Bird Field Guide - which one do you have?

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kathiemt's picture
Bird Field Guide - which one do you have?

So, perhaps it's time I thought about buying one. I do have a very old one, falling apart, that was given to me some time ago. 

I googled for one but there seems to be several Australian bird field guides.  So, which one do you have, or which one would you recommend and why?

These are the ones I've found:

plus there's a number listed at eBay.

pacman's picture

I have found the Field Guides to each have some point of difference (as you would expect)

Your 1st link is to the Morcombe iPhone app - I have it and think that it is good to carry in the field

I also have the Morecombe compact edition and that is the 1 I carry in the car.

Your 2nd link is to Simpson & Day. That 1 was bought for me, I think that I have the 11th edition and have found 2 minor errors - map for Grey Butcherbird and Crested & Lesser Crested Tern sketch names reversed

Your 3rd link is to Pizzey & Knight. I don't have that 1 but at the quoted price I know why

You should also consider the Slater Guide

and the Flegg Guide - real pics in this guide

Have you looked at Andrew Isles books, I get a few books from him -  .  -  

You actually asked for recommendations but I suggest that you go to a bookshop abd look at each and make your own decision unless you want real pics that Flegg is the 1 for you


kathiemt's picture

I thought the Michael Morcombe was a book but when I went and found the link for the book and clicked on it, it led me back to the home page which shows the app.  The book sounds like it's a pocket size book though which would suit me.  I checked around in our books and found an old Simpson & Day one, 2nd edition from the 1980s.  Yes, I saw the Slater one promoted at eBay a fair bit.  Not heard of the Flegg guide. 

Re the recommendations, was really looking to find out which people preferred and why.  I might look at several books but it's not till you're actually using them that you begin to realise what works and what might not. But thanks for your suggestions Peter.

Selby, Victoria

Windhover's picture

I always liked Morcombe for he has useful pointers in his illustrations for novices that identify the key features of species. Sometimes it can be useful. I also have Pizzey and Knight as well as Simpson and Day. All are good in their own way. None cover everything I think.

Owen1's picture

I have all the main field guides and Pizzey & Night is the best IMO. I use field guides for reading up at home, not in the field because I can now ID just about everything I see.

They all have their uses like Akos pointed out though - Pizzey & Knight has good drawings, Morcombe is great for beginners and Simpson & Day uses the species ranges straight out of the Atlas of Australian Birds. 

I like the variation that having more than one field guide gives. It helps to gain a wider understanding of the bird.

Cheers, Owen.

Qyn's picture

Fishpond is a site with a lot better prices for some of those on your list. I have all three mentioned plus quite a few others including Australian Birds (A concise photographic field guide) by Donald and Molly Trounson; Photographic Field Guide to Birds of Australia by Flegg; The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds by Slater and the What Bird Is That? by Neville Cayley. I've used them all but prefer those with photos than drawings - honestly you can't go wrong with any of the main three but I suggest you visit the library and look up a bird shown here which you are not familiar with and see which guide allows you to find that bird the easiest for you. Each guide has a different layout and some work better for different people.

"the earth is not only for humans, but for all animals and living things."

kathiemt's picture

Thanks Alison. Hadn't thought to go to the library. Haven't done that in years. blush  Google's been a friend for such a long time wink

Thanks for the other title suggestions everyone too.

Selby, Victoria

Karen's picture

I have

1 - Graham Pizzey & Frank Knight Field Guide to the Birds of Australia


2 - Simpson & Day Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (6th edition).

I find I use both often as neither seem to have all the info I would like.

Brisbane southside.

andrewf's picture

I have the Simpson & Day 8th edition in the car and then I've got most of those CSIRO Natural History series books as well as some others at home for anything more than IDing birds. 

Any of the 3 you've listed would be fine. It's amazing how quickly they become redundent if you're not travelling much anyway.

GregL's picture

I use the pizzey and knight, I like the way all the pictures are together, then I confirm with google images and biby birdfinder, especially the recordings of calls.

DaveS's picture

For newer birders i wouldn't recommend Morcombe as i don't think the illustrations are anywhere near as accurate as the other guides. Great info in there for sure and the app is great if you don't want to cart a book around. Like Owen, I would always choose Pizzey & Knight due to the illustrations.

Biggest problem with photographic guides is that they rarely depict all the variations or sexes/juvenile etc

pacman's picture

a bit of interweb research says the new 9th edition of Pizzey & Knight is due out in September - $45


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