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This book is a totally fresh approach to observing birds in southern Africa. It affords you the opportunity to gather previously inaccessible and indecipherable information in the form of tracks and signs left behind by our avifauna. The book explores the unique details of the spoor, or tracks, of many species of birds. This is done in multiple ways including by observing their droppings, examining their feeding behaviour as well as their general nesting structures.
It’s remarkable how tracks and signs in nature help you to enrich your knowledge of bird species, providing knowledge as straightforward as the shape of the individual nests of our various species of weaver, or the ability to recognise and understand the role of a drum-site in the life of a bearded woodpecker, or even being able to see the subtle signs of a cardinal woodpecker on the various acacia pods which host its larval food.
Louis Liebenberg has generously provided some sketches of spoor he has made for his own publications, making these clear schematics available to assist with identification. Skulls, feathers, beaks and egg shells are also occasionally encountered, and a few examples of these will be included, as they also tell a story of a bird which has passed by. This approach to southern Africa’s birdlife will add tremendously to how we experience our wonderful avifauna.
In this book, Adrian Koopman describes the complex relationship between birds, the Zulu language and Zulu culture. A number of chapters look at the underlying meaning of bird names, and here we will find that the Zulu name of the Goliath Heron means ‘what gives birth to baby crocodiles’, the dikkop (umbangaqhwa) means ‘what causes frost’, and the African Hoopoe is a party-goer who wears a colourful blanket.
The book goes further than just Zulu names, exploring the underlying meanings of bird names from other South African languages and languages from Central and East Africa. Here we find birds with names that translate as ‘cool-porridge’, ‘kiss-banana-flower’ and ‘waiter-at-the-end-of-the furrow’.
A focus on Zulu traditional oral literature details the roles birds have played in Zulu praise poetry (including the praise poems of certain birds themselves) and in proverbs, riddles and children’s games. Also considered is traditional bird lore, examining the role played by various species as omens and portents, as indicators of bad luck and evil, as forecasters of rain and storm, and as harbingers of the seasons. Here we see that the Bateleur Eagle (ingqungqulu) is linked to war, the Southern Ground Hornbill (insingizi) to thunder and heavy rain, the Red-chested Cuckoo (uphezukokhono) to the start of the ploughing season, and the Jacobin Cuckoo (inkanku) to the start of summer.
Zulu Bird Names and Bird Lore discusses the Zulu Bird Name Project, a series of Zulu bird name workshops held between 2013 and 2017 with Zulu-speaking bird guides designed to confirm (or otherwise) all previously recorded Zulu names for birds, while at the same time devising new names for those without previously recorded names. The result has been a list of species-specific names for all birds in the Zulu-speaking region. Finally, the book turns to the role such new bird names can play in conservation education and in avi-tourism.
The humble and industrious dung beetle is a marvellous beast: the 6 000 species identified so far are intricately entwined with human history and scientific endeavour.
These night-soil collectors of the planet have been worshipped as gods, worn as jewellery, and painted by artists. More practically, they saved Hawaii from ecological blight, and rescued Australia from plagues of flies. They fertilise soil, cleanse pastures, steer by the stars, and have a unique relationship with the African elephant (along with many other ungulates). Above all, they are the ideal subject for biological study in an evolving world.
In this sweeping history of more than 3 000 years, beginning with Ancient Egypt, scientist Marcus Byrne and writer, Helen Lunn capture the diversity of dung beetles and their unique behaviour patterns. Dung beetles’ fortunes have followed the shifts from a world dominated by a religion that symbolically incorporated them into some of its key concepts of rebirth, to a world in which science has largely separated itself from religion and alchemy.
With over 6 000 species found throughout the world, these unassuming but remarkable creatures are fundamental to some of humanity’s most cherished beliefs and have been ever present in religion, art, literature, science and the environment. They are at the centre of current gene research, play an important role in keeping our planet healthy, and some nocturnal dung beetles have been found to navigate by the starry skies. Outlining the development of science from the point of view of the humble dung beetle is what makes this charming story of immense interest to general readers and entomologists alike. This entertaining outline of the development of science from the the beetle’s perspective will enchant general readers and entomologists alike.
