Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW) is a multi-volume series produced by the Spanish publishing house Lynx Edicions in partnership with BirdLife International. It is the first handbook to cover every known living species of bird. The series is edited by Josep del Hoyo, Andrew Elliott, Jordi Sargatal and David A Christie.

All 16 volumes have been published. For the first time an animal class will have all the species illustrated and treated in detail in a single work. This has not been done before for any other group in the animal kingdom.

Material in each volume is grouped first by family, with an introductory article on each family; this is followed by individual species accounts (taxonomy, subspecies and distribution, descriptive notes, habitat, food and feeding, breeding, movements, status and conservation, bibliography). In addition, all volumes except the first and second contain an essay on a particular ornithological theme. More than 200 renowned specialists and 35 illustrators (including Toni Llobet, Hilary Burn, Chris Rose and H. Douglas Pratt) from more than 40 countries have contributed to the project up to now, as well as 834 photographers from all over the world.

Since the first volume appeared in 1992, the series has received various international awards. The first volume was selected as Bird Book of the Year by the magazines Birdwatch and British Birds, and the fifth volume was recognised as Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Magazine, the American Library Association magazine. The seventh volume, as well as being named Bird Book of the Year by Birdwatch and British Birds, also received the distinction of Best Bird Reference Book in the 2002 WorldTwitch Book Awards[1] This same distinction was also awarded to Volume 8 a year later in 2003.

Individual volumes are large, 32 cm by 25 cm, and weighing between 4-4.6 kg; it has been commented in a review that "fork-lift truck book" would be a better title.

As a complement to the Handbook of the Birds of the World and with the ultimate goal of disseminating knowledge about the world's avifauna, in 2002 Lynx Edicions started the Internet Bird Collection (IBC). It is a free-access, but not free-licensed, on-line audiovisual library  of the world's birds with the aim of posting videos, photos and sound recordings showing a variety of biological aspects (e.g. subspecies, plumages, feeding, breeding, etc.) for every species. It is a non-profit endeavour fuelled by material from more than one hundred contributors from around the world.

Another complement is the online database HBW Alive which was launched in early July 2013 and include the species' accounts from all 17 published HBW volumes.

Published volumes

A list of volumes of the Handbook of the Birds of the World produced to date is as follows:

Volume 1: Ostrich to Ducks

This volume was published in 1992. Unlike subsequent volumes, it does not have an introductory essay; instead, it has a 38-page overview by Eduardo de Juana of the biology of birds and a foreword welcoming the HBW project, by Christoph Imboden. Groups covered in this volume are as follows:

  • Struthionidae (ostrich)
  • Rheidae (rheas)
  • Casuariidae(cassowaries)
  • Dromaiidae (emu)
  • Apterygidae (kiwis)
  • Tinamidae (tinamous)
  • Spheniscidae (penguins)
  • Gaviidae (loons)
  • Podicipedidae (grebes)
  • Diomedeidae (albatrosses)
  • Procellariidae (petrels and shearwaters)
  • Hydrobatidae (storm-petrels)
  • Pelecanoididae (diving-petrels)
  • Phaethontidae (tropicbirds)
  • Pelecanidae (pelicans)
  • Sulidae (gannets and boobies)
  • Phalacrocoracidae (cormorants)
  • Anhingidae (darters)
  • Fregatidae (frigatebirds)
  • Ardeidae (herons)
  • Scopidae (hamerkop)
  • Ciconiidae (storks)
  • Balaenicipitidae (shoebill)
  • Threskiornithidae (ibises and spoonbills)
  • Phoenicopteridae (flamingos)
  • Anhimidae (screamers)
  • Anatidae (ducks, geese and swans)

Volume 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl

This volume was published in 1994. It has a foreword by Walter J. Bock on the organization of information in HBW. Groups covered in this volume are as follows:

  • Cathartidae (New World vultures)
  • Pandionidae (osprey)
  • Accipitridae (hawks and eagles)
  • Sagittariidae (secretarybird)
  • Falconidae (falcons and caracaras)
  • Megapodiidae (megapodes)
  • Cracidae (chachalacas, guans and curassows)
  • Meleagrididae (turkeys)
  • Tetraonidae (grouse)
  • Odontophoridae (New World quails)
  • Phasianidae (pheasants and partridges)
  • Numididae (guineafowl)

Volume 3: Hoatzin to Auks

This volume was published in 1996. It has an introductory essay by Robert Bateman on "art and nature". Groups covered in this volume are as follows:

