Identification Guides – Birds


Britain’s Birds:  An Identification Guide to the Birds of Britain and Ireland by Rob Hume, Robert Still, Andy Swash, Hugh Harrop and David Tipling (Princeton WILD Guides, Second Edition, 2020) 

Collins Bird Guide by Lars Svensson and Killian Mullarney (Collins; 2nd  edition 2010) 

The Crossley ID Guide Britain & Ireland by Richard Crossley & Dominic Couzens (Princeton University Press, 2014)

Owls & Owl Pellets (FSC Fold-out chart) 

Top 50 garden birds (FSC Fold-out chart)

Wetland Birds (FSC Fold-out chart)


Google Lens: Go to and there is a camera icon at the right of the search bar. Click on this, and you can drag and drop any image and it will do its best to identify it – so can be used for any flora and fauna, vertebrates and invertebrates etc. (as well as buildings, landscapes – anything, in fact.)  Worth a look, but treat identifications with caution!

Xeno-canto, Free website.  Website introduction says: ‘Xeno-canto is a website dedicated to sharing wildlife sounds from all over the world. Whether you are a research scientist, a birder, or simply curious about a sound that you heard out your kitchen window, we invite you to listen, download, and explore the wildlife sound recordings in the collection. But xeno-canto is more than just a collection of recordings. It is also a collaborative project. We invite you to share your own recordings, help identify mystery recordings, or share your expertise in the forums. Welcome!’ You can look up a bird and hear recordings made in locations all over the world, a chance to compare ‘accents’. Now more recordings of orthoptera and other insects are being added and they hope to start adding mammals in the future. Comment: If you just want to hear many recordings of the calls or songs of a specific species, then is a brilliant website with just one draw-back: it’s designed for use on a PC and is hard to use on a phone.
I use the voice note on my iPhone for all my bird song recordings – it works very well but only for reference and you can download the notes.


BirdTrack, Free App: Produced by the British Trust for Ornithology. An app for recording birds seen at a specific location. Can be used for lists of birds, or individual casual records. A way of making bird lists that you might keep anyway count towards national data. Can be used in any country, wherever you are. Can also be used to record some other groups such as mammals and dragonflies. For information go to: About the BirdTrack app | BTO – British Trust for Ornithology
Register/create an account with BTO first. Then look for the App in app stores for iOS or Android devices.

Collins Bird Guide App, for use on iPads £14.99 (one-off payment):
Essentially the book, with additional features such as option to play recordings of bird songs/calls and compare them. Found to be easier to carry around than the book.

Bird Net, Free AppA resource to help identify Bird calls and Songs The website says: ‘when you download and open it, and you can immediately see a recording screen. Record the sounds of your environment. Select an interval including bird sounds. Notice that the interval shouldn’t be too short. Click the “analyze” button and wait for a few seconds. The app will provide you with the most likely species of birds you just hear.’ Comment: Produced/managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, so has an American bias, but includes UK birds in its database, and gives a probability rating for the identification. (Almost certain / Highly likely / Likely / Uncertain / Highly Uncertain). Available in app stores for iOs or Android devices

Nabu Vogelwelt, Free App. Produced by German equivalent of RSPB. Contents available in English. Includes videos and information about eggs, nests etc. Available in app stores for iOs or Android devices: