From 1908 onward, he studied zoology at the Universities of Jena, Munich and Freiburg, earning his PhD at Munich in 1920. Within this time frame he participated in the "Second Freiburg Expedition" to the Moluccas (1910–12) and performed military service (1914–18). From 1921 onwards he was in charge of the bird department of the Berlin Zoological Museum, In 1930 he became a titled professor, and from 1946 to 1961 he was a "professor with tenure" for zoology at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He was decorated with GDR Patriotic Order of Merit.
Stresemann was the long-standing editor of the Journal für Ornithologie (1922 onward). As editor, he demonstrated a preference for articles dealing with the anatomy, physiology and the behaviour of birds. His major publication was the volume Aves (1927–1934) in the Handbuch der Zoologie (Handbook of Zoology). He also wrote Entwicklung der Ornithologie von Aristoteles bis zur Gegenwart (1951), a review of the development of ornithology from Aristotle to modern times, translated into English in 1975 as "Ornithology from Aristotle to the Present".
- Biographical information from the manual "Who was who in the GDR?" 5 Issue. Volume 2 Ch links, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-561-4.
- Ibis Volume 115, Issue 2, Article first published online: 3 APR 2008
- Google Books Ornithology, Evolution, and Philosophy: The Life and Science of Ernst Mayr ...by Jürgen Haffer
- Thomas Junker. „Ornithology and the genesis of the Synthetic Theory of Evolution,” Avian Science 3, Nos 2 & 3 (2003): 65-73.
- In Memoriam: Jurgen Haffer, 1932–2010, and his contributions to zoology and the history of science Zoosyst. Evol. 88 (1) 2012, 5–12 / DOI 10.1002/zoos.201200001
- Friedmann, Herbert (April 1952). "Reviewed work: History of Ornithology from Aristotle to the Present Time (Entwicklung der Ornithologie von Aristoteles bis zur Gegenwart) by Erwin Stresemann". Bird-Banding 23 (2): 91–93.
- Erwin Stresemann (1975). Ornithology from Aristotle to the Present. Harvard University Press. 432 pages.
- WorldCat Title Ornithology from Aristotle to the present
- "Author Query for 'Stresem.'". International Plant Names Index.
- Data related to Erwin Stresemann at Wikispecies