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Parrots of the Wild: A Natural History of the World's Most Captivating Birds

Flora / Fauna

By: Catherine A Toft (Author), Timothy F Wright (Author), James D Gilardi (Foreword By)

345 pages, 94 colour photos and b/w illustrations, 4 tables

University of California Press

Hardback | Dec 2015 | #223978 | ISBN-13: 9780520239258
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £29.95 $37/€34 approx

About this book

Parrots of the Wild explores recent scientific discoveries and what they reveal about the lives of wild parrots, which are among the most intelligent and rarest of birds. Catherine A. Toft and Tim Wright discuss the evolutionary history of parrots and how this history affects perceptual and cognitive abilities, diet and foraging patterns, and mating and social behavior. The authors also discuss conservation status and the various ways different populations are adapting to a world that is rapidly changing. Parrots of the Wild focuses on general patterns across the 350-odd species of parrots, as well as what can be learned from interesting exceptions to these generalities.

A synthetic account of the diversity and ecology of wild parrots, Parrots of the Wild distills knowledge from the authors' own research and from their review of more than 2,400 published scientific studies. Parrots of the Wild is enhanced by an array of illustrations, including nearly ninety color photos of wild parrots represented in their natural habitats. Parrots of the Wild melds scientific exploration with features directed at the parrot enthusiast to inform and delight a broad audience.

"A must have for those with a serious interest in parrots."
The Birdbooker Report

"A rich celebration and study of 'the most human of birds.'"
Library Journal

"Parrots of the Wild is an exhaustive compendium of information about parrots, from their evolutionary history to their behavior to present-day conservation issues. A must-have for anyone interested in these amazing creatures."
– Irene M. Pepperberg, Professor at Harvard University and author of Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence – and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process

"The wide range of scientific expertise that Toft and Wright command is impressive and thoroughly presented. This book is extremely important as a reminder that wild parrots exist and need our conservation attention."
– John M. Marzluff, coauthor of Gifts of the Crow and In the Company of Crows and Ravens

"If you like parrots then you'll love this book. From their evolutionary past to their modern-day love lives, Parrots of the Wild presents a suitably captivating read. I thought I knew a lot about parrots – until I delved into these pages."
– Tony Juniper, author of What Has Nature Ever Done for Us? and Spix's Macaw: The Race to Save the World's Rarest Bird

"Parrots of the Wild contributes very significantly to our knowledge of these fascinating birds. I am most impressed by the wealth of information provided here. I recommend it to anyone with an interest in parrots."
– Joseph M. Forshaw, Department of Ornithology, Australian Museum, and Corresponding Fellow, American Ornithologists Union


Foreword by James D. Gilardi
Preface and Acknowledgments

PART I: The World of Parrots: Introducing the Psittaciformes
1. What Are the Parrots and Where Did They Come From? The Evolutionary History of the Parrots

PART II: The Functional Parrot: Physiology, Morphology, and Behavior
2. The Thriving Parrot: The Foods and Beaks of Parrots
3. The Sensible Parrot: How Parrots Perceive and Use Information
4. The Thinking Parrot: The Brains of Parrots and How They Use Them

PART III: The Lives of Parrots: Mating, Life History, and Populations
5. Sex and Marriage: The Mating Systems of Parrots
6. From the Cradle to the Grave: The Life History of Parrots
7. Populations of Parrots: Conservation and Invasion Biology

Epilogue: Themes and Threads Uniting the Chapters of This Book


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Catherine A. Toft was Professor Emerita in the Department of Evolution and Ecology at the University of California, Davis at the time of her death in December 2011. She was coeditor of Parasite-Host Associations: Coexistence or Conflict? (Oxford University Press, 1994) and many scientific papers.

Timothy F. Wright is Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at New Mexico State University. He has studied parrots in the wild and the laboratory for more than twenty years and is the author of over fifty scientific papers and book chapters.

James Gilardi (author of Foreword) is director of the World Parrot Trust.

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