago Hub Author

@kohuether lm: Well, the beauty of watching birds is that you can enjoy them for what they are and you do not really need to know their names. You can make your own bird names up too!

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