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  • Published: 17 September 2019
  • ISBN: 9780143772156
  • Imprint: RHNZ Godwit
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $55.00

The Brilliance of Birds



New Zealand birds like you've never seen them before.

Who knew that the morepork, our forest-dwelling owl, can turn its head 270 degrees? Or that the eastern bar-tailed godwit doubles its body weight before undertaking an epic and continuous migration of 11,000 kilometres? Or that the tui has a specially placed voicebox, enabling it to duet with itself, sometimes producing sounds too high-frequency for humans to hear?

Zany, off-kilter, wondrous and wild, The Brilliance of Birds gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lives of some of New Zealand’s feathered friends.

  • Published: 17 September 2019
  • ISBN: 9780143772156
  • Imprint: RHNZ Godwit
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $55.00

About the authors

Skye Wishart

Skye Wishart is a journalist with a passion for science writing. Her degree in biochemistry and plant genetics initially led her to work in marine research in the South Island; then, after a sojourn in science journal publishing, she turned to the written word. Skye has written news for New Zealand Geographic magazine since 2009, as well as features and communications for other magazines and corporate clients.

Skye grew up on a hill-country station outside Gisborne but is now based in Torbay, Auckland, with her husband and young family. She loves the great outdoors: hiking, surfing and ocean swimming.

Edin Whitehead

Edin Whitehead is a seabird scientist and award-winning photographer who spends most of her time hanging out with petrels and shearwaters in the Hauraki Gulf. If she were a bird, she would be one of these ocean wanderers.

Mixing science with photography, her birdventures have covered Aotearoa from north to south – including the remote Kermadec, Chatham and subantarctic islands. Her PhD research focuses on seabirds as the sentinels of marine ecosystems, monitoring how environmental change impacts on their health.

For the journeys that created the photographs in this book, and many more besides, see her blog at www.edinz.com.

Praise for The Brilliance of Birds

Skye Wishart writes pithy, informative text that doesn't seek to be comprehensive, and is all the better for it. She weaves together quirky facts, told with flair and inventiveness ... a remarkable collection.

Shaun Barnett, Backcountry

In a word, The Brilliance of Birds by journalist Skye Wishart and seabird scientist/photographer Edin Whitehead soars. The 'brilliance' of the title can equally be applied to the book's breath-taking presentation, gorgeous photos and sharp writing. Young minds as well as old ones like mine will fall prey to the beautiful plumages and unabated cacophony of startling facts, strung together by a chatty narrative that almost disguises the depths the authors are prepared to dive to. Without shrieking it like a kaka from the treetops, this book is really what it says in the subtitle: A New Zealand Birdventure.

Peter Shand, NZME Regionals

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Which New Zealand bird are you?

Answer our questions below and come on a Birdventure with us, we'll tell you which bird you are - based on the books featured in The Brilliance of Birds!

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The Brilliance of Birds author Q&A

 Wondrous and wild, The Brilliance of Birds gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lives of some of New Zealand’s feathered friends. We the extraordinary minds behind this beautiful book Skye Wishart and Edin Whitehead all about this New Zealand Birdventure!

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