The equipment listed below is what the Canadian Bird Photographer recommends for bird photography. Since I use Nikon equipment, I can only claim to have a better understanding of Nikon equipment. Contact the Canadian Bird Photographer if you have questions.
The equipment below is Nikon, but the equivalent in lens and Cameras are avaiable from Canon etc.
A lens in the focal length of 80 - 400mm would be a good combination with a camera body with an APS sensor. This combination would give you 120 - 600mm in the Nikon line up - Canon's APS sensor is 1.6, so you would get a little longer reach. A combination of a 1.4,1.7 teleconverter and a 70 - 200mm 2.8 would be good for closer birds.
The Canadian Bird Photographer recommends a good tripod. There are many excellent tripod brands on the market Induro, Gitzo, Feisol, and Manfrotto. Also, it is important to have a good tripod head. The Canadian Bird Photographer uses a Benro Video head for the simple reason, it is light, quick mounting for the lens. The most popular heads are made by Wimberley, but are expensive. Inaddition you will need mounting plates for the brand of tripod head and flash bracks with cables, see below. Some other spealized equipment you might want to consider is a Blind, Camo clothing, and a good book on bird identification or better still an App for your phone or I pad.
For more information to help you pick a tripod < Click here >
To extend the distance on your flash you may want to consider buying a Better Beamer flash extender. For birds at a distance it is a must buy.
Hairy Woodpecker by David Lilly
Common Merganzer by David Lilly
D 800 or D 800E
New D 7200
Nikon 200-500 F5.6
New D 500
AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR Lens