In 1838, John Gould, the father of Australian ornithology, visited Australia with the intention of gathering material for his great work on Australian birds. In the resulting publication, The Birds of Australia: In Seven Volumes (1848), and the accompanying Supplement (1869), Gould named, for the first time, no fewer than 32 Australian bird species. Gould's words about the Norfolk Island Kaka were prophetic – the last bird of its kind died in a cage in London in 1851. Since then, a number of other species illustrated in The Birds of Australia have become extinct and others are now facing extinction.
John Gould's Extinct and Endangered Birds of Australia features 59 plates of birds from Gould's eight-volume work, birds that today are threatened or that no longer exist. Featuring exquisite full-colour lithographs reproduced from the National Library of Australia's copy of The Birds of Australia, John Gould's Extinct and Endangered Birds gives an insight into the history of each bird's European discovery, as well as its subsequent fortunes or misfortunes.