Beak Speak


 Grassfinches in Australia - Book Review

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Authors of Grassfinches in Australia Joseph M Forshaw and Mark Shephard OAM, have joined forces to present their combined knowledge of Australian Estrildidae in the wild and in captivity. This title is dedicated to the late Richard Zann, who contributed much to the knowledge of Australian grassfinches through his extensive research. The foreword is presented by Walter Boles, of the Australian Museum.


Superb illustrations by Anthony Pridham adorn the pages, with each species group presented on a full page. Frank Knight contributed line drawings and text figures.


The introduction includes the taxonomic arrangement by order, family and tribe, and individual chapters present the member genus and subgenus.


The introductory pages include wild aspects on distribution and habitat preferences, movements, social behaviour, vocalisation, feeding and drinking, courtship and mating, breeding seasons and nest construction, nesting behaviour development of young and conservation. Captive details outline an overview of Australian grassfinches in Australian culture, status, aviary management, housing, compatibility and temperament, diet, breeding, diseases and ailments as well as mutations.


In the individual genus and subgenus chapters, extensive details include description, in the format that we are familiar with in other texts by Forshaw, supported by distribution maps. Field notes include movements, diet and feeding, vocalisation, courtship and nesting.


Mark Shephard contributes the aviary notes, with sections on status in Australian aviculture, housing, compatibility and temperament, feeding, breeding, mutations, colour variations and hybrids.


This monograph is beautifully presented—the illustrations by Tony Pridham are truly magnificent and the information the most up-to-date available to ornithology and aviculture alike.


The resulting combination of superb artwork and scientifically accurate text ensures that this volume will become a standard reference work on Australian grassfinches.


A magnificent gift and a must-have in any bird-lover’s library, particularly those with a passion for finches.


Hard Cover with Dust Jacket, 318 Colour Pages

RRP $185.00 + P&H


Reviewed by Sheryll Steele-Boyce

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