BWP is the standard abbreviation for 'Handbook of the Birds of Europe the Middle East and North Africa' which is a very wordy title quite similar to many other books on European birds. The series does have a highly distinctive subtitle, though: 'The Birds of the Western Palearctic'. The series editor is Stanley Cramp.

BWP provides full descriptions for over 770 species of birds which occur in the Western Palearctic region. These vary from short accounts of rare vagrants to ten or more large double-columned pages on species which breed in the region. Each account includes black and white and colour illustrations, maps and range information and descriptions of field character (identification), habitat, distribution (including historical), food, breeding and voice (often including sonograms). As such, BWP is the prime work for European ornithological information in English.

BWP was published by the Oxford University Press in nine volumes over the period 1977 to 1994, though it was initially meant to appear in seven parts, and more quickly. The series was developed as a replacement for the Handbook of British Birds (1938 - 1941), taking into account the many advances in ornithology - and indeed in printing. Not to be overtaken by continuing advances in both data capture (birding) and data distribution, BWP had produced a concise edition, a CD-ROM version and now produces a BWP Journal with updates to species accounts, including new species for the region.

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