Review: Book of Curious Birds

Strange birds with stranger names appear in the Book of Curious Birds.

Another gloriously illustrated book by Tasmanian artist and writer Jennifer Cossins, delivers close-up views of beautiful and unique birds with a summary of their life patterns.

Twenty-eight entries, each one accompanied by a full page image, come with vital information, specifically on their location, lifespan, height and conservation status. They can be flightless, carnivorous, endangered and totally family oriented.

Through the narrative, we discover singular habits of these unusual birds: the sounds used to communicate, how fast they can run, how high they jump, and mating rituals you will be astonished to read about.

Which species are monogamous, others polygynous (have more than one mate)? How many of the male partners incubate the eggs? Why do certain species gather in leks?

The Southern Cassowary leads the colourful parade. Flightless and the largest of the three species, it is the most dangerous bird alive. This is due to its middle, dagger-like claw. A kick can kill you.

Females are larger than males. Only coming together to breed, the female abandons the eggs for the male to incubate. He cares for the chicks till they are ten months old.

The Hooded Pitohui is the most toxic bird of all. The toxicity comes from food they eat. In this case the Choresine beetle.

Tufted Puffins return to their birthplace every year to breed.

The Greater sage-grouse is named after the sagebrush leaves they feed on.

Shaped like a crescent, the Vogelkop superb bird-of-paradise, only recently was identified.

The tiny Tufted Coquette of the Amazon is brightly coloured and feeds mostly on nectar.

Whether it is about the North-Island Brown Kiwi, the Greater Prairie Chicken, the Rhinoceros Hornbill with its unique-shaped casque made of keratin that mates for life, you will find plenty in this book that is weird, to impress and surprise.

Each page is a revelation. Don’t forget to check the Glossary for definitions of unknown words.

Title: Book of Curious Birds
Author/Illustrator: Jennifer Cossins
Publisher: Hachette, $ 26.99
Publication Date: 27 October 2021
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780734420473
For ages:10+
Type: Junior Non Fiction

November 27, 2021 at 12:32AM Anastasia Gonis