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Books on Australasian Birds & Natural History

Including Hawaii and the Pacific

Tim Dolby & Rohan Clarke. Finding Australian Birds. CSIRO (November 2014). Book: US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Kindle: US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Sean Dooley. The Big Twitch: One man, one continent, and a race against time: A true story about birdwatching. Allen & Unwin 2005.Sean Dooley. The Big Twitch: One man, one continent, and a race against time: A true story about birdwatching. Allen & Unwin 2005. Details (pdf). 336 pages. Australian comedian Dooley spent 2002 trying to see 700 species of birds in Australia in a year, reporting regularly on Birding-Aus. US | UK | DE | FR | CA
Michael Morcombe Field Guide to Australian Birds. Steve Parrish PublishingMichael Morcombe. Field Guide to Australian Birds: Complete Compact Edition. Steve Parrish Publishing 2004. Details. ISBN: 1740215591. 4" x 8.5". 384 pages. This is the most compact Australian field guide since Slater (1986). It sets new standards for usability and for use of available space in a compact field guide, cramming an enormous quantity of helpful information into a narrow book only slightly heavier than Slater. Whereas Slater is arranged conventionally, with text on left and bird plates on right, Morcombe merges color bird illustrations with related text, with concise ID notes next to each Peterson pointer. Graduated color range maps show subspecies. Summary pages grouping thumbnails of similar species are useful for navigation and size comparisons. This is the book I would carry in the field in Australia.
Clifford & Dawn Frith. The Bowerbirds. Oxford University Press 2004. 532 pages. 6 color plates by Eustace Barnes plus 2 plates of color photographs. US | UK | DE | FR | CA
H. Douglas Pratt. The Hawaiian Honeycreepers. Oxford University Press 2005. 380 pages. 9 color plates. US | UK | DE | FR | CA
Michael Morcombe. Field Guide to Australian Birds. Steve Parish Publishing.Michael Morcombe. Field Guide to Australian Birds. Steve Parish Publishing. Revised edition, 2004 (2000). 448 pages. Online updates. About 3400 illustrations and 800 maps, with 1000 illustrations of nests and eggs. The revised edition includes at least seven new color plates. Tremendous amount of useful information in a large (6.5" x 9.5") field guide. Improved Simpson & Day format, with species separation lines carried across to the facing plates to align paintings with text. Peterson pointers and detailed notes on the plates, as in Mullarney et al., only much more extensive - almost like a field notebook, taking full advantage of the large paper format. Unfortunately, from an artistic perspective, the paintings would come in last among the current Aus field guides, but they portray most plumages and field marks with reasonable to outstanding accuracy. Probably the best of the guides I have seen for foreign twitchers learning the Aus birds. Birds of territorial islands, i.e., Christmas, Lord Howe, Torres Strait, Heard, etc., are covered in the same fashion in an appendix. UK | FR | CA
Graham Pizzey & Frank Knight. The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Edited by Sarah Pizzey. HarperCollins, 9th edition 2013. 624 pages. [The first two editions refer to a completely different book, Pizzey & Doyle 1980 & 1991 (Pizzey I), which had much more detailed texts but mediocre illustrations by Doyle. The third edition actually was the first edition of Pizzey & Knight (Pizzey II), published in 1997, while the fourth, fifth and sixth editions were reprintings of Pizzey II with corrections.] The seventh edition constituted the first substantial revision to Pizzey II, with 26 revised color plates, nearly 500 revised range maps, and numerous changes to the text. A digital edition is available in Windows, Android, and Apple versions, but it is not cross-platform, and it forces you to accept 2-device only licensing, which is absurd in 2016. I have a Windows desktop computer, a chromebook, an iPad, and an Android smartphone. I should only have to pay once for a digital version that will work on all platforms, like pdf or Kindle ebooks!  US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Ken Simpson & Nicolas Day. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Penguin Books Australia & Princeton University Press. 8th edition 2010. WorldTwitch 2004 Best Bird Book - Australasia (7th edition). 392 pages. 132 color plates including 16 new or revised plates. Revised distribution maps with all subspecies shown. The field guide for those with a large pocket. This book is smaller, lighter and more portable than the large format guides by Morcombe and Pizzey & Knight, but the plates are much better than Slater's. In the 7th edition, the Handbook section at the end was condensed by more than 50 pages, saving additional weight without loss of field utility. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds. New Holland. Revised edition 2003 (1986). 343 pages. 4.5" x 8". The smallest & lightest Australian field guide and consequently the guide most birders carried in the field before the publication of Morcombe's field guide in late 2004. There reportedly are some new plates in the revised edition. UK | DE | FR | CA
Geoff Barrett, Andrew Silcocks, Simon Barry, Ross Cunningham & Rory Poulter (eds.) The New Atlas of Australian Birds. Details. CSIRO 2004. 828 pages. About 4,000 distribution maps showing seasonal changes and breeding ranges. UK | DE | FR | CA
Richard & Sarah Thomas. The Complete Guide to Finding the Birds of Australia. Frogmouth Publications 1996. Apparently still the best bird-finding guide to Australia. US | UK | The Birding Shop, Melbourne
Nigel Wheatley. Where to Watch Birds in Australasia & Oceania. US | UK
Niven McCrie & James Watson. Finding Birds in Darwin, Kakadu and the Top End, Northern Territory, Australia. 160 pages. NT Birding, 2003. Revised edition forthcoming 2006. Details on
Ken Simpson & Zoë Wilson. Birdwatching in Australia and New Zealand. 216 pages. Reed Natural History Australia, 1998. I haven't seen this & don't know how it compares with Thomas & Thomas. US | UK
HANZAB Volume 4

