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About the book
  • Published: 22 April 2015
  • ISBN: 9780143570929
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • RRP: $55.00

The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand


Formats & editions


A classic revised: the new edition of this monumental and much-loved book features its biggest update ever. A wonderful celebration of New Zealand's extraordinary and diverse birdlife.

A classic revised: the new edition of this monumental and much-loved book features its biggest update ever. A wonderful celebration of New Zealand's extraordinary and diverse birdlife.

'You can put your hand on this book and swear by it, because it's the bible. Every bird of town, bush, swamp, island, beach, river and the sea is here – accurately, intricately, and beautifully observed.' — Steve Braunias: author of How to Watch a Bird

The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand is the modern classic of the genre – the tried and trusted reference for lovers of New Zealand birds.

Comprehensive, reliable and easy to use, this fourth revised edition features:
374 species, including 35 new additions – the book's biggest revision since first publication 85 stunning colour paintings of New Zealand birds, including rare and recently extinct species an introduction to key bird-watching sites distribution maps and an in-depth guide to field identification an additional handbook section that includes information on the distribution, habitat, population, conservation, breeding, behaviour and feeding habits of each species.

The only field guide to New Zealand birds officially endorsed by the Ornithological Society of New Zealand, this is the most authoritative reference available – a wonderful celebration of our extraordinary and diverse birdlife.

'This new edition of The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand will become a much-loved companion of mine – and as well-thumbed as its predecessors.' — Alison Ballance: natural history writer, wildlife film-maker and science broadcaster

  • Pub date: 22 April 2015
  • ISBN: 9780143570929
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • RRP: $55.00

About the Authors

Barrie Heather

Barrie Heather (dec. 1995) was educated at King's College and the University of Auckland (BA and MA Hons) before undertaking a career as a high school teacher and a tutor at the Open Polytechnic.

Heather was editor of the scientific journal Notornis for 17 years and authored or co-authored over 35 scientific publications, including the superbly titled 'Welcome Swallow at Farewell Spit'. He also won several OSNZ commendations, including the Falla Memorial Award and being made an Honorary Life Member.

Heather is survived by his wife, four children and a wader-attracting corgi.

Hugh Robertson

Hugh Robertson was educated at Massey University (BSc Hons) and Oxford University (DPhil). He is currently a Principal Science Advisor at the Department of Conservation (DOC) and has worked for the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) for over 35 years, specialising in kiwi research for the past 23.

Author or co-author of over 60 scientific publications, Robertson is an acknowledged expert in his field, serving as the Oceania representative on the CITES Animals Committee and as scientific advisor to the Kakerori Recovery Programme in the Cook Islands. He has won several awards for his work, including the Ornithological Society of New Zealand's AT Edgar Junior and Falla Memorial awards. He is a regular commentator on Radio New Zealand National.

Robertson lives in Wellington, and is married with two children and a kiwi-finding labrador.

Derek Onley

Derek Onley moved from the UK to New Zealand in 1972 via Southampton, Swansea, Portugal, Cambridge and Oxford. He lived for many years on the West Coast as an ornithological hippie, and among other things he trapped possums, built a house or two and was active in native forest conservation. After 20 years of wet feet, he moved east to Waitati where he lives with his partner and cat, continues to study birds and grows vegetables, trees and roses. In between he has carried out fieldwork in New Zealand and many offshore islands. His illustrations have appeared in field guides worldwide and he is currently working on a guide to Paraguay birds.


Praise for The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand

“For those new to birdwatching, this fully revised edition is the definitive source for identifying both native and exotic species – I particularly like the birdsong descriptions.”

Christine Rush, New Zealand Gardener


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