'Packed with insight and anecdote, his story brings the Tower ravens to vivid life, each bird with a personality of its own. I've been fortunate enough to tour the Tower and meet the ravens a few times in years past; after reading this book, I cannot wait to go back' George R. R. Martin For centuries, the Tower of London has been home to a group of famous avian residents: the ravens. Each year they are seen by millions of visitors, and they have become as integral a part of the Tower as its ancient stones themselves. But their role is even more important than that - legend has it that if the ravens should ever leave, the Tower will crumble into dust, and great harm will befall the kingdom. One man is personally responsible for ensuring that such a disaster never comes to pass - the Ravenmaster. The current holder of the position is Yeoman Warder Christopher Skaife, and in this fascinating, entertaining and touching book he memorably describes the ravens' formidable intelligence, their idiosyncrasies and their occasionally wicked sense of humour. Over the years in which he has cared for the physical and mental well-being of these remarkable birds, Christopher Skaife has come to know them like no one else. They are not the easiest of charges - as he reveals, they are much given to mischief, and their escapades have often led him into unlikely, and sometimes even undignified, situations. Now, in the first intimate behind-the-scenes account of life with the ravens of the Tower, the Ravenmaster himself shares the folklore, history and superstitions surrounding both the birds and their home. The result is a compelling, inspiring and irreverent story that will delight and surprise anyone with an interest in British history or animal behaviour.
"Meshing deft scientific text with Tuttle's sumptuous images, it's a superb introduction to the baroque morphologies and flying prowess of these beguiling beasts."- Nature Bats: An Illustrated Guide to All Species looks in detail at the more than 1,300 species known today. Nocturnal, fast-flying and secretive, they are endlessly fascinating, yet extremely difficult to observe and catalogue. The diversity of bats is both rich and underestimated and the threats they face from humans are very real. This guide illuminates the world of bats and reveals their true nature as intelligent, social and deeply misunderstood creatures. This extravagantly illustrated handbook features the work of famed nature photographer Merlin D. Tuttle and in-depth profiles of 288 bats, from the Large Flying Fox, which has a wingspan of more than five feet, to the Bumblebee Bat, contender for the world's smallest mammal. Bats includes close-up images of these animals' delicate and intricate forms and faces, each shaped by evolution to meet the demands of an extraordinarily specialized life, and a thorough introduction which explores their natural history and unique adaptations to life on the wing. If you like this you might also be interested in Owls by Marianne Taylor . . .
What's the difference between a swallow and a swift? How many species of ducks, penguins, owls or thrushes are there? Which is the rarest parrot or the most endangered hummingbird? What do toucans eat? Discover all the key facts about the world's orders and families of birds with this ultimate handbook. Expert ornithologist Jonathan Elphick provides a comprehensive survey of every one of the 36 orders and 234 families of birds, revealing their remarkable diversity, appearance, behaviour and lifestyle. With clear, lively text, informative fact boxes that include the latest research and data, and special photography from award-winning wildlife photographers such as David Tipling, The Handbook of Bird Families belongs on the shelf of everyone interested in birds.
Enter a hidden world of snail killers, silly names and crazy sex in The Secret Life of Flies. Entomolologist Erica McAlister dispels many common misconceptions and reveals how truly amazing, exotic and important these creatures really are. From hungry herbivores and precocious pollinators to robberflies, danceflies and the much maligned mosquito, McAlister describes the different types of fly, their unique and often unusual characteristics, and the unpredictable nature of their daily life. She travels from the drawers of wonder at the Natural History Museum, to piles of poo in Ethiopia, via underground caves, smelly latrines and the English country garden. She discovers flies without wings, rotating genitalia and the terrible hairy fly, while pausing along the way to consider today's key issues of conservation, taxonomy, forensic entomology and climate change. Combining her deep knowledge and love of flies with a wonderful knack for storytelling, Erica McAlister allows us to peer - amazed and captivated - into the secret life of flies.
