Identification guides and resources


Download our free resources to help you identify some common British plants and animals.


Part of the OPAL Tree Health Survey.

Part of the OPAL Air Survey.

Hedgerow plants

  • Hedgerow guide (PDF, 775KB)
    An illustrated guide to common hedgerow plants.

Part of the OPAL Biodiversity Survey


  • Duckweed guide (PDF, 215KB)
    Discover the 6 most common species found in UK ponds and lakes.

Part of the OPAL Water Survey.


  • Seaweed guide (PDF, 2MB)
    A guide to common seaweeds you can find on the British coast.

Part of the Big Seaweed Search.


Bee Orchid
  • Bee Orchids (PDF, 915KB)
    Discover Bee Orchids and their relatives, and help NHM scientists track the spread of this species.


  • Urban ferns (PDF, 2.16MB)
    A guide to 8 common wall ferns that can be spotted around British towns and cities.


  • Lichens guide (PDF, 1.6MB)
    A simple guide to nine common lichens.

P​art of the OPAL Air Survey.


A moss commonly found in orchards


Part of the OPAL Water Survey.


Part of the Soil and Earthworm Survey.

Freshwater invertebrates

  • Freshwater invertebrates (PDF, 583KB)
    Water boatman or water beetle? Identify the aquatic invertebrates living in your pond.

Part of the OPAL Water Survey.

House spiders

Zebra jumping spider
  • Spiders in your home guide (PDF, 1.4MB)
    Learn more about the different species that share our living spaces and what time of year you can find them.


  • Moth Tips 1 (PDF, 2.65MB)
    How to trap and identify moths.
  • Moth Tips 2 (PDF, 4.81MB)
    A guide to common British moths.
  • Moth Tips 3 (PDF, 3.25MB)
    Learn how to identify British and Irish micro-moth families.

Common invertebrates

Part of the OPAL Biodiversity Survey and OPAL Bugs Count Survey.


  • Amphibians (PDF, 367KB)
    Sort your frogs from your toads with this helpful identification guide.

Part of the OPAL Water Survey


  • Classification pack (ZIP, 2.56MB)
    Aimed at Key Stage 3, this pack includes lesson plans to support the teaching of biological classification.

Heathland field guide

Tree Pipit

  • Heathland guide (PDF, 3.19MB)
    A free guide to the reptiles, invertebrates, birds and plants that make their home in heathland.

Bats in flight

Brown Long-eared Bat

  • Bats in flight guide (PDF, 1.36MB)
    Key details to help you identify five of the most common species you can see in our skies.

More ID guides

Still struggling?

Identify anything and everything with help from these online communities:

  • iSpot – upload your wildlife pictures and a community of experts and enthusiasts will identify them.
  • Natural History Museum: ID forums  – get help with identifying everything from fossils to birds.