This stunning book covers the endemic birds of New Zealand, both living and extinct, concentrating on features that make them unique and interesting. New Zealand's birds include the largest living rail and the largest living parrot. Among the extinct species included in the book are the world's tallest bird, biggest penguin, biggest eagle and biggest owlet-nightjar. The text is written by one of New Zealand's foremost experts on our birdlife, Brian Gill, who is Curator of Birds at the Auckland Museum. Accompanied by Geoff Moon's beautiful photo-graphs this book will make your discovery of New Zealand's unique birds an enjoyable and informative journey. New Zealand is a region where the relative proportion of endemic species (birds found nowhere else) is high. There are two main reasons - New Zealand is an ancient land in the sense that it has been virtually isolated for more than 80 million years and represents a natural experiment on a grand scale. If the mammals of the world had died out with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, and if birds had come to dominate terrestrial habitats, how would birds have evolved? The development of New Zealand birds in the absence of mammals has provided answers to questions like these and yielded a bird life rich in endemic species. All New Zealand's unique birds are included in this single large volume, which contains over 300 colour photographs.
Brian Gill has been Curator of Birds at Auckland Museum since 1982. His research has included studies of Whiteheads on Little Barrier Island, and the remains of extinct New Zealand birds. He has served on the councils of the Ornithological Society of New Zealand and the Miranda Naturalists' Trust. New Zealand's Unique Birds is one of several books he has written, including New Zealand's Extinct Birds and The Kiwi and other Flightless Birds