Field guides, bird names, and conservation

Document Type

Journal Article


Surrey Beatty and Sons Pty Ltd


School of Natural Sciences


Originally published as : Recher, H. F. (2018). Field guides, bird names, and conservation. Pacific Conservation Biology, 23(4), 315-323. Article can be found here


This is an essay that began as a book review. The book reviewed is: ‘The Australian Bird Guide’ by Peter Menkhorst, Danny Rogers, Rohan Clarke, Jeff Davies, Peter Marsack and Kim Franklin, and published in 2017 by CSIRO Publishing, Clayton, Victoria, Australia (paperback, AU$49.95, ISBN 9780643097544). I enjoy reviewing books and particularly enjoyed reading and reviewing this one. I enjoyed it because the illustrations of birds are superb and because the decision of the authors to follow a global list of bird names provided me with an opportunity to once again raise questions about the names given to Australian birds. Thus, the review morphed into an essay: in part an account of my experiences over the past 60 years with field guides, names, and nomenclature, in part a book review, and in part a bit about the conservation of Australia’s birds.