The Crossley ID Guide Raptors

The Crossley ID Guide Raptors by Richard Crossley - Review

Cover Image

The Crossley Guide: Raptors

The Crossley ID Guide to Raptors by Richard Crossley, Jerry Liguori and BrianSullivan

The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors by Richard Crossley, Jerry Liguori and BrianSullivan | 286 pages | Crossley Books/Princeton Press | Paperback | 2013 | ISBN: 978-0-691-15740-5 |

I have never reviewed or even read a Crossley ID guide before, I'm not sure why, but I must say this book was not what I expected! In fact I have never seen a book quite like it (Don't worry I'll explain as I go on), an identification guide to raptors is always a good ready though. This book covers those Raptors found in North America.

The Guide

Normally I start with the photography side of a book I review After all this is a photography site, but this time I am starting with the guide itself as I feel I should clarify what I mean by my opening statement.

Firstly it is a photographic guide so the images will be very specific to the bird photographed and light etc. (one of the drawbacks to photographic ID guides sometimes) but what we see in this book is loads of pictures of each bird species photographed at various distances, angles and poses and different ages and sexes. What this means is that there is a chance (a pretty good one) that the bird you are trying to identify will be represented in the exact pose you are seeing. When this is raptors often it will be high up over your head so I think this is a great idea of a way to represent the birds.

I can see what you are thinking here with loads of images of each bird the book must be huge? well no because what they have done is placed all the images on a landscape photograph (a stunning one on each page if I am honest) now of course these look stuck on but that is not what is important, what is however is that you get to see each image near on another so you can really use the images to help identify the bird you are looking at.

The Photography

As this is primarily a photography site I should cover the photography in more depth, and it is wonderful, each of the stunning landscapes used are worth looking at and the bird photography is second to none, they capture the birds as you are likely to see them. Yes they appear stuck on but this not a book for composition or photography technique it is for identification purposes and this is what is very evident.

Beyond the species photographs

The book starts with the photographic plates each with a brief description for identification purposes before moving into the actual written species accounts (actually there are a few other photos interspersed covering things like how light can affect colours etc.), and these species accounts are very well written and informative. Covering the things you would expect, size guides, plumage, status and distribution, similar species, flight styles etc. But each account is started in a very informal and descriptive way with the author describing a situation so you really feel like you are there ready to see the bird.


Stuffed with wonderful photography this is a great ID guide if you are going to be looking at American Raptors, and one I would thoroughly recommend. I am very impressed by this book, and really looking forward to the Crossley ID Guide to Britain and Ireland now.

Available from Princeton University Press or Crossley Books

Ashley Beolens

Created: 09th Aug 2013