  • Opisthocomidae (hoatzin)
  • Mesitornithidae (mesites)
  • Turnicidae (buttonquails)
  • Gruidae (cranes)
  • Aramidae (limpkin)
  • Psophiidae (trumpeters)
  • Rallidae (rails, gallinules and coots)
  • Heliornithidae (finfoots)
  • Rhynochetidae (kagu)
  • Eurypygidae (sunbittern)
  • Cariamidae (seriemas)
  • Otididae (bustards)
  • Jacanidae (jacanas)
  • Rostratulidae (painted snipes)
  • Dromadidae (crab plover)
  • Haematopodidae(oystercatchers)
  • Ibidorhynchidae (ibisbill)
  • Recurvirostridae (avocets, stilts)
  • Burhinidae (thick-knees)
  • Glareolidae (pratincoles, coursers)
  • Charadriidae (plovers)
  • Scolopacidae (sandpipers and allies)
  • Pedionomidae (plains-wanderer)
  • Thinocoridae (seedsnipes)
  • Chionididae (sheathbills)
  • Stercorariidae (skuas)
  • Laridae (gulls)
  • Sternidae (terns)
  • Rhynchopidae (skimmers)
  • Alcidae (auks)

Volume 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos

This volume was published in 1997. It has an introductory essay "Species Concepts and Species Limits in Ornithology" by Jürgen Haffer.

Groups covered in this volume are as follows:

  • Pteroclidae (sandgrouse)
  • Columbidae (pigeons and doves)
  • Cacatuidae (cockatoos)
  • Psittacidae (parrots)
  • Musophagidae (turacos)
  • Cuculidae (cuckoos)

Volume 5: Barn-Owls to Hummingbirds

This volume was published in 1999. It has an introductory essay "Risk Indicators and Status Assessment in Birds" by Nigel J. Collar.

Groups covered in this volume are as follows:

  • Tytonidae (barn-owls)
  • Strigidae (typical owls)
  • Steatornithidae (oilbird)
  • Aegothelidae (owlet-nightjars)
  • Podargidae (frogmouths)
  • Nyctibiidae (potoos)
  • Caprimulgidae (nightjars)
  • Apodidae (swifts)
  • Hemiprocnidae (tree-swifts)
  • Trochilidae(hummingbirds)

Volume 6: Mousebirds to Hornbills

This volume was published in 2001. It has an introductory essay "Avian Bioacoustics" by Luis Baptista and Don Kroodsma.

Groups covered in this volume are as follows:

  • Coliidae (mousebirds)
  • Trogonidae (trogons)
  • Alcedinidae(kingfishers)
  • Todidae (todies)
  • Momotidae (motmots)
  • Meropidae (bee-eaters)
  • Coraciidae (rollers)
  • Brachypteraciidae (ground-rollers)
  • Leptosomidae (cuckoo-rollers)
  • Upupidae (hoopoes)
  • Phoeniculidae (wood-hoopoes)
  • Bucerotidae (hornbills)

Volume 7: Jacamars to Woodpeckers

This volume was published in 2002. It has an introductory essay "Extinct Birds" by Errol Fuller.

Groups covered in this volume are as follows:

  • Galbulidae (jacamars)
  • Bucconidae (puffbirds)
  • Capitonidae (barbets)
  • Ramphastidae (toucans)
  • Indicatoridae (honeyguides)
  • Picidae (woodpeckers)

Volume 8: Broadbills to Tapaculos

This volume was published in 2003. It has an introductory essay "A Brief History of Classifying Birds" by Murray Bruce.

Groups covered in this volume are as follows:

  • Eurylaimidae (broadbills)
  • Philepittidae (asities)
  • Pittidae (pittas)
  • Furnariidae (ovenbirds)
  • Dendrocolaptidae(woodcreepers)
  • Thamnophilidae (typical antbirds)
  • Formicariidae (ground-antbirds)
  • Conopophagidae (gnateaters)
  • Rhinocryptidae (tapaculos)

Volume 9: Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails

This volume was published in 2004. It has an introductory essay "Ornithological Nomenclature" by Richard Banks

Groups covered in this volume are as follows:

  • Cotingidae (cotingas)
  • Pipridae (manakins)
  • Tyrannidae (tyrant-flycatchers)
  • Acanthisittidae (New Zealand wrens)
  • Atrichornithidae (scrub-birds)
  • Menuridae (lyrebirds)
  • Alaudidae (larks)
  • Hirundinidae (swallows and martins)
  • Motacillidae (pipits and wagtails)

Volume 10: Cuckoo-shrikes to Thrushes

This volume was published in 2005. It has an introductory essay "The Ecology and Impact of Non-Indigenous Birds" by Daniel Sol, Tim Blackburn, Phillip Cassey, Richard Duncan and Jordi Clavell.