Peter J. Higgins & John M. Peter (eds.) Handbook of Australian, New Zealand & Antarctic Birds. (HANZAB). 7 volumes. Details. Oxford University Press. Essential reference!
Complete Set (7 volumes): UK | DE | FR
Vol 7 (2006): UK | DE | FR
Vol 6 WorldTwitch 2002 Best Bird Book - Australasia (2002): US | UK | DE | FR | CA
Vol 5 (2001): US | UK
Vol 4 (1999): US | UK
Vol 3 (1996): US | UK
Vol 2 (1994): US | UK
Vol 1 (1991): US | UK

Sue Taylor. How Many Birds is That? From the Forty-spotted Pardalote on Bruny Island to the White-tailed Tropicbird on Cape York. 154 pages. Hyland House Publishing 2001. US | UK | DE | FR | CA
Forshaw & Cooper, Australian Parrots, 3d edition.

Joseph Forshaw & William T. Cooper. Australian Parrots. Third edition 2002. 640 pages. UK

Stephen Debus. Birds of Prey of Australia. Text and plates excerpted from HANZAB vol 2. 152 pages. 26 plates. 20 color photos. Oxford University Press 1998. US | UK
Ian Newton, Rodney Kavanagh, Jerry Olsen & Iain Taylor (eds.) Ecology and Conservation of Owls. Proceedings of the Owls 2000 Conference held at the Australian National University, Canberra - the Third International Symposium on Owls. Details. CSIRO 2002. [Second International Symposium 1997 online here.] US | UK | DE | FR | CA
Richard Symanski. Blackhearts: Ecology in Outback Australia. About the author's study of Long-tailed Finches. Further information. Yale University Press. 248 pages. 27 illus. September 2000. US | UK
R.E. Johnstone & G.M. Storr. Handbook of Western Australian Birds. Volume 1: Non-passerines. 448 pages. 45 bird plates. 30 egg plates. Covers Christmas I. Western Australian Museum. 1998. (Vol. 2 forthcoming in 2001.) US | UK
Dave Watts. Field Guide to the Tasmanian Birds. 200 pages. Illustrated with photos. New Holland. New edition, 2003. US | UK
Peter Menkhorst & Frank Knight. A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. 288 pages. Oxford University Press, revised edition 2004. US | UK | DE | FR | CA
Cath Jones & Steve Parish. A Field Guide to Australian Mammals. Details (pdf). 224 pages. Steve Parish Publishing 2006. ISBN: 1740217438.
Ronald Strahan. The Mammals of Australia. Illustrated with color photos. 756 pages. Reed. 3d edition, 1998. UK
Harold G. Cogger. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. 808 pages. 750 color photos. Comprehensive guide to more than 1,000 species. New Holland. 6th edition, 2000. US | UK
James R. Turner. Frogs of Australia: An Introduction to their Classification, Biology and Distribution. 164 pages. Pensoft 2004. US | UK | DE | FR | CA
Dennis King & Brian Green. Illustrated by Frank Knight, Keith Newgrain & Ju Eberhard. Monitors: The biology of Varanid lizards. 134 pages. Krieger. 2d edition, 1999. US | UK
Michael F. Braby. The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia. Steve Parish Publishing.Michael F. Braby. The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia. Details (pdf). 320 pages. All 415 recognized Australian species photographed in color. Steve Parish Publishing 2004. US | UK | DE | FR | CA
Michael F. Braby. Butterflies of Australia: Their Identification, Biology & Distribution. 2 volumes. 1008 pages. More than 70 color plates. The definitive new work on Aus butterflies, replacing Common & Waterhouse. (Virtually useless for identification of butterflies through binoculars.) Further information. CSRIO, 2000. US | UK
Barrie Heather & Hugh A. Robertson. Illustrated by Derek J. Onley. Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. (April 2015). 464 pages. Penguin Books New Zealand. Latest edition of the classic work. Details. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Hugh A. Robertson & Barrie Heather. Hand Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. 168 pages. Oxford University Press 2001. US | UK
Hilary Aikman & Colin Miskelly. Birds of the Chatham Islands. 128 pages. Over 150 color photographs depicting all 68 breeding species plus four migrant waders. The 18 endemics and 3 near-endemics are given detailed coverage. New Zealand Department of Conservation, 2004. Details from Birding-NZ. Order information: nwong[at]
Brian Parkinson. Field Guide to New Zealand Seabirds. 136 pages. New Holland, 2000. UK
