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Identification Guide to Birds in the Hand

OUT OF PRINT - English version no longer available

The identification guide for ringers - in English

This guide aims to give to all ringers and ornithologists who handle birds the essential information regarding accurate identification of species and subspecies, measurements, moult, sex and age.

The 301 species (154 non-passerines and 147 passerines) most frequently caught in Western Europe by general ringers are presented in detail. To avoid mistakes, identification is systematically compared with species of similar appearance, which represents a total of more than 550 treated species.

This English version of Guide d'Identification des Oiseaux en Main, updated with 51 extra species, gives all ornithologists who handle birds the essential information regarding accurate identification of species and subspecies, measurements, moult, sex and age. Homogenous treatment of all species groups precludes the recurrent pitfalls of using various books with variable modes of presentation and means fewer books to carry in the field.

In English, published in 2016. Printed in France. Size 17 x 24 cm, 392 pages, black and white.

ISBN 978-2-9555019-0-0

Editor price: 35 euros + shipping costs.


Availability: Item out of stock

35.00€ inc. tax 33.18€ excl. tax

  • Condition : new

bird book Bird ringing


You can download the following files (pdf)

- Front cover (323.22 Ko)

Contents (44.76 Ko)

Introduction  (8.93 Mo)

- some examples of species: Common Eider (1.56 Mo), Long-eared Owl (324.42 Ko), Redwing (661.26 Ko), Reed bunting (1.79 Mo)

Index (133.07 Ko)

Abbreviations glossary (3.4 Mo)

List of added species (46.48 Ko)

- Index in 16 languages (232.29 Ko) (Excel): Français, English (Anglais), Español (Espagnol), Italiano (Italien), Português (Portugais), Nederlands (Pays-Bas), Deutsch (Allemand), Česky (Tchèque), Dansk (Danois), Suomi (Finnois) Íslenska (Islandais), Nynorsk (Norvégien), Polski (Polonais), Slovenčina (Slovaque), Svenska (Suédois), Русский (Russe).
Except for French and English, the names are those proposed by Avibase:

Bibliography (643.97 Ko): over 2600 references

-  Moult card (238.86 Ko), wing formula card (78.05 Ko)


Laurent Demongin has 25 years experience of working in ornithology. He has collaborated with various laboratories and institutes (Laboratory of Ornithology in Minsk Institute of Zoology, Chizé Centre of Biological Studies (CNRS), Emirates Centre for Wildlife Propagation, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, University of Antwerp, University of Tromsö). Passionate about bird ringing, he got his ringing licence in 1998, and then participated in ringing activities in many countries (France, Belarus, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, Israel...).


Hervé Lelièvre, PhD, is an expert in fauna who has worked in various laboratories (Universities of Rennes and La Réunion, National Center for Scientific Research, National Museum of Natural History). Having considerable experience of writing reports and scientific articles in English, he conducted the translation of the book as rigorously as possible, to provide the reader with clear and comprehensive contents.

Corrections and adaptation of English text

George Candelin has been a ringer for over 20 years and is currently (2016) employed as a Senior Research Assistant by RSPB. He has worked in ornithological research for BTO, RSPB and Oxford University. He has travelled extensively within Europe and been involved with ringing in Scotland, Wales, France, Spain, Gibraltar and Cyprus. He has also held a French ringing licence and has participated in the ACROLA project. His experience includes a diversity of species ranging from swans and waterfowl, to seabirds, waders, raptors, gulls, pigeons, owls, swifts, woodpeckers, cuckoos, bee-eaters and passerines.


British Birds (United Kingdom) - September 2016

Will the Demongin guide become the new Svensson and displace it as the ringers’ guide of choice? On the face of it, it certainly appears to tick all the boxes and provide much of the quality information one could possibly need to process a bird in the hand.

This guide will become an essential reference in ringing labs and observatories. Non-ringers will also find it a great resource, to improve their understanding of techniques used to identify, age and sex birds in the hand, some which rarely appear in field guides. And even those familiar with moult will find the moult progression charts illuminating. Just keep your magnifying glass handy. (The Netherlands) - July 2016

I took the book out with me to ringing sessions in the UK recently. I used it with a selection of common European birds. The information in the book covered all species and plumages encountered, and it did help the ringing team to identify the sex and age of all birds correctly.

To conclude, this is an important book to have on a ringing table or in a library. Its wealth of data is also its main drawback – I suspect that some ringers will not find the book easy to work with in the field. It is very useful and relevant in western Europe, but less so in the eastern Mediterranean Flyway.

Luonnon tutkija (Finland) - December 2016 (translated by google, main points summarized by the author)
- necessary addition to the libraries of ringers and bird watchers
- contents very systematic and coherent
- guide well suited for field work with bending covers, easily found general advice and instructions
- for every species there is surprisingly large piece of information and a lot of illustrations
- similar looking birds side by side make it easier to confirm identification
- the book updates "Svensson" to a totally new step

Ardeola (Spain) - January 2017

It should be remembered that surely no book is perfect, and although with its imperfections, the Identification guide to birds in the hand contains a lot of information that is worth having at hand.


Twitter  - Treswell Wood - Information To Tell Every Recorder (United Kingdom) - October 2016

It is very comprehensive, species accounts containing much more detail, in smaller print than we have in Svensson, or in the BTO wader and non-passerine guides. All life is a compromise and this book is no exception. [ ] amongst the mass of information is a great deal of advice about the effectiveness of various ageing and sexing techniques. [ ] Overall, I strongly recommend it.


Club (Germany) - June 2016

Clearly there is a significant increase in access to information compared to [Svensson and Baker], that is also better presented. In addition, new or unknown species discovered recently in the WP are added. [ ] The author has worked hard to support the current level of knowledge. [ ] Therefore, we recommend this comprehensive book that should not be missed in any ringing station and should be of major interest to birdwatchers. Everyone will find something new in this book! (The Netherlands) - June 2016

An important addition to the literature. [ ] For the time being the book "Identification Guide to Birds in the Hand" [is] the new 'bible' at the ringing station of Menork. 


Spetptik (Slovenia) -  2018 (translated by google)

Descriptions of the species are concise and during the test of bird identification in hand proved to be extremely useful both at the museum and fieldwork angle. I highly recommend this manual to all of you who often encountered with birds in their hands, especially ringers.