The Second edition is in-hand

The completely revised Sibley Guide to Birds, Second Edition, will be on sale in a matter of weeks – March 11, 2014. You can pre-order the second edition at your local independent bookstore or at or find other online sellers at Random House.

Birdwatching interviewed me about the revision, which you can read along with a few sample pages from the new book.

Stay tuned for more news and events this spring.

51 thoughts on “The Second edition is in-hand”

    1. Yes, I’ll be at the Concord Bookshop (Massachusetts) very close to March 11 – dates being finalized now, and then at quite a few other places through early May with stops including Philadelphia, Minnesota, Colorado, Point Reyes, Vancouver, Point Pelee, and more. Stay tuned for details.

  1. Hi Dave,
    I can’t wait for the new edition to arrive. I have already preordered it from Amazon.
    Will I be able to load the new eguide app. to my new ipad? Will this new edition be published in the smaller east and west versions too?


    1. Hi Rosie, Nice to hear from you! We’re working on the app now, and hope to have a revised version of it ready a few months after the book. The East and West guides will also be revised, but that will take a couple of years.


  2. Really looking forward to this! In the first sample page from the link, though, is that a misprinting? It looks like it’s showing both Common Gallinule and Purple Gallinule belonging to Gallinula with Purple Swamphen by itself in Porphyrio.

    1. You’re right, good catch! Purple Gallinule should be in Porphyrio. I’ll make sure that gets fixed in the next printing. It has the correct genus on the species page, it just got shifted under the wrong heading on the family group page.

  3. Will a paperback version be available and is the hardcover version listed on Amazon really lighter than the paperback of the first edition (1.2 vs 3 lbs shipping weight listed)? Can physics possibly allow this??

    1. There is only one binding – same as the first edition – a flexibound cover. Some sellers call it hardcover and some call it paperback, but they are all the same. It weights just a little more than the first edition, with about 55 more pages. Unfortunately we did not figure out how to make it longer AND lighter 🙂

  4. Hello Mr. Sibley,

    I’m a huge user of the western guide. The binding and spine have torn off, it is all beat up, and it is my go-to of all my field guides; always in my back pocket. That being said, I really want to update to your new material. I would love to own the physical second edition NA book and to have those giant plates and all that information, but I’m also concerned about “falling behind” with new changes and information over the coming years and I debate whether it’s better to buy the new book or to buy the app. I use iBird primarily for the audio but couldn’t imagine being solely dependent on my phone for bird identification while in the field. I just find books much easier to compare and find things in. Any recommendation for my dilemma?


  5. Hi David

    I took a look at the second edition today. The illustrations of many birds look very nice, but some others are unusually dark. One good example is the Scarlet Tanager and Northern Cardinal. The colour is dark cranberry, not the bright red?? Will you correct those dark illustrations? A number of birders were not happy with the second edition. Thanks.

  6. Only David Sibley could outdo David Sibley! I’m sure this book will be the new reference standard for North American birds.

    One question: the labels on the two hybrid geese (GWFGxCAGO and GWFGxSNGO) on page 4 seem to be switched. The first edition had them the other way round. Which is correct?


  7. It looks as though the labels for Black-tailed Gull and Heermann’s Gull are switched on the Group Accounts page for Gulls (pg. 197).

    Hope this helps (if it hasn’t already been pointed out). Enjoying the new edition. Thanks!

  8. I truly love the new edition (notwithstanding the color printing issues on a small handful of plates that you yourself have noted). The book is an amazing achievement, something the new edition lets us see in a new light, with fresh eyes. Thank you enormously for it.

    I note only the following handful of typos, just in case they escaped your notice: Inside cover, Key to Group Accounts: Right-hand paragraph above box, “gives” and “number” misspelled; paragraph to right of box: should be “comparatively”. Bank Swallow: bottom painting lacks label “Adult”?

  9. David,
    I have to agree with Andrew. The second edition is simply superb. I can’t put it down. I loved the first edtion and the second is better in every way. The very small number of color and text corrections already mentioned are really the only quibbles. It’s 98% perfection and I believe that equates to an A+. The amount of work and attention to detail that went into the guide is obvious. Long awaited and well worth the wait.

