Books on Hawk Identification

All books except the Field Guide to Hawks might be difficult to find in regular bookstores. Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Gift Shop in Lincoln, the Birdwatcher’s General Store on the Cape and Bird Watcher’s Supply & Gift in Newburyport, tend to carry many of these publications. Some of the best books on hawks or migration might be out of print but are available inexpensively online through used book dealers. Buteo Books is also an excellent online bookselling resource.

Field Guide to Hawks of North America by William S. Clark and Brian K. Wheeler, Houghton Mifflin, Second Edition (2001). The only true “field” guide to North American hawks. The text by Bill Clark and Brian Wheeler is comprehensive and the detailed illustrations by Brian Wheeler show how the hawks look when seen close up, perched, and in flight.

The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors by Richard Crossley, Jerry Liguori and Brain Sullivan, Princeton University Press (2013). In typical Crossley style has roughly 5-10 individual hawk photos (“cutouts”) of a species dropped into an appropriate background photo on each page, illustrating different ages, morphs, or genders in flight and perched. The photos work well and the text is well written.

Hawks from Every Angle: How to Identify Raptors in Flight by Jerry Liguori, Princeton University Press (2005). A superb guide with 339 color photos of hawks in flight. This book emphasizes key characteristics for identification and discusses confusing species. Not the first book you should buy, but quite helpful for anyone planning to do much hawk watching.

Hawks at a Distance: Identification of Migrant Raptors by Jerry Liguori, Princeton University Press (2011) A follow-on to the 2005 book, including hundreds of small images for identifying hawks when they are very far away.

Hawks in Flight by Pete Dunne, David Sibley, and Clay Sutton, Houghton Mifflin (2nd Ed. 2012). A classic. Pete Dunne’s exquisite prose evokes vivid images of the hawks as you usually see them in the field. Excellent line drawings by Sibley and black-and-white photographs by Sutton make this book very helpful. it covers many more species (23) seen in North America and provides more detailed discussions of subtle differences in shape and behavior.

A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors by Brian K. Wheeler and William S. Clark, Academic Press (2003). This book contains several hundred relatively large full-color photographs of 43 species of North American hawks. Complementing Field Guide to Hawks, it provides superb photographs of the various plumages of each species, including 46 photographs of Red-tailed Hawk alone! The brief text supplements that of the Field Guide.

Birds of Prey of the East: A Field Guide by Brian Wheeler, Princeton University Press, 2018. Uses hundreds of artist’s illustrations by Wheeler to illustrate plumage differences for all eastern raptors, including both genders and various ages, morphs and types.