Extinct Birds of New Zealand

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More About This Title Extinct Birds of New Zealand


In New Zealand’s lush rainforests, isolated from the outside world for 80 million years, many extraordinary birds evolved. They included the giant moa, the beautiful huia, and the largest eagle the earth has ever seen. Within a few hundred years, human settlement extinguished 58 species – over a quarter of the species. For the first time ever, this book brings all these lost birds to life. In rich colour, celebrated painter Paul Martinson depicts each bird in its original habitat. Te Papa palaeontologist Alan Tennyson provides detailed information on the birds as well as a compelling overview of their tragic extinction. This book is essential reading for experts, students, and anyone interested in the unique natural history of this island nation.


Author Alan Tennyson is Curator of Fossil Vertebrates at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. He has published numerous papers in New Zealand’s leading ornithological journal Notornis and in the natural history publication Forest & Bird, as well as contributing to various books including Handbook of the Birds of Australia, New Zealand & Antarctica (Oxford University Press, 1990), Birds to Watch 2: the World List of Threatened Birds (BirdLife International, 1994) and, ongoingly, the complete checklist of the birds of New Zealand. Paul Martinson’s detailed, lifelike paintings of New Zealand birds are collected internationally. A self-taught artist, he was named New Zealand Wildlife Artist of the Year in 1990. His previous publications include Paul Martinson’s New Zealand Birds (Grantham House, 1991) and the limited edition New Zealand’s Extinct Birds (Random Century, 1991). His work has appeared on stamps and has featured in various wildlife magazines both in New Zealand and overseas. He is deeply committed to conservation issues.