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New book on kiwi launched

December 5, 2011

New book on kiwi launched

A Massey ecologist has teamed up with a leading wildlife photographer to produce the definitive book on New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi.

Kiwi: A Natural History was written by Dr Isabel Castro and features photographs by Rod Morris.

Dr Castro has been working with kiwi since 1999, with a focus on their behaviour.

“I’ve specifically been looking at the sense of smell that kiwi uses when foraging, but also in their interactions with their environment and other kiwi,” she says.

“They really are a very unique bird. They are a collection of odd characteristics – some of them coming from dinosaurs – that have been patched together in a strange way.”

She says the book is aimed at a general audience “and compiles all of the literature that has already been written about kiwi, it is a great reference tool”.

The book covers all aspects of kiwi, from their evolution, prehistory and closest relatives to their feeding and breeding behaviour and current conservation issues, making this the perfect introduction for anyone with an interest in these fascinating birds.

There are five recognised species of kiwi, distributed unevenly in locations throughout New Zealand and ranging from the most widespread, the North Island brown kiwi, to the most endangered, the rowi.

The book is the second title in a new series on New Zealand’s wildlife, targeted at a family readership.

Since acquiring her PhD at Massey, Dr Castro has closely studied New Zealand’s native birds, with particular focus on hihi, saddlebacks and kiwi. Among other published works, she is co-author of A Guide to the Birds of the Galápagos Islands (Christopher Helm, 1996).


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