GRASSWRENS – Australian Outback Identities

$40.00

Further published material is cited in the text and is fully referenced in the Bibliography. Our intention rather, is to present information from a variety of sources, much of which may not be found conveniently elsewhere, and some is otherwise unpublished.
Chapter 1 introduces grasswrens in their avian family the Maluridae and covers their distribution and the slowly emerging understanding of the group’s composition. It examines the discovery and naming of species, the long period in the first half of the 20th century, when little was learnt about them and much uncertainty prevailed, and finally, the last half century of progress towards our present still tantalisingly incomplete state of knowledge. Some may find Chapter 1 excessively technical and prefer to start with Chapter 2 which discusses the nature and behaviour of grasswrens, their subtle variety and the habitats that they occupy. There is a tight relationship between grasswrens and their habitats and we have therefore provided a relatively detailed account of that subject. Chapter 3 outlines some aspects of their social organisation, as far as it has been investigated. Much more research is needed in that field.

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Description

This is a quality hard cover book with a dust jacket, written by Andrew Black and Peter Gower, the book contains lots of nice photos and descriptive text. The authors have not set out to document all that is known about grasswrens.

The interested reader will find much important information in monographs on the family of Papuan-Australian wrens by Schodde (1982) and by Rowley and Russell (1997), and in Volume 5 of the Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds (Higgins, Peter and Steele 2001).

An excellent illustrated introduction to grasswrens, and Australian birds generally, can be accessed on Graeme Chapman’s website at www.graemechapman.com.au.
Further published material is cited in the text and is fully referenced in the Bibliography. Our intention rather, is to present information from a variety of sources, much of which may not be found conveniently elsewhere, and some is otherwise unpublished.

Chapter 1 introduces grasswrens in their avian family the Maluridae and covers their distribution and the slowly emerging understanding of the group’s composition. It examines the discovery and naming of species, the long period in the first half of the 20th century, when little was learnt about them and much uncertainty prevailed, and finally, the last half century of progress towards our present still tantalisingly incomplete state of knowledge.

Some may find Chapter 1 excessively technical and prefer to start with Chapter 2 which discusses the nature and behaviour of grasswrens, their subtle variety and the habitats that they occupy. There is a tight relationship between grasswrens and their habitats and we have therefore provided a relatively detailed account of that subject.

Chapter 3 outlines some aspects of their social organisation, as far as it has been investigated. Much more research is needed in that field.
All eleven species are accorded an individual chapter, and the order given generally follows the chronology of their discovery in the scientific sense of formal description and recognition.

In those respects, the last discovered was the Grey Grasswren which is the most distinctively plumaged, the most genetically divergent and arguably the most primitive of the genus.

Each species account covers its discovery, formal description, distribution, populations and habitats, followed by subspecies descriptions, genetic contributions, taxonomic issues and hints on where to find them. A discussion on the present understanding of relationships of all species to one another is placed in the last species chapter on the Grey Grasswren, chapter 14.

Broad identification questions are illustrated in the images. A distributional map, derived from public databases and private information, is shown for each species. We are more confident about distributions of some species than of others and have omitted outlying records ifunable to gain corroborative support for them.

The maps are therefore generally conservative and we welcome information that might improve our knowledge. Separate chapters cover voice, nests and eggs and conservation issues.

Additional information

Weight 1.075 kg
Dimensions 30.54 × 22.0 × 1.9 cm

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