The World of Birds

Hardback - September 2014 - AU $89.95

A beautiful and definitive guide to every aspect of bird life and a complete survey of the world's orders and families of birds.

Explore the wonders of the avian world with this ultimate reference book. The World of Birds is a comprehensive guide to every aspect of bird life and a concise survey of the world’s orders and families. Highly respected ornithologist and wildlife expert, Jonathan Elphick, begins by defining the distinguishing features of birds before going on to describe their evolution since the age of the dinosaurs. + Full description

With the aid of fact boxes and clear photographs, he then explores in greater detail each of the significant elements of bird life: bird biology including anatomy, walking and swimming, plumage, calls and songs; flight techniques and styles; food and feeding; bird lifestyles and social relationships; breeding, growth and development; bird geography and habitats; and the mysteries of migration. He also considers human attitudes towards birds through the ages.

This beautiful volume has been published in a limited print-run partnership with the Natural History Museum, London and CSIRO Publishing. It will be a timeless reference and perfect gift for bird watchers.

- Short description


"I just love this book"
Ian Fraser, Sydney Morning Herald, December 2014

"... well written and well illustrated introduction to the avian world. I enjoyed reading and reviewing it, and learned plenty."
Steve Holliday, Canberra Bird Notes, 39(3), December 2014, pp. 213-215

"Elphick provides a level of detail beyond compare, even presenting select descriptions on the odour of certain species."
Wild, Nov/Dec 2014, p. 72

" should get this book"
Wildlife Australia, Autumn 2015, p. 47

"This book is an encyclopaedic treatment of just about everything the amateur birder or ornithologist might want to know about the origins, basic biology, behaviour, ecology, biogeography, and ‘family trees’ of the world’s birds (and it is a handy summary for professionals, too). It is a book that we have needed for a long time"
Stephen Debus, Australian Field Ornithology, 33, 2016, pp. 33-34


Hardback | September 2014 | $ 89.95
ISBN: 9781486302925 | 612 pages | 280 x 216 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Colour photographs, Illustrations, Maps


  • Written by highly regarded ornithologist and natural history expert
  • Definitive guide to every aspect of bird life
  • Sumptuously illustrated throughout with photographs, maps and diagrams


Early birds
Anatomy and physiology
Food and feeding
Bird society and populations
Where do birds live?
Birds and humans
The bird families
Further information


Jonathan Elphick, BSc, FZS, FLS, is a highly regarded wildlife writer, editor, consultant, lecturer and broadcaster, specialising in ornithology. During a career spanning over 40 years, he has worked on many books, including spending twelve years as specialist researcher on Birds Britannica and Birds & People. He has also written a variety of titles, such as the bestseller Birdsong, Birds: The Art of Ornithology and the award-winning Birdwatcher’s Handbook, and was a contributing editor on Natural History Museum Atlas of Bird Migration.