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Intro and question about best field guide for Australia. (1 Viewer)


New member
Hello, my name is Marc and although I loved birds all my life, I am an absolute novice in bird watching. I moved to Sydney Australia from The Netherlands 10 years ago. During our latest holiday I really started to enjoy spotting birds and after spotting and photographing a beautiful rainbow bee eater, I decided to dive in deep. I spoke to a lady at the Tumut Info Centre who also works for NSW National Parks & Wildlife and asked her about a good bird guide.

She mentioned the Field Guide to Australian Birds but after some research online I found out that there seem to be several versions of that! I found this title under writers like Slater, Pizzey & Knight and Simpson & Day. My question is: Is there such a thing as the ‘bible’ under field guides for Australia? Is the ninth edition of Pizzey & Knight a good one?


Picture Picker
Welcome to Birdforum! I am sure that you will find lots to interest you here and I hope that you enjoy your visits.

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
United States
Hi there Marc and a warm welcome to you from those of us on staff here at BirdForum (y)

We're glad you found us and thanks for taking a moment to say hello. Please join in wherever you like ;)

Dan Miller

Avicasual Birder
United States
Hello Marc, and welcome!

I spent six months in Australia last winter (summer in Oz), and spent a whole lot of time birding. I bought a number of bird guides before and during my trip. Some of these were specific to WA, and one to Taz. The most complete and most recent is probably The Australia Bird Guide by Menkhorst, et al. (Be sure to get the Revised Version, if you do). It's a bit heavy for the field, so I usually carried the ninth edition of The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia by Pizzey and Knight. I also used the app that supplements the Pizzey and Knight book.

Have fun, we hope to return to Australia when the pandemic subsides.


Well-known member
Many years ago I spent 6 months in Oz. I found the Slater guide excellent. I also had an old edition of Pizzey.

Taxonomy has changed quite a bit since then with lots of new species being recognised [=old ones being split up], but judging by the screenshots I've just seen of Pizzey 9th ed, the Slater illustrations can still hold their own. One advantage is that it's a pretty compact book [if book you want—I mostly use electronic guides now]. I recently bought one in London in as-new condition for £1 I think...

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