Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to British Birds (pocket version), written and Illustrated by Bill Bailey (Quercus paperback, £14.99 – signed copies available while stocks last)

Now you may have noticed: I do love my birds. So sometimes I can be quite critical of books by other birders. Comedian Bill Bailey has managed to completely charm me however with this handy A-Z of UK birds. Each bird is accompanied by a photograph, a personal description of the bird which encapsulates its character as much as physical description, and then some quirky drawings by the man himself.

This is no ordinary bird guide: magpies are described as being the “dandy highwaymen of British Birds,” the loud hissing and odd grunting sound of the Mute Swan is “very much like my old Physics teacher Mr Spalding” and in a lovely turn of phrase, Bill describes himself having “a quick squiz through the binoculars.”

Bailey wants us to share in the joy these creatures have given him over the years. He obviously travels around a lot with his comedy tours and so often finds himself in new places. I’m sure most comedians head straight for the pub but Bill refreshingly heads for the bay, the heath and the remote island and this is his scrapbook.

The familiarity he has with the birds around him is comforting and reassuring. He delights not necessarily in the rare birds much sought out by seasoned twitchers, but in observing the rituals of everyday birds such as the Pied Wagtail that we see regularly on motorway service stations, or starlings, whose murmurations are worth seeking out as one of the great wonders of nature, or the long-tailed tits who, he enthuses, 'always seem to be delighted by the day'.

This delightful pocket-sized book is chatty, funny, anecdotal and suitable for all ages. A very welcome addition to your ornithological canon (or birdy bookshelf.)

Review by Philippa Morris, Little Apple bookshop