A Complete Guide to Arctic Wildlife
A Complete Guide to Arctic Wildlife
A Complete Guide to Arctic Wildlife A Complete Guide to Arctic Wildlife

* Book Type:

Publisher: Firefly Books

Author Statement: by Richard Sale with photographs by Per Michelsen and Richard Sale
Audience: Trade
Specs: over 400 color photographs, 200 range maps, index
Pages: 464
Trim Size: 7" x 10" X 1 3/16"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20120719
Copyright Year: 2006
Price: Select Below


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A Complete Guide to Arctic Wildlife

A comprehensive field guide to Arctic wildlife that looks at the ecological and human dynamics for the circumpolar region. In-depth information is provide on it's mammals and birds and features extensive photography and range maps.

The most comprehensive field guide to Arctic wildlife.

This is the ideal guidebook to the wildlife of the Arctic, which is undergoing such a perilous change. Polar expert Richard Sale describes the ecological and human dynamics of the Arctic as a whole, with detailed information about the peoples of the region and their history. He also discusses the future for the region and its wildlife, severely threatened by both climatic change and the overwhelming pollution created by humankind.

Following sections on Arctic geology, geography, speciation and biogeography, the book provides extensive field coverage of all the region's mammals and birds. In-depth information on each species includes notes on identification, size, voice, distribution, diet, breeding, taxonomy and more.

A Complete Guide to Arctic Wildlife is packed with stunning photographs and features range maps of the entire circumpolar ranges -- including oceans and seas -- of the various polar creatures. This beautifully illustrated and authoritative book will provide a renewed understanding of the Arctic and its unique challenges.


Richard Sale is the author of Polar Reaches: The History of Arctic and Antarctic Exploration. He lives in the UK.

Per Michelsen frequently photographs the northern reaches of the globe. He lives in Norway.



The Arctic can appear empty. It can also appear an extremely harsh and unforgiving environment, demanding to all who venture there. It is both those things, but it can also be magical.

This book is a celebration of the Arctic. It deals primarily with its wildlife, but a discussion of birds and mammals cannot restrict itself solely to identification, diet and breeding biology; it must also consider the wider picture. It cannot ignore the geology, the geography and the climate that define the habitat in which those animals and birds live. It cannot ignore the threats currently faced by the region, such as climate change, and the probable outcome for the wildlife if those threats are ignored.

The book starts by defining the Arctic and by considering how animals and plants have evolved to cope with the tough Arctic environment. The adaptations of these creatures are discussed, as are the ways their evolution has been driven by the ebb and flow of polar ice. Next the book moves on to look at the human history of the area, followed by a discussion of the threats posed to the Arctic and its wildlife by human activity.

Following the extensive field guide to the bird and mammal species, there is a visitor's guide to the Arctic, which looks in brief at what each region has to offer the wildlife observer, and the ease of travel to it.

Richard Sale, June 2006




  • Defining the Arctic
  • Arctic geology
  • The Arctic climate
  • Humans in the Arctic
  • Arctic habitats
  • Adaptations for Arctic life
  • Speciation and biogeography
  • The fragile Arctic

How to use the field guides

Field guide to Arctic birds

  • Loons
  • Grebes
  • Albatrosses, petrels and allies
  • Cormorants
  • Wildfowl
    • Swans
    • Geese
    • Ducks
  • Raptors
  • Grouse
  • Cranes
  • Waders
    • Plovers
    • Stints and sandpipers
    • Snipes and dowitchers
    • Curlews, godwits and allies
    • Turnstones
    • Phalaropes
  • Skuas
  • Gulls
  • Terns
  • Auks
  • Owls
  • Kingfishers
  • Larks
  • Swallows
  • Pipits and wagtails
  • Thrushes and chats
  • Warblers, tits and chickadees
  • Crows
  • New World warblers
  • New World sparrows and buntings
  • Finches

Field guide to Arctic mammals

  • Shrews
  • Rodents
  • Lagomorphs
  • Ungulates
  • Carnivores
    • Dogs
    • Bears
    • Cats
    • Mustelids
  • Pinnipeds
  • Cetaceans

A visitor's guide to the Arctic