Field Guides

Sunbird Elephant




Thailand, often in titles covering the whole of South East Asia, is well catered for when it comes to Field Guides and reference material. The following highlights references which have been most useful over the years, for indentifying the main animal groups. A multitude of other, sometimes highly specialised, references are available.


A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand. Robson. Available in several versions, both hardback and paperback, since about 2002. ISBN 978-1843309215. Currently, probably considered the standard field guide to Thailand. Reasonably up to date taxonomically and very good for field identification. Only minor annoyance is that the status of the species is not provided.

A Guide to the Birds of Thailand. Lekagul and Round. 1991. ISBN 978-9748567365. Long considered and used as the standard field guide. Taxonomically now rather dated, but still an excellent field guide for Thailand. The notes on status, habitat and habits are good. A more recent, plagiarised, Thai version, done without the consent of the original authors and artists, is readily available in major bookshops in Thailand.

A Field Guide to the Birds of South East Asia. Robson. 2009. ISBN 978-1847733412. Taxonomically very up to date. Highly condensed with concise illustrations and text, but lacks range maps, and often has range information on a different page. A good choice of field guide if venturing to nearby countries.

The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula. Wells. 2009. Volume 1 Non-passerines ISBN 978-0127429618, and volume 2 Passerines ISBN 978-0713665345. Very useful for the south of Thailand. Excellent text, especially on habitats, range and status.

The Birds of the Bangkok Area. Round. 2008. ISBN 978-9744801098. Whilst not exactly a pocket-sized field guide, this large format book does illustrate all the species within a sizeable area around Greater Bangkok. It deals well with the identification, habitat and habits of the species covered, and includes good information on status, distribution and migration dates.


Butterflies of Thailand 2nd Edition. Pisuth Ek-Amnuay. 2012. ISBN 978-6162079887. An very impressive work with every species of Thai butterfly illustrated by photographs of specimens, plus some brief notes on identification. Does not contain a common name index, only scientific. Now hard to obtain as, at the end of 2017, out of print, with no plan for a reprint or new edition.

The Butterflies of Thailand. Yunosuke Kimura et al. (2011 - 2016). Published in three volumes. Expensive. Softback, A4 sized. Limited text in both English and Japanese. No ISBN. Published in Japan by Mokuyosha, but available through specialist natural history bookshops elsewhere. Comprehensive, including range maps based on literature and specimens. On the positive side, provides more illustrations than Ek-Amnuay, but they are smaller and the printing rather dark. Limited text provides very little identifiication assistance. Still an extremely useful reference, especially as Ek-Amnuay now out of print.

Butterflies of the Malay Peninsula. Corbet and Pendlebury. 1993. ISBN 978-9839681055. A thorough reference covering many of the Thai butterflies with extensive text and small illustrations of all species.

The Book Of Indian Butterflies. Kehimkar. 2008. ISBN 978-019569620. Illustrates and descibes over 700 species from India, and very useful for northern Thailand. Usefully gives notes on habitats and altitudinal ranges.

A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Singapore. Khew Sin Choon. 2010. ISBN 978-9810870188. Unlike the previous three references, this is a true field guide detailing how to identify species in the field and giving notes on abundance, habits and habitats. Each species is illustrated with superbly taken photographs. Of most use for southern Thailand.

A Naturalist's Guide to the Butterflies of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Laurence G. Kirton. (2014). ISBN 978-1906780906. A small pocket-sized reference covering 280 representative species of butterfly of the region, with photographs and notes on identification, habits, habitat and range.


A Guide to the Mammals of South East Asia. Francis. 2008. ISBN 978-0691135519. Comprehensive with excellent plates.

A Guide to the Large Mammals of Thailand. Parr. 2003. ISBN 974-4840404. Attractive drawings and half a page of text covering the 138 large mammals. Bats, rats and shrews are not covered. Useful, but beware the range maps can be way off and the colours of the illustrations can be misleading.

Mammals of Thailand. Lekagul and McNeely. 1988. ISBN 974-8680614 . Now out of print. Comprehensive with good coverage of the smaller mammals.


A Field Guide to the Reptiles of Thailand. 2015. Tanya Chan-ard, John W.K. Parr and Jarujin Nabhitabhata. ISBN 978-0199736492. The most accurate and useful guide for identification of Thai reptiles. Range maps are included, though understandably contain some errors given the paucity of coverage of the country. Almost all species are illustrated, but many are insufficiently detailed for accurate identification. Despite being published in 2015, delays in publication resulted in no published literature after 2010 being taken into account, hence many new taxa and splits are not included. This reference has been used as for taxonomic nomenclature for reptiles across this website.

A Photographic Guide to the Snakes and Other Reptiles of Thailand and South East Asia. Cox, van Dijk, Nabhitabhata and Thirakhupt. 1998. ISBN 978-0883590430. A small handy reference with which is it possible to identify most of the reptiles encountered in Thailand. Common names can differ significantly from Das (2010, 2012).

A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South East Asia. Indraneil Das. 2010. ISBN 978-1847733474. A fully-fledged field guide with excellent plates. Many common names are at odds with other references.

A Naturalist's Guide to the Snakes of Thailand and Southeast Asia. Indraneil Das. 2012. ISBN 978-1906780708. A photographic guide covering many of the snakes of Thailand.

Thailand Snakes. Vern Lovic. 2014. An e-book with photographs and basic information for many of Thailand's snakes. Available as a free download from ThailandSnakes.


A Photographic Guide to Amphibians in Thailand. Tanya Chan-ard and Anantapong Poolsawasdi. 2003. Se-Education Company Ltd, Bangkok. In Thai, with scientific names and common names in English. Includes range maps and photographs for almost all species.

The amphibians of the Eastern Region, with a checklist of Thailand. Tanya Chan-ard, Michael Cota and Sunchai Mekchai. 2011. ISBN 978-6161201722. National Science Museum, Ministry of Science and Technology. In both English and Thai. Descriptions and photographs of all species occuring in the eastern part of Thailand.