Groups covered in this volume are as follows:

  • Campephagidae(cuckoo-shrikes)
  • Pycnonotidae (bulbuls)
  • Chloropseidae (leafbirds)
  • Irenidae (fairy-bluebirds)
  • Aegithinidae (ioras)
  • Ptilogonatidae (silky-flycatchers)
  • Bombycillidae(waxwings)
  • Hypocoliidae (hypocolius)
  • Dulidae (palmchat)
  • Cinclidae (dippers)
  • Troglodytidae (wrens)
  • Mimidae (mockingbirds and thrashers)
  • Prunellidae (accentors)
  • Turdidae (thrushes) and a part of the subfamily Saxicolinae (chats) which is now part of family Muscicapidae (HBW 11)

Volume 11: Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers

Published in September 2006. It has an introductory essay "Ecological Significance of Bird Populations" by Cagan Sekercioglu with a preface by Paul R. Ehrlich.

Groups covered in this volume are as follows:

  • Muscicapidae (Old World flycatchers)
  • Platysteiridae (batises and wattle-eyes)
  • Rhipiduridae (fantails)
  • Monarchidae (monarch-flycatchers)
  • Regulidae (kinglets and firecrests)
  • Polioptilidae (gnatcatchers)
  • Cisticolidae (cisticolas and allies)
  • Sylviidae (Old World warblers)

Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees

Published in October 2007. With a foreword on Fossil Birds by Kevin J. Caley.

Groups covered in this volume are as follows:

  • Picathartidae (picathartes)
  • Timaliidae (babblers)
  • Paradoxornithidae (parrotbills)
  • Pomatostomidae (Australasian babblers)
  • Orthonychidae (logrunners)
  • Eupetidae (jewel-babblers and allies)
  • Pachycephalidae (whistlers)
  • Petroicidae (Australasian robins)
  • Maluridae (fairy-wrens)
  • Dasyornithidae (bristlebirds)
  • Acanthizidae (Australasian warblers and thornbills)
  • Epthianuridae (Australian chats)
  • Neosittidae (sittellas)
  • Climacteridae (Australasian treecreepers)
  • Paridae (tits and chickadees)

Volume 13: Penduline-tits to Shrikes

Published in October 2008. With an introductory essay on bird migration by Ian Newton.

  • Remizidae (penduline-tits)
  • Aegithalidae (long-tailed tits)
  • Sittidae (nuthatches)
  • Tichodromadidae(wallcreeper)
  • Certhiidae (treecreepers)
  • Rhabdornithidae (Rabdornis)
  • Nectariniidae (sunbirds)
  • Melanocharitidae (berrypeckers and longbills)
  • Paramythiidae (painted berrypeckers)
  • Dicaeidae (flowerpeckers)
  • Pardalotidae (pardalotes)
  • Zosteropidae (white-eyes)
  • Promeropidae(sugarbirds)
  • Meliphagidae(honeyeaters)
  • Oriolidae (orioles)
  • Laniidae (shrikes)

Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows

Published in October 2009. With the foreword "Birding Past, Present and Future – a Global View" by Stephen Moss.

Groups covered in this volume are as follows:

  • Malaconotidae (bush-shrikes)
  • Prionopidae (helmet-shrikes)
  • Vangidae (vangas)
  • Dicruridae (drongos)
  • Callaeatidae (wattlebirds)
  • Notiomystidae (stitchbird)
  • Grallinidae (magpie-larks)
  • Corcoracidae (white-winged chough and apostlebird)
  • Artamidae (woodswallows)
  • Pityriaseidae (Bornean bristlehead)
  • Cracticidae (butcherbirds)
  • Paradisaeidae (birds-of-paradise)
  • Ptilonorhynchidae (bowerbirds)
  • Corvidae (crows)
  • Buphagidae (oxpeckers)
  • Sturnidae (starlings)
  • Passeridae (Old World sparrows)

Volume 15: Weavers to New World Warblers

Published in October 2010. With the foreword Conservation of the world's birds by Stuart Butchart, Nigel Collar, Alison Stattersfield & Leon Bennun.

  • Ploceidae (weavers)
  • Estrildidae (waxbills)
  • Viduidae (indigobirds)
  • Vireonidae (vireos)
  • Fringillidae (finches)
  • Drepanididae (i.e. subfamily Drepanidinae in recent taxonomies) (Hawaiian honeycreepers)
  • Parulidae (New World warblers)

Volume 16: Cardinals to New World Blackbirds

Published in December 2011.

  • Thraupidae (tanagers)
  • Cardinalidae (cardinals)
  • Emberizidae (buntings and New World sparrows)
  • Icteridae (New World blackbirds)

Special Volume: New Species and Global Index

Published in July 2013. A comprehensive introduction by Jon Fjeldså on the changes in bird macrosystematics and a foreword on the history of BirdLife International. Description of 84 new species, including 15 scientific descriptions of newly discovered Amazonian birds.

Check-list: Non passerines

Published in July 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Depicting all non-passerines with drawings and maps and also features information for extinct species since the year 1500

Check-list: Passerines

Lynx-BirdLife Taxonomic Checklist. Depicting all passerines with drawings and maps. Release during 2016.

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