Nigel Andrew

Beware the Cassowary

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


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.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Terrifyingly I'm already at work (ha!) making the April issue. Feel like the March number came out but seconds ago.… ,
    • Charles I: King & Collector is until 15 April: Here's assistant editor Davi… ,
    • "Ivor Novello installed a mirrored bedroom in his apartment over the Strand Theatre ... with furniture veneered in… ,
    • Our 'footprints' series has writers talking about place and inspiration. This month it's Donald Rayfield on Dostoev… ,
    • RT : ‘Meticulously documented, full of drama … complex and compelling … this is a tale fluently told, and a thriller as… ,
    • There's still time to enter: win a brace of tickets to see the new West End production of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Hu… ,
    • "For Jane Austen, ‘abroad’ was Lyme Regis. What if the author, celebrated on postage stamp and banknote, had ‘seen… ,