336 pages, b/w illustrations
Australian Bird Names is aimed at anyone with an interest in birds, words, or the history of Australian biology and bird-watching. It discusses common and scientific names of every Australian bird, to tease out the meanings, which may be useful, useless or downright misleading!
The authors examine every species: its often many-and-varied common names, its full scientific name, with derivation, translation and a guide to pronunciation. Stories behind the name are included, as well as relevant aspects of biology, conservation and history. Original descriptions, translated by the authors, have been sourced for many species.
As well as being a book about names this is a book about the history of ever-developing understandings of birds, about the people who contributed and, most of all, about the birds themselves.
"The authors examine every Australian species: its often many-and-varied common names, its full scientific name, with derivation, translation and a guide to pronunciation. Pricey for what it is unless you have a particular interest in the derivation and etiology of Australian bird names."
- BTO book reviews
"[...] These few shortcomings do not detract from the overall quality of the book and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in the birds of Australia. Because the country’s bird list contains many Palaearctic and Asiatic migrants, it should also appeal to a much wider audience."
- Richard Mearns, Ibis 156, 2014
How common names of Australian birds have been derived
How scientific names of birds are derived
Procedures and pronunciations
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Ian Fraser is a naturalist, conservationist, author, ABC broadcaster, natural history tour guide, environmental consultant and adult educator who has lived and worked in Canberra since 1980. He was awarded the Australian Natural History Medallion in 2006, for services to conservation and education, and is the author of A Bush Capital Year.
Jeannie Gray is a retired teacher and counsellor with a lifelong passion for the study of languages and natural history.