Informative, extremely well laid out and brightly illustrated, this pocket guide would suit anyone from the idle bird-watcher, keen to identify the feathered friends that visit his bird tables, to the more experienced twitcher, eager to increase his knowledge base.

The book provides detailed information and images on 320 of the most commonly spotted birds in Britain and Europe. It is organised in six comprehensive chapters beginning with passerines – and if you don’t know what they are, it will tell you – and continuing through to gamebirds, wading birds, waterfowl, seabirds and birds of prey. Within each group, the birds are arranged by family, so that similar looking species appear together for ease of comparison, and generally in ascending order of size.

The information on each bird is concise for quick referral and will generally cover specifics such as a short description, flight illustration, scale drawings for size comparison and other key information such as its nesting habits and feeding preferences.

Illustrating each description is also a generous-sized, high quality close-up photograph of the bird in question. This is accompanied by a thumbprint photo of the bird in its natural habitat, although a magnifying glass might come in handy if the user seriously wished to study this image.

Size is the key selling-point to this guide, which comes hot on the heelsof the successful RSPB’s book of the Birds of Britain and Europe (currently the UK’s best selling bird book). 223 pages long, the guide is small enough to comfortably fit into a large Barbour pocket or handbag. Given that it does cover European species,it would also fit easily into the glove compartment of a car for those interested in spotting birds while driving on the Continent.

Published by Dorling Kindersley on January 30, 2003.

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