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Helm Identification Guides

The Helm Identification Guides are a series of books that identify groups of birds. The series include two types of guides, those that are:

  • Taxonomic, dealing with a particular family of birds on a worldwide scale—most early Helm Guides were this type, as well as many more-recent ones, although some later books deal with identification of such groups on a regional scale only (e.g., The Gulls Guide, which covers only species in Europe, Asia, and North America)
  • Geographic, including all bird species in an area (e.g., The Birds of the West Indies)

Early volumes were sometimes published under the Croom Helm or Christopher Helm imprints. In addition, a parallel set of guides, very similar in design, was published by Pica Press in the 1990s (marked Pica in the list below); Pica was later absorbed into A & C Black (now part of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc), and these guides are now marketed as a single series. A completely revised version of the initial Seabirds has been published by Lynx Edicions.

Several of the books have won the British Birds Bird Book of the Year award. A list of titles in the series, in chronological order of publication, is as follows:

Works with a taxonomic scope

Note: 'nW' indicates those that do not have worldwide coverage.


  • Seabirds - an identification guide by Peter Harrison (1983) ISBN 0-7470-1410-8 'obs.'
  • Shorebirds - an identification guide to the waders of the world by John Marchant, A. J. Prater and Peter Hayman (1986) ISBN 0-7470-1403-5
  • The Tanagers : Natural History, Distribution, and Identification by Morton L. Isler and Phyllis R. Isler (1987) ISBN 978-0-87474-552-8 'Smithsonian'
  • Wildfowl - an identification guide to the ducks, geese and swans of the world by Steve Madge and Hilary Burn (1988) ISBN 0-7470-2201-1
  • A Handbook to the Swallows and Martins of the World by Angela Turner, illustrated by Chris Rose (1989) ISBN 0-7136-4206-8



  • Woodpeckers by Hans Winkler, translated by David Christie, illustrated by David Nurney (1995) ISBN 1-873403-25-9 'Pica'
  • Buntings and Sparrows - A Guide to the Buntings and North American Sparrows by Urban Olsson and Jon Curson, illustrated by Clive Byers (1995) ISBN 1-873403-19-4 'Pica'
  • Terns of Europe and North America by Klaus Malling Olsen, illustrated by Hans Larsson (1995) ISBN 0-7136-4056-1 'A & C Black' 'nW'
  • Swifts - A Guide to the Swifts and Treeswifts of the World by Phil Chantler, illustrated by Gerald Driessens (1995) ISBN 1-873403-31-3 'Pica'
  • Tits, Nuthatches & Treecreepers by Simon Harrap, illustrated by David Quinn (1996) ISBN 0-7136-3964-4
  • Munias and Mannikins by Robin L. Restall (1996) ISBN 1-873403-51-8
  • Pittas, Broadbills and Asities by Frank Lambert, illustrated by Martin Woodcock (1996) ISBN 978-1-873403-24-2 'Pica'
  • Warblers of Europe, Asia and North Africa by Kevin Baker (1997) ISBN 978-0-7136-3971-1 'nW'
  • Skuas and Jaegers - a guide to the skuas and jaegers of the world by Klaus Malling Olsen, illustrated by Hans Larsson (1997) ISBN 1-873403-46-1 'Pica'
  • Shrikes - A Guide to the Shrikes of the World, by Norbert Lefranc, illustrated by Tim Worfolk (1997) ISBN 1-873403-47-X 'Pica' 'obs.'
  • Nightjars - A Guide to Nightjars and related Nightbirds by Nigel Cleere, illustrated by Dave Nurney (1998) ISBN 1-873403-48-8 'Pica'
  • Parrots - A Guide to the Parrots of the World by Tony Juniper and Mike Parr, illustrated by Kim Franklin, Robin Restall, Dan Powell, David Johnston and Carl D'Silva (1998) ISBN 1-873403-40-2 'Pica'
  • Rails - a guide to the rails, crakes, gallinules and coots of the world by Barry Taylor, illustrated by Ber van Perlo (1998) ISBN 0-300-07758-0 'Pica'
  • Starlings and Mynas by Chris Feare and Adrian Craig, illustrated by Barry Croucher, Chris Shields and Kamol Komolphalin (1998) ISBN 0-7136-3961-X
  • Owls - a Guide to the Owls of the World by Claus König & Friedhelm Weick and Jan-Hendrik Becking (1999) ISBN 1-873403-74-7 'Pica' 'obs.'
  • New World Blackbirds - the Icterids by Alvaro Jaramillo and Peter Burke (1999) ISBN 0-7136-4333-1
  • Tanagers by Morton L. Isler and Phyllis R. Isler (1999) ISBN 978-0-7136-5116-4 softcover (a revision of earlier issue)




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Helm Identification Guides
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