Apart from the physical copies of bird field guides that I own, I frequently consult a number of free ebooks that I have downloaded from the internet, while writing the birding articles on this blog. I often get queries about the source of these bird books and most people are surprised to know that they are available for free on the web.
Most of these are Indian government work done before 1947, and is public domain under the Indian Copyright Act 1957. It is available under a Creative Commons Public Domain License.
I have put together a list of books below which have proved very useful to me, providing more information on birds, their habits, distribution and habitats than is commonly available in the field guides that I use. These may not be “up to date” ( especially regarding current nomenclature and classification), but information such as this does not get out-dated.
The books are available to read online or download in a variety of formats such as PDFs or in EUPUB, Kindle etc, which are suitable for a number of ebook readers. If you are downloading the PDF version, I would suggest using the “PDF with text” link, as these will make the files searchable.
Please use the links provided below to access the books on Archive.org - a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form, which provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.
If my readers are aware of more useful, freely available ebooks that are worth sharing, please leave a link in the comment section.
The Birds of Southern India including Madras, Malabar, Travancore, Cochin, Coorg and Mysore. By Baker, HR and C M Inglis (1939) - Here
Popular handbook of Indian Birds by Hugh Whistler (1949) - Here
The Book of Indian Birds, by Salim Ali (1941) - Here
The Fauna of British India (includes Ceylon and Burma). E C Stuart Baker
Birds – Vol 1
Birds – Vol 2
Birds – Vol 3
Birds – Vol 4
Birds – Vol 5
Birds – Vol 6
Birds – Vol 7