Books on Hawk Identification

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.

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 in Flight by Pete Dunne, David Sibley, and Clay Sutton, Houghton Mifflin (1988). 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. A follow-on to Hawk Watch: A Guide for Beginners (see below), it covers many more species (23) seen in North America and provides more detailed discussions of subtle differences in shape and behavior. However, it lacks the information on hawk-watching equipment, procedures, reporting, etc., contained in Hawk Watch.

Hawk Watch: A Guide for Beginners by Pete Dunne, Debbie Keller, and Rene Kochenberger, Cape May Bird Observatory (2002). An outstanding, inexpensive guide for beginners, developed for high school science programs, with chapters on hawk watching, diurnal raptors, equipment, how to observe hawks, interpreting data, and submitting reports on your observations. Excellent line drawings by David Sibley and clear text describing key field marks of each species make the book easy to use. Covering 16 species seen in the northeast, the book is not generally available commercially, but can be obtained at some Audubon shops, ordered directly from Cape May Bird Observatory, or ordered online.

A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors by Brian K. Wheeler and William S. Clark, Academic Press (1995). This spectacular book contains several hundred gorgeous 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.

Eastern Massachusetts Hawk Watch, 2009
To contact EMHW, email
EMHW, PO Box 663, Newburyport, MA 01950
updated 09/04/2009