Covers the loss of flight in birds, both permanently after years of evolution, and temporarily as a result of unusual moulting behaviour, and those species that are in various stages of losing their flight. The book includes sections on the major groups of flightless birds: those whose ancient ancestors were on the continents when they broke away millions of years ago, and who survived despite competing with mammals; birds that were marooned on islands in the ocean, where food was plentiful and predators absent; penguins, which evolved alongside seas teeming with food and had no need to fly, and the special case of New Zealand's many flightless species which evolved in a predator-free paradise but could not cope with the settlers and their alien animals; and the many species which have become extinct within historic times.
"Roots, a zoo director, describes the flightlessness of wild birds whose ancestors could fly, including how their abilities changed due to evolution. He also discusses temporary and compromised flightlessness and the birds' habitat, range, physiology, food, breeding, predation, and threats. Species covered: ratites such as ostriches and emus; the rallidae family, which includes woodhens and rails; gliders; penguins; grebes and cormorants; waterfowl; and extinct species. Color and B&W photos are incorporated." -
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CLIVE ROOTS has been a zoo director for many years. He has travelled the world collecting live animals for zoo conservation programmes. He has acted as a planning and design consultant for numerous zoological gardens and related projects around the world, and has written many books on zoo and natural history subjects.