Judy Diamond & Alan B. Bond. Kea, Bird of Paradox: The Evolution and Behavior of a New Zealand Parrot. 284 pages. University of California Press, 1999. US | UK
For additional publications on New Zealand birds, see the New Zealand Ornithological Society website.
Carolyn M. King. Handbook of New Zealand Mammals. 612 pages. Oxford University Press, 1998 (1990). [Second edition in preparation.] US | UK
Bruce Beehler, Thane Pratt & Dale Zimmerman. Birds of New Guinea. The first edition is an outstanding field guide with some of the best original voice transcriptions. Princeton University Press. Second edition 2007? US | UK | DE | FR | CA
Don Hadden, Peter Slater & Dana Gardner. Birds and Bird Lore of Bougainville and the North Solomons. 312 pages. 199 color photographs and 25 paintings. 2004. ISBN: 0959025758.
Bruce Beehler. A Naturalist in New Guinea. 251 pages. University of Texas Press, 1991. US | UK
Brian J. Coates & William S. Peckover. Birds of New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago: a photographic guide. 272 pages. More than 650 color photos. 2001. Available from The Birding Shop, Melbourne.
Bruce M. Beehler & Leeanne E. Alonso (eds.) Southern New Ireland, Papua New Guinea: A biodiversity assessment. 104 pages. Conservation International 2002. US | UK
Paul Jepson. Birding Indonesia. 320 pages. Fielding, 1997. US | UK
Chris Doughty, Nicholas Day & Andrew Plant. Birds of the Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. A & C Black, 1999. US | UK
Dick Watling. A Guide to the Birds of Fiji and Western Polynesia, including American Samoa, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu & Futuna. (2001). 272 pages. 16 color plates by Chloë Talbot Kelly. Revised and reformatted edition of Watling's Birds of Fiji, Tonga & Samoa. Order from Dick Watling's website, PacificBirds Fiji.
Guy Dutson. Field Guide to the Birds of Melanesia, the South Pacific, the Bismarks, Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. [Report: Parrots in Melanesia, by Guy Dutson, 1999.] Poyser. Forthcoming 2005. US | UK
H. Douglas Pratt, Phillip L. Bruner & Delwyn G. Berrett. A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii & the Tropical Pacific. 520 pages. Princeton University Press, 1987. [Revised edition in preparation but not expected until at least 2022.] US | UK
H. Douglas Pratt. Birds of the Tropical Pacific: Hawaii, Micronesia & Polynesia. Princeton University Press (Forthcoming 2022?). See the starling plate in the June 2016 Wilson Bulletin facing page 217. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
H. Douglas Pratt. Enjoying Birds and Other Wildlife in Hawaii: A Birdfinding Guide to the 50th State. Online updates. 284 pages. Mutual Pub. Co. (3rd edition 2002). This edition apparently has the same ISBN number as the previous edition. US | UK

Scott, J.M., S. Conant, and C. van Riper III (eds.) Evolution, Ecology, Conservation, and Management of Hawaiian Birds: A Vanishing Avifauna. Studies in Avian Biology No. 22, 2001. Cooper Ornithological Society.

Ernst Mayr & Jared M. Diamond. The Birds of Northern Melanesia: Speciation, Dispersal & Ecology. Article from the Harvard Gazette. 9 color plates by H. Douglas Pratt. 560 pages. Oxford University Press 2001. US | UK
Tim Flannery. Throwim Way Leg: Tree kangaroos, possums, and penis gourds. On the track of unknown mammals in wildest New Guinea. 336 pages. Atlantic Monthly Press & Orion, 1998. US | UK
Tim Flannery. The Future Eaters: An ecological history of the Australian lands and people. 424 pages. Reed Natural History & Grove Press, 1998. US | UK
Andrew L. Mack & Leeanne El Alonso (eds.) A Biological Assessment of the Waponga River Area of Northwestern Irian Jaya, Indonesia. (Rapid Assessment Program Working Papers No. 14). 132 pages. Conservation International. U. of Chicago Press. 2001. US
Andrew L. Mack (ed.) A Biological Assessment of the Lakekamu Basin, Papua New Guinea. (Rapid Assessment Program Working Papers No. 9). 187 pages. Conservation International. U. of Chicago Press. 1998. US | UK
Clifford B. Frith & Bruce Beehler. Colour plates by William Cooper. Birds of Paradise. 644 pages, 15 plates, numerous halftones and line figures. Oxford University Press, 1998. US | UK

Copyright © 1992-2012 John Wall