Nigel Andrew

Beware the Cassowary

Where Song Began: Australia's Birds and How They Changed the World

By Tim Low

Yale University Press 406pp £20 order from our bookshop

Big, loud, belligerent, gregarious, fiercely competitive – in many ways Australia’s birds conform to the negative stereotype of their human compatriots. Happily, though, these less than attractive traits are not the only things that make Australia’s birds distinctive, as Tim Low, an eminent field biologist, explains in this illuminating and engaging study. They are at the very heart of the story of the world’s birds: it is to Australia that the world owes all its songbirds, parrots and several other bird groups.

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