Bird field guide for Mexico

I have Peterson’s Mexican Birds (1973). I was just in Mexico looking at what I am sure were very common birds, and found this guide quite unsatisfactory. Several birds that are also found in the U.S. were described but not pictured; many descriptions were extremely vague with no useful detail; some birds very similar to (but not the same as) those pictured and described were simply absent. Sibley isn’t helpful because he only goes a short way into the Mexican range.

Is there a better field guide for Mexican and Central American birds? English or Spanish is fine as long as the scientific name is included. Enormous color illustrations or photos also nice.


I believe Audubon has a western North America Field Guide which goes down into Mexico. As many birds from there migrate through the US year after year and I think they are listed.

Audubon also has a Southwestern Field Guide as well.

Here is a helpful site that has much of what you want. You can order that book on their site.

I had exactly the same experience. Then I read the introduction, which says that there are so many species of birds in Mexico that they didn’t try to put them all in one book. They refer to the eastern & western North America guides for birds which also occur north of the border.

Not that I know of any better book, but at least I can commiserate …

I’m sure Colibri will be along shortly.

The indispensible guide to birding in Mexico is A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America
by Steve N.G. Howell and Sophie Webb.

The book covers all of the birds of Mexico. Most are illustrated with Webb’s excellent paintings. There are detailed species accounts by Howell, as well as range maps. I have used it in the field and highly recommend it. The book’s chief drawback is its size. It is a fairly thick tome to be lugging about in the field (much bigger than Peterson), but worth the trouble.

I can also recommend Howell’s Where to Watch Birds in Mexico, which I relied on in Veracruz and Oaxaca last year.

Thank you. I put this on my Amazon wish list and within half day a friend had ordered it for me. The field marks and descriptions are helpful. The plates are comparatively large and have allowed us to firm up several common-to-Mexico but uncommon-to-us sightings.