Auckland: G. J. Books, 2016. Octavo, paperback, colour photographs.
The origin of New Zealand birds is a story whose continuing evolution in the last 30 years especially has upset many apple carts - from the idea that the moa has evolved from a small South American bird which flew to ancient New Zealand, to the seeming preposterous suggestion that the kiwi is more closely related to the Madagascan elephant bird than the moa. What, then, of the kakapo, kea, tui, rifleman, stitchbird and the rest of our iconic New Zealand birds? Garry Sheeran has dug up what professionals are re-discovering about the origin of New Zealand birds with the help of modern scientific tools. A particular theme is the influence of Australian avifauna on New Zealand's bird life. In Part 1 he tells of his layman's latter-day interest in birds with enthusiasm, originality and charm. He also traces how the origin stories of birds are closely connected to the origins of the islands and continents on which they are found. Part 2 contains specific origin stories of more than 80 land and shore birds, and traces their possible connection to Australian birds. The book is aimed as much at readers with little knowledge of New Zealand's bird life as it is at enthusiastic and knowledgeable birders.
Price: $40.00 AU