The Handbook of Australian Sea-Birds
Published by A.H. & A.W. Reed (Australia & New Zealand), 1971.
10 x 7.5 in. 254 pages. Heavily illustrated with colour and black & white photos, plus line drawings and maps.
Condition: very good. This is a nice clean, straight copy with no markings or inscriptions.
Most Australians live near the sea. As a result, interest in sea-birds is strong, particularly since these are large, fairly tame and hence easily watched. Whether this interest is amateur or professional, this book is a "must".
It is written from an intimate knowledge gained by the authors who have spent much of their lives living with and studying sea-birds. They have worked from the sub-Antarctic to Torres Strait, from the Abrolhos Islands to the Coral Sea and in all states of the Commonwealth.
This is the first book to deal comprehensively with all the sea-birds of Australia which, in total, amount to about one-sixth of the bird species of that continent. These include a substantial number that frequent the seas around New Zealand and South Africa, and accordingly, this book can be used with profit by naturalists in these countries.
The authors have summarised the state of knowledge (at time of publishing) concerning these birds, and deal in detail with their life histories and distributions. Every known nesting place is listed and the descriptions, which emphasise diagnostic features, together with the numerous photographs and sketches, enable each species to be identified in the field.
The sections on sea-bird geography include an account of the past and present environments within which the Australian birds have evolved and are evolving. Many aspects of sea-bird biology are discussed such as their conservation requirements, their use as food, and current research programmes.
The authors suggest how to go about a sea-bird study and in their accounts emphasise the gaps in our knowledge. An extensive bibliography, not restricted to Australian publications, enables the reader to locate the major research papers for each species and topic.