Australian Birds of Prey: The Biology and Ecology of Raptors

9780868400396: Australian Birds of Prey: The Biology and Ecology of Raptors

The extraordinary wildlife of Australia has long held a special fascination for people throughout the world. Now international authority Penny Olsen offers the definitive work on Australia's spectacular birds of prey.

With more than 300 dramatic color photographs and detailed illustrations by noted wildlife artists, Australian Birds of Prey is the ultimate guide to the ecology, predation, and behavior of these majestic animals. From the diminutive Collared Sparrowhawk to the powerful Wedge-tailed Eagle, birds of prey inhabit virtually every corner of the continent. But why is Australia considered a "land of falcons"? How has its arid climate and long isolation from other continents affected its population of raptors? Why are there no Australian vultures?

In describing Australia's twenty-four species of birds of prey, Olsen relates their complex biology to the continent's unique geography and ecology. She explains why species such as the Nankeen Kestrel and Brown Falcon can range widely from coastal cliffs and river valleys to arid grasslands and wooded hillsides. She describes why others, such as the Red Goshawk, Pacific Baza, and Brahminy Kite, have ranges dramatically limited by their dependence on particular habitats and types of prey. Throughout, she focuses of important conservation issues that affect the well-being of raptors in the wild. She also describes their interactions with humans and recent advances in the care of sick and captive birds.

Beautifully illustrated and uniquely authoritative, Australian Birds of Prey is a must for all ornithologists and bird lovers -- and for anyone with an interest in the wonders of Australia.

"Birds of prey invoke a powerful image, at once fascinating, but never dull. For centuries, perhaps more than any other bird group they have been reviled and revered, protected and persecuted, used and abused by humans. Terms such as 'eagle-eyed' and 'soar like an eagle' have almost universal meaning, and representations of birds of prey on military and business insignia evoke feelings of power, confidence and mastery of the elements." -- from Australian Birds of Prey

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About the Author:

Penny Olsen is research fellow in the Division of Botany and Zoology at Australian National University.

From Library Journal:

Too bad for those who think that this fine title has too narrow a focus. Olsen (Australian National Univ.) covers the raptors of Australia very well but deals primarily with universal subjects even as she draws mainly from examples of that continent. General chapters concern raptor basics, ecology, predation, reproduction, health, study methods, interactions with humans, and conservation. An attractive format with elegant charts and tables as well as 250 spectacular color photos combine to make this a stunning monograph, well referenced and authoritative. Because its focus is more cosmopolitan, Scott Weidensaul's Raptors (LJ 3/15/96) is a better selection for most general libraries, but larger institutions should also acquire Olsen's marvelous, large-format book. It is a beauty.
Henry Tucker Armistead, Free Lib. of Philadelphia
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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