Birds Britannica, Hardback Book
5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The British love their birds, which are inextricably entwined with every aspect of their island life.

British customs, more than 1,000 years of English literature, the very fabric of society, even the landscape itself, have all been enhanced by the presence of birds.

Now, at last, here is a book which pays tribute to the remarkable relationship forged between a nation and its most treasured national heritage. Birds Britannica is neither an identification guide nor a behavioural study (though both these subjects enter its field), it concentrates on our social history and on the cultural links between humans and birds.

It includes observations and experiences from more than 1,000 naturalists and bird lovers.

These contributions from the public touch on aviation ecology; the lore and language of birds; their myths, the art and literature they have inspired; birds as food; and the crucial role they play in our sense of place and the changing seasons.

The book has taken eight years to research and write, and has been assembled by a team which includes some of the finest writers and image-makers of British wildlife.

On one level, it is a remarkable collection of humorous stories, field observations and tales of joy, wonder and occasional woe; on another, it is a nationwide chronicle.

Scholarly and wide-ranging, a mix of the traditional and the contemporary, Birds Britannica is a comprehensive record of birdlife in the early years of the twenty-first century.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 528 pages, Over 400 images in full colour
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Birds (ornithology)
  • ISBN: 9780701169077



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

This is a wonderful book. It is not just a list of all the birds one might see in Britain (although it is). It is not just lavishly illustrated with stunning photographs of each (although it is that, too). It is not just a book of ornithological observations (although they are here, as well). But more than this, it relates the story of each species in its cultural context, in how the people of Britain have thought, wrote and made use of the bird in question. A marvellous book for dipping into and looking up, a treasure hoard to be raided again and again. The only problem is, it's damned heavy.

Review by

A wonderful book to dip into and lose yourself in the history of birds, complete with anecdotes about bird behaviour, colloquial bird names from different parts of the British Isles, and glorious photography. Defititely one for the coffee table, though, not the field!

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