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Flora / Fauna

Series: Australian Natural History Series

By: Darryl N Jones and Ann Göth

120 pages, Col photos


Paperback | Mar 2009 | #177508 | ISBN-13: 9780643093454
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £32.95 $43/€36 approx

About this book

The Megapodes are an ancient and remarkable group of birds that occur only in Australia, Papua New Guinea and the islands that surround them. Within this group, there are 22 species of mound-builders, three of which occur in Australia in dramatically differing habitats: the Scrubfowl lives in the humid tropics; the Brush turkey in dense forested areas from Cape York to Sydney; and most remarkable of all, the Malleefowl, which lives in the arid interior.

Mound-builders are unique in being the only birds that do not incubate their eggs using body heat; rather, a variety of naturally occurring sources of heat is exploited such as solar energy, geothermal and, most commonly, the heat generated by decomposing organic matter.

This book shows how this remarkable adaptation influences every part of these birds' lives, including the development of the embryo, the parentless life of the hatchlings, their social organisation and their survival. Scientific interest in these birds has increased significantly in recent decades, and Mound-builders summarises many significant discoveries. Much of this research has been focussed on the three Australian species, which provide greatly contrasting approaches to surviving in different parts of the continent.

This title presents first comprehensive review of megapode research for over a decade. It provides detailed comparison of the three Australian species. It offers excellent introduction to one of the most unusual bird families. It is written by the two foremost authorities in the field. It provides first popular descriptions of many recent highly significant discoveries.

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Darryl Jones has been studying mound-building birds for 30 years, and has observed them in the wild throughout Australia and in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. He is a co-founder of the Megapode Specialist Group, affiliated with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and is one of the authors of the authoritative monograph The Megapodes. He is especially interested in their behavioural ecology and is currently investigating the unexpectedly successful invasion of Australian Brush-turkeys into suburbia. Originally from Austria, Dr. Ann Goth first worked on megapode birds in Tonga, and then conducted her PhD studies on the Australian brush-turkey at Griffith University in Brisbane. She continued to work on these birds while at Macquarie University in Sydney. Today, she works for the Department of Environment and Climate Change in Sydney.

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