The guide is designed to be used in the field, to slip easily into a hip pocket, backpack or glove-box. It describes and illustrates all of the approximately 755 species recorded to date in Australia, nearby islands and seas of the continental shelf. The 167 superbly painted plates enable easy comparison between similar species.
The concise and informative text emphasizes the best way to differentiate each species, with a key sentence setting out the most helpful characteristics to watch for. It details the different plumage of males and females, variations between juvenile and adult birds, and gives information on separate subspecies or races, together with their range shown on a distribution map. In addition the eggs of all species that actually breed in Australia are illustrated and nests are described.