In Birds, devout birder and ornithologist Roger J. Lederer celebrates the heyday of avian illustration in 40 artists' profiles, beginning with the work of Flemish painter Frans Snyders in the early 1600s and continuing through to contemporary artists like Elizabeth Buttersworth, famed for her portraits of macaws. Stretching its wings across time, taxa, geography, and artistic style - from the celebrated realism of American conservation icon John James Audubon, to Elizabeth Gould's nineteenth-century renderings of museum specimens from the Himalayas, to Swedish artist and ornithologist Lars Jonsson's ethereal watercolours - this book is a cornucopia of art and artists as diverse and beautiful as their subjects.
Danny works at Belle Vue Zoo, where - alongside training the famous elephant Maharajah - he helps out with the day-to-day tasks of caring for the animals. But when animals start escaping, Danny is the prime suspect: after all, he was a former street urchin and pickpocket. When a man turns up claiming to be his father, the plot thickens. Can Danny untangle the mystery of the animal escapade - and find out where he really belongs - in order to clear his name?
Mama's Last Hug is a whirlwind tour of new ideas and findings about animal emotions, based on Frans de Waal's renowned studies of the social and emotional lives of chimpanzees, bonobos and other primates.
It opens with the moving farewell between Mama, a dying 59-year-old chimpanzee matriarch, and Jan Van Hoof, who was Frans de Waal's mentor and thesis advisor. The filmed event has since gone viral (over 9.5 million views on YouTube).
De Waal discusses facial expressions, animal sentience and consciousness, the emotional side of human politics, and the illusion of free will. He distinguishes between emotions and feelings, all the while emphasizing the continuity between our species and other species. And he makes the radical proposal that emotions are like organs: we haven't a single organ that other animals don't have, and the same is true for our emotions.
It soon became clear that Africa was far more than political skulduggery, starving refugees and mind-numbingly overcrowded cities. It was also full of the most astounding creatures on earth that did the damnest things. Did you know that albatrosses use howling jet streams to criss-cross the planet? Or that dams cause earthquakes? Or maybe that most seahorses dance at dawn?" the author writes in the preface of this extraordinary title. This title, which is drawn from the author's monthly columns for "Getaway" on natural history, is full of humour, detail and speculation. It moves between disciplines as "nature's many quirks" are revealed and "startlingly large questions are dredged from little things ordinary folk pass over with hardly a glance.
The classic field guide to snakes found in the Old Dominion, now available in paperback.
Red wolves are shy, elusive, and misunderstood predators. Until the 1800s, they were common in the longleaf pine savannas and deciduous forests of the southeastern United States. However, habitat degradation, persecution, and interbreeding with the coyote nearly annihilated them. Today, reintroduced red wolves are found only in peninsular northeastern North Carolina within less than 1 percent of their former range. In The Secret World of Red Wolves, nature writer T. DeLene Beeland shadows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's pioneering recovery program over the course of a year to craft an intimate portrait of the red wolf, its history, and its restoration. Her engaging exploration of this top-level predator traces the intense effort of conservation personnel to save a species that has slipped to the verge of extinction. Beeland weaves together the voices of scientists, conservationists, and local landowners while posing larger questions about human coexistence with red wolves, our understanding of what defines this animal as a distinct species, and how climate change may swamp its current habitat.
In this unique and unprecedented study of birding in Africa, historian Nancy Jacobs reconstructs the collaborations between well-known ornithologists and the largely forgotten guides, hunters and taxidermists who worked with them. Drawing on ethnography, scientific publications, private archives and interviews, Jacobs asks: How did white ornithologists both depend on and operate distinctively from African birders? What investment did African birders have in collaborating with ornithologists? By distilling the interactions between European science and African vernacular knowledge, this work offers a fascinating examination of the colonial and postcolonial politics of expertise about nature. It is also a riveting history of the discovery of certain bird species.
