A Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (Pizzey)

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A Field Guide to the Birds of Australia
A Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (Pizzey).jpg
Author Graham Pizzey
IllustratorRoy Doyle and with extra plates by Frank Knight in the 1997 and later editions
Cover artistRoy Doyle
SubjectAustralian birds
Genre Field guide
Publisher Collins: Sydney
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback)
Pagesiv + 460
ISBN 0-00-219201-2

A Field Guide to the Birds of Australia was first published in 1980 by Collins, Sydney. It was authored by Graham Pizzey with illustrations by Roy B. Doyle. The first edition was issued in octavo format, 220 mm in height by 140 mm width, with a foreword by Dr D.L. Serventy. It contained 460 pages of text with 32 black-and-white and 56 colour plates illustrating nearly all species of birds recorded in Australia at the time of publication. The plates were bunched between pages 300 and 301, while there were 725 maps of breeding distribution on pages 411-442 between the main text and the indexes, as well as maps of Australia in the end papers. [1] Its success was such that it was followed by several further editions.



In the preface to the seventh edition, Sue, Caroline, Sarah and Tom Pizzey explain some of the background to the work:

"The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia was first published in 1980, after more than fifteen years in the making. While it has continued to evolve through numerous reprints and revised editions, taking in new information, taxonomic changes, and changes in the way information has been presented, the voice throughout has remained resolutely that of its author, Graham Pizzey.

"Following the death of Graham, our husband and father, in late 2001 it soon became clear that we were all keen to see the Guide continue. After all, the entire family was there at its inception and development: travelling to various corners of the continent as Graham took countless photographs and recorded observations in the field. An article in the Herald in July 1967 shows the three Pizzey children sprawled on the living-room floor, poring over a map as we traced the journey we were about to make up through the Centre and down the west coast. The ‘Big Trip’ was to form the basis of the research for the first edition of the Guide, and was to give us an indelible appreciation of the natural world. And we’ve been involved in various ways ever since: looking at proofs, being asked for an opinion on an illustration or cover, or listening to an attempt to capture the call of a bird on paper. Responsible for providing his own children with an extraordinary childhood, this Guide is now being enjoyed by Graham’s small grandchildren. Its continuing relevance underpins our desire to see it remains in print, updated and augmented regularly." [2]

Later editions

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  1. Pizzey (1980).
  2. Pizzey & Knight (2003), p.xiv.
  3. Pizzey & Knight (1997).