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Flight of the budgerigar: an illustrated history.Flight of the budgerigar: an illustrated history

Penny Olsen

Canberra: National Library of Australia, 2021.

Octavo, paperback, 251 pp., colour photographs and illustrations.

The Budgerigar is arguably Australia’s best-known bird. At the same time, it is so ubiquitous that not everyone knows that it is Australian. Nor do many realise that the multicoloured bird that comes to mind — not to mention today’s super-sized, extravagantly coiffed show budgie — is as different from the free-living original as a chihuahua from a wolf. Far from the cosy domestic lives our pet budgies live today, the native budgerigar has lived millennia of boom-bust cycles in the arid inland of Australia.

Taking the reader from the Dreamtime to the colonial live bird trade, the competitive culture of the showroom and today’s thriving wild flocks, Flight of the Budgerigar is the authoritative history of the Budgerigar, written by respected ornithologist Dr Penny Olsen, and lavishly illustrated in full colour.