Bird Identification Tips
By Melissa Mayntz, About.com Guide
Bird Identification Equipment
The right equipment is essential for proper bird identification, both to get a good look at the bird in question but also to be sure you don't confuse it with a similar species. With the right tools, you can be confident that your identifications are accurate.
- How to Choose Birding Binoculars
- Binocular Accessories
- Choose Your Best Field Guide
- What Is a Spotting Scope?
Bird Identification Basics
Whether you are a novice or experienced birder, brushing up on basic identification techniques can help you improve your birding skills. Knowing how best to observe birds and just what to look for can help you become an expert at identification.
- Parts of a Bird
- Easy Bird Identification Steps
- Understanding Bird Plumages
- Identifying Male and Female Birds
- Using Range Maps to Identify Birds
- Identifying Baby and Juvenile Birds
- Juvenile Bird Identification Gallery
- Identify Birds in Flight
- How to Judge Bird Size
- Submit Your Photos for ID Help
Birding By Ear
Even if you can't see a bird, you may still be able to identify it if you can hear it clearly. Learn about the different sounds birds make and how to interpret those sounds for proper identification.
Identifying Types of Birds
Understanding what makes types of birds unique and how to identify them by category is the first step to confident bird identification. If you recognize a bird as a specific type, these tips can help you make a more detailed identification.
- Dove Identification Tips
- Duck Identification Tips
- Gull Identification Tips
- Hummingbird Identification Tips
- Owl Identification Tips
- Raptor Identification Tips
- Shorebird Identification Tips
- Sparrow Identification Tips
- Swallow Identification Tips
- Warbler Identification Tips
- Woodpecker Identification Tips
- Wren Identification Tips
Challenging Bird IDs
Some bird species look so much alike that they can confuse even the most experienced and knowledgeable birders. These species comparisons and quick reference ID tables can help you perfect your bird identification skills with any challenging birds.
- American Crow or Common Raven?
- Cooper's or Sharp-Shinned Hawk?
- Clark's Grebe or Western Grebe?
- Black-Capped or Carolina Chickadee?
- Downy or Hairy Woodpecker?
- Greater Scaup or Lesser Scaup?
- House Finch or Purple Finch?
- Broad-Tailed or Ruby-Throated Hummingbird?
Bird Identification Diagrams
Even some very familiar birds can be difficult to identify, but if you learn these common birds carefully, you will be able to more quickly identify unusual birds without confusion. These labeled diagrams include multiple genders, plumages and postures.