  10. Congratulations on a job well done Mr. Sibley. I am a huge fan of the first guide and the second is great too. I wanted to add a comment about Vermilion Flycatcher. There are two pictures labeled as first year female. The color will be fixed in the next printing, but it is very good. I’ve had a hard time putting it down!

  11. 1st edition was a work horse for us. Received 2nd edition today and disappointed to find the print so small and lite (appears grey rather than black) making it difficult to read. Sure hope my copy was an exception.

  12. Hi David,
    Great job on your new edition! It’s nice to have the taxonomic updates and all the additional species. One question about the Thick-billed Kingbird; are the length, weight, etc correct? Five inches and thirteen grams seems pretty small.
    Thanks, Scott

    1. Hi Scott, Thanks. I’m glad you are enjoying the new guide, and thanks also for pointing out the measurements of Thick-billed Kingbird. It must have been transposed at some stage of editing and we never caught it. The correct measurements are L 9.5 in – WS 16 in – Wt 2 oz (56 g).

  13. David-
    Caption for “brilliant red” Scarlet Tanager (p 541) reads: “Adult [male] nonbreeding (Aug-Mar)” which seems to be an error.

  14. Mr. Sibley: Congratulations! Another extraordinary achievement for which birders will all be most grateful. I recently bought an autographed copy of your new guide and anticipate valuing it as much as my autographed and personalized first edition. However, I do have to agree with the published criticism of Dale Blue. The pale gray ink of an already small font makes the text almost unreadable. The text of the first edition was printed in black, dark ink that could be read easily in any light. Although the ink contrasts of the new edition create aesthetically pleasing pages, these contrasts are truly impractical. I hate to be critical of such a beautiful and beneficial book, but its readability is a serious flaw.

  15. I’m looking forward to this new edition, but will wait for the second printing to ensure good color and readability. When will that printing be available?

    1. Hi Sarah, Thanks for your interest. Work on the second printing is now finished and it should be in stores before Christmas. I can probably be more precise about the date later.
      –Best, David

  16. David,

    Any more info on when the second printing will be commercially available? I’ve seen photos of pages from it on other websites and they look great–every issue I had with the first printing appears to have been solved. But I’m guessing these were from special preview copies rather than purchased copies.

  17. Hi David,

    Any updates on the availability of the second printing? I’ve seen photos of pages on other websites and it looks great–all the issues I had with the first printing appear to have been resolved. But I’m assuming those photos were from preview copies rather than purchases of the book.

  18. Hello / I am also interested if the publisher will have an exchange mechanism for the first printing, and I do agree that the gray print is a bit difficult to see. Thanks / Bob.

  19. In addition to the font size and color issues with the first printing, I am concerned about the elimination of the “lead lines,” those headless arrows connecting explanatory notes to the pertinent part of the bird.

    Any chance that the lead lines will be restored in the second printing?

  20. Marcelle Sprecher

    We love the new edition of the book however, suggest an addition to the section on Cassini’s auklet when it is reprinted or apped. The current section does not mention its blue legs which are one of its most identifying features. Thanks

  21. The publisher, Knopf (a division of Random House), is offering a free replacement of the first printing of Sibley’s Guide with the much improved second printing:

    If you bought the 1st printing of Sibley’s 2nd edition then Random House will send you the improved 2nd printing if you call Random House customer support at (800) 793-2665.

    Thanks to Dalcio on BirdForum for pointing this out.

  22. Any update on the second edition of the app? I recently switched phone ecosystems and would rather not repurchase the app until I can get the updated version.

  23. Why is the font used, so tiny and so gray? This beautiful volume is ruined by its fonts, which I can only read in bright light, holding the book so dead still least the grayish lettering won’t disappear into the white background. Please, PLEASE up the font size in future volumes and only use black lettering. A great book is no good if it takes a magnifying glass and headlights for its audience to read. Sadly this otherwise beautiful book isn’t going into the field with me. My dog-eared, coffee stained, beat up older edition will have to do its work a bit longer.

  24. Love the new edition! We discovered, though, that on page 17, the map used for Wood Duck is wrong… looks like the printer pulled the wrong file? (Just guessing, but it looks like it might be the Anhinga map?)

    Alas, I guess it’s already time for an Errata page!? (Sorry!)

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