Oceanic birds are among the most remarkable but least known of all birds, living at sea, far from the sight of most people. They offer unusual identification challenges—many species look similar and it can be difficult to get good views of fast-flying birds from a moving boat. The first field guide to the world’s oceanic birds in more than two decades, this exciting and authoritative book draws on decades of firsthand experience on the open seas. It features clear text filled with original insights and new information and more than 2,200 carefully chosen color images that bring the ocean and its remarkable winged inhabitants to life. Never before have oceanic birds been presented in such an accessible and comprehensive way.
The introduction discusses the many recent developments in seabird taxonomy, which are incorporated into the species accounts, and these accounts are arranged into groups that aid field identification. Each group and species complex has an introductory overview of its identification challenges, illustrated with clear comparative photos. The text describes flight manner, plumage variation related to age and molt, seasonal occurrence patterns, migration routes, and many other features.
The result is an indispensable guide for exploring birding’s last great frontier.
- A comprehensive, authoritative, and accessible guide to oceanic birds
- Covers more than 270 species
- Includes more than 2,200 color photos with concise captions noting key features
- Features careful species comparisons, overviews of the latest taxonomy, tips on how to observe and ID birds at sea, and much more
Awards and Recognition
- One of British Birds' Best Bird Books of 2019
Steve N. G. Howell is an international bird tour leader with WINGS and is widely recognized as one of the world's leading birders and an authority on oceanic birds. His many books include Petrels, Albatrosses, and Storm-Petrels of North America: A Photographic Guide and The Amazing World of Flyingfish (both Princeton). Kirk Zufelt is a physician with a lifelong passion for birds and natural history. A widely published photographer, he has spent more than a year at sea over the past decade studying and photographing the world's seabirds at some of the remotest locations on the planet.
"An inspiration for future seabirding trips, a knowledge base for more familiar species, and a sheer delight to drool over the amazing images of gadfly petrels, alcids, albatrosses and storm petrels … anyone with an interest in seabirds needs to buy this guide."—Mark Newsome, BirdGuides
"A remarkable bird guide; it contains an unusual depth of ornithological and taxonomic knowledge combined with field expertise, organized in a readable manner that focuses almost entirely on bird identification. It is full of visual identification goodies and smart observations, facts and maps, up-to-date taxonomy and hundreds of photographs."—10,000 Birds Book Review
"It is excellent, the text is comprehensive and ID features do get pointed out. . . Series world birders will want this on their bookshelves as will dedicated sea watchers."—Fat Birder
"How often have you read a fieldguide from cover to cover within two weeks? For me the anser is: once. In case of this one. . . . buy it!"—Rinse van der Vliet, Dutch Birding
"This book will undoubtedly set a new standard for many years to come."—Michael Scott, Conservation Biology
"This is an excellent book . . . . A celebration of the diversity and beauty of the world’s seabirds. . . . It is indeed a major achievement to have photographed so many of them and to present them in one publication. This is a ‘must have’ addition to any keen birder’s library."—Nic Hallam, IBIS Book Reviews
"This breathtaking book is a tour de force for the reader seeking to identify some of the most difficult, contentious, and fascinating taxa in the entire world of birds."—Edward S. Brinkley, author of National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Birds of North America
"Steve Howell and Kirk Zufelt are among the keenest and most knowledgeable seabirders. In this excellent book, they pull together what is known about seabirds in a single text. The result is more than just a field guide; it provides the foundation for an appreciation of where we are in understanding seabird taxonomy, distribution and range, and identification."—Robert Flood, Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town
"A pleasure to read, with a casual but technically accurate style, the book covers the latest identification issues, presents an up-to-date taxonomy, and features a definitive collection of photos."—Jeff Davies, art editor and contributing artist to The Australian Bird Guide