The go-to photographic guide to all the damselflies and dragonflies recorded in Europe, including the Macaronesian Islands and western Turkey Europe's Dragonflies is a comprehensive, lavishly illustrated and beautifully designed photographic field guide to the damselflies and dragonflies of Europe. Written by two well-travelled experts, the book covers all 140 resident and vagrant species recorded, focussing on the field identification of adult insects. Concise species profiles highlight key identification features and provide information on behaviour, habitat preferences, distribution, flight periods, status and conservation. Other sections cover identification tips, conservation status and legislation. Presenting an unsurpassed selection of images of the highest quality, this is the go-to guide for anyone wishing to know more about these amazing and fascinating insects. Comprehensive coverage of every species of damselfly and dragonfly recorded in Europe Stunning colour plates showing males, females, immatures, colour forms, subspecies and typical habitat for every species Over 1,200 superb photographs, supplemented with illustrations of fine details Detailed profiles for the 140 resident and vagrant species Unique comparison plates for difficult groups Easy to use by beginners and experts alike, avoiding technical terms
Informative, accurate, and easily comprehended by the scientist and the layperson, this book will be a useful tool for anyone interested in northeastern United States fish identification, life history, and distribution. Robert G. Werner presents the most current information available to aid in identifying the most distinguishable characteristics. The guide includes illustrations that accurately depict the morphology and color of fishes in the region. A source of detailed information, the book goes beyond simple identification to include complete species and reference lists.
Eyes with more than 6,000 separate lenses; bodies so hairy that they attract pollen by static; the ability to communicate by dancing... bee stats are endlessly engrossing. And the bee is as important to the production of human food as any machine; without the bees to pollinate them, most of our crops would be dead in the field. So how did this furry little workaholic come to be so crucial to the planet? The Bee: A Natural History answers that question and many more, looking at bee development from 65 million years ago to today, when over 20,000 bee species have been identified and beekeeping is enjoying a surge in popularity. Exploring evolution, anatomy, society, behaviour, and the human factor, and presenting a visual directory of 40 bee breeds alongside practical fact panels, this is the book that will become a buzz word for every keeper, student, or lover of bees.
How can you tell when a Rufous or a Ruby-throated hummingbird will be in your neighborhood? What is the correct sugar-to-water ratio for your visiting hummingbirds? Should you put red dye #2 in the mixture? How do you keep that feisty Rufous from scaring other hummers away? Hummingbird enthusiast Dan True answers these questions and many more in this beautifully illustrated, informative guide to the sixteen species of hummingbirds that breed in the United States and Canada. Available in this handy guide are life-size photos of the male and female of each of the sixteen species, detailed information on each species, maps showing where the species can be spotted, how hummers mate, when and where they migrate to and from, and new banding information. There is also easy-to-follow, step-by-step information on how to photograph hummingbirds in flight. True has spent years talking to other hummer experts and enthusiasts and includes here anecdotes from all over the country that help readers understand why hummingbirds do what they do. An indispensable book for any one with a hummingbird feeder.
The second book in the bestselling BATTLE OF THE BEETLES series! 'Truly great storytelling.' MICHAEL MORPURGO on BEETLE BOY Cruel beetle fashionista, Lucretia Cutter, is at large with her yellow ladybird spies. When Darkus, Virginia and Bertolt discover further evidence of her evil, they're determined to stop her. But the three friends are in trouble. Darkus' dad has forbidden them to investigate any further - and disgusting crooks Humphrey and Pickering are out of prison. Hope rests on Novak, Lucretia's daughter and a Hollywood actress, but the beetle diva is always one scuttle ahead ...
Sunday Times Bestseller `Passionate and well-researched' Tatler `A must-read' Independent A social history of Labradors, and how they have become the world's most beloved dogs, by writer, presenter and long-time dog lover Ben Fogle. Labradors are the most popular breed of dog in the world. Not only a great family companion, they also excel at hunting, tracking, retrieving, guiding and rescuing. But where did the breed originally come from? How did it develop? When did black, yellow and chocolate Labradors first appear? Did they really all come from Labrador in Canada and are they really all related to just one dog? In this first history of the Labrador, Ben Fogle goes in search of what makes Labradors so special. Their extraordinary companionship, intelligence, work ethic and loyalty is captured by Ben as he weaves the story of the breed into his own story of his beloved Inca. Ben visits Canada, discovers hair-raising stories of early Labrador exploits and uncovers stories of RNIB Labradors and Labradors at war, Labradors as working dogs and every other manifestation of the Labrador's character. Exploring their origin, early characteristics, their use as gun dogs, as therapy dogs, as police dogs, as search and rescue dogs and last - and absolutely not least - as family pets, Ben tells the story of a dog breed which has captured our imagination and love for hundreds of years.
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