1) Fraser, Ian and Jeannie Gray. Australian Bird Names: A Complete Guide. 2013. CSIRO Publishing. Paperback: 336 pages. Price: $55.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: 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.
RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with a serious interest in the birds of Australia or ornithological nomenclature.
2) Frith, Clifford B.. The Woodhen: A Flightless Island Bird Defying Extinction. 2013. CSIRO Publishing. Hardbound: 225 pages. Price: $59.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This book tells the fascinating success story of saving the flightless Woodhen of Lord Howe Island. This unique large rail, an iconic and highly endangered Australian bird, was at the very brink of extinction with just 15 individuals found in 1980, when bold and risky actions were taken to save it.
The book begins with the discovery and ecology of Lord Howe Island. It then details the history of the Woodhen, its place among the rails and their evolution of flightlessness, the planning, implementation and trials, tribulations and successes of the captive breeding programme and the way in which the wild population recovered. The ecology, behaviour and breeding biology of this unique flightless island rail are also discussed. The text is accompanied by numerous photographs and drawings.
This is a story of survival, yet the bird remains highly endangered as it is under constant potential threat, which could tip it over the brink and to extinction. The Woodhen provides gripping insights into the potential for both losing and saving vertebrate species.
RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interest in rails and/or island biogeography.