Birdfinding guide to Australia

Where to find birds in Australia - book review

by Gunnar on March 14, 2011 · 1 comment

in Birding Australia

New birdfinding guide

I got this article Simon Mustoe of about the new birdfinding guide for Australia by  Richard Thomas and Sarah Thomas, with help of David Andrews and Alan McBride.  I have not yet been to Australia, but from what I can see this is a fantastic resourse to the continent where birds are colorful and plenty. At the end of the article there is also a Google Books extract where large portions of the book can be read. Here is an extact of the review.

Their names “Thomas and Thomas” … along with names like “Simpson and Day”, have resonated throughout the Australian birding community for more than a decade. The Thomases are ornithologists from Cambridge (UK). In the 1990s, they lived in Canberra and for three years, worked and travelled throughout the country. They meticulously documented their birding exploits, along with advice from local birders and assembled the very first – and almost certainly the most “complete” – where to watch guide for Australian birds. This month, the second edition of their The Complete Guide to Finding the Birds of Australia (CSIRO Publishing) – (affiliate link) hit the book-shelves.

In its day, the guide was ground-breaking and trend-setting (some Australian content in books like Wheatley’s Where to Watch Birds in Australasia and Oceania (Helm) – (affiliate link) were mysteriously similar, even down to detail on maps). The 2nd edition follows almost precisely the same contents as the first. It guides the reader anti-clockwise around Australia, beginning in Victoria and ending in South Australia but adds an extra section for islands and external territories and, for Australian birders, a section on rarity hotspots.

There are also panels of beautiful bird photos by David Stowe … it’s not obvious why the book would need this, except if you imagine being a first-time visitor to Australia, tantalised by the prospect of seeing things for oneself – how exciting to see those pictures. Since the book is largely maps and text it also makes for a more ‘colourful’ read.

Like the 1st edition, the final chapter (10) is about pelagic birding but the pièce de résistance is the Bird Finding Guide, an annotated list of all the birds of Australia that cross-references locations elsewhere in the book. It’s just great to be able to browse places you can find particular species … it helps for planning those trips and reaching the magic 700!

So by all accounts, up until publication of this 2nd edition, no other where to watch guide for Australia could claim to be anywhere near as complete………

Read the rest of this review on

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Pepe Orihuela January 4, 2012 at 3:54 am

Hi Gunnar! I’m living in Australia now and I just got this book for Christmas. It’s actually really good and helpful, very similar to Valqui’s ‘Where to Watch Birds in Peru’…Good luck with the  Bird World Cup! 


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