Cover image for Extinct birds
Extinct birds
Fuller, Errol.
Personal Author:
Revised edition.
Publication Information:
Ithaca, N.Y. : Comstock Pub., [2001]

Physical Description:
398 pages : illustrations (some color). ; 29 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL676.8 .F85 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize
QL676.8 .F85 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference

On Order



We learn from an early age that nothing is quite so dead as a dodo. We've heard stories of flocks of passenger pigeons once darkening the skies over North America, only to be reduced to a single bird, Martha, who perished in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1914. Errol Fuller's gloriously illustrated Extinct Birds provides details of the natural history and fates of more than 80 species of birds now believed to be gone forever. In a lively, compelling style, Fuller conveys accurate scientific and historical information about the lives, times, and disappearances of bird species since 1600. Fuller's species accounts are vivid reminders of what birds, precisely, the world has already lost. The physical evidence provided by preserved specimens is given narrative texture with Fuller's use of eyewitness accounts of the lives (and, in many cases, the last days) of bird species from all over the world. Nearly all the accounts in Extinct Birds are illustrated with breathtaking color plates, many by artists, including Audubon, Keulemans, and Lear, who had the advantage of working from fresh specimens or even from living birds. These paintings, beautiful in their own right, are also primary sources of scientific knowledge. Birds for which appropriate illustrations did not already exist are shown in new paintings produced especially for this book.The revised edition of Extinct Birds includes several species among them three from North America not covered in the original 1987 edition. More happily, two species have been rediscovered in the intervening years, and several others in danger of being declared extinct have been located again. By describing in words and pictures the beauty and diversity of those birds already lost to extinction, Fuller inspires us to do what we can to prevent future editions of Extinct Birds from drawing new chapters from the field guides of today."

Author Notes

Errol Fuller is a painter of sporting subjects, particularly boxing, who lives in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, U.K.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Errol Fuller's lavish book-with 59 colorplates and 81 black-and-white drawings-covers 75 bird species that have become extinct since 1600. Color portraits include those by artists such as Walter Rothschild, John James Audubon, and Fuller himself, whose text concerning the birds, their habitats, and their demise is based on skeletal specimens and eyewitness accounts by early explorers and naturalists. Cook Islands, Fiji, Inaccessible Island, and the Galapagos are just a few of the many exotic places Fuller describes. A fine book for bird lovers, agreeably fleshed out by some fascinating general history. Bibliography; index. GC. 598'.042 Birds, Extinct [CIP] 87-9073

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this well-researched study, artist Fuller gathers information about the 75 species of birds that have vanished since 1600. Organized by families, the book describes each species, its habitat and distribution; there are firsthand accounts of sightings by early travelers, a record of the last sighting and probable cause of extinction. Some of the birds are familiarthe heath hen, passenger pigeon, dodo and great auk; mosquitoes and rats from ships brought destruction to certain island birds, and starving Japanese soldiers ate the last Wake Island rail during World War II. Although similiar material on extinct birds appeared in David Day's The Doomsday Book of Animals, the difference here is the magnificent illustrations. Fuller presents paintings and sketches that include 300 years of dodo illustrations, for example. This is a book that will interest professional and amateur birders alike. (March) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The first book devoted solely to extinct birds since Walter Rothschild's classic Extinct Birds (1907), this new and attractive work has an enthusiastic preface by Rothschild's niece, Miriam, a famous naturalist in her own right. Its scope is wisely limited to the 75 birds known to have become extinct since 1600. Highly illustrated, with 59 color and 81 black-and-white illustrations, it boasts a detailed but interesting and well-written text, plus good referencing. Endangered species are included. With many island birds now threatened, and the extinction rates of all life forms escalating out of control in tropical forests, artist-naturalist Fuller's fine book is most welcome and germane. Henry T. Armistead, Thomas Jefferson Univ. Lib., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The first thing that strikes the reader is the large number of species that are included-75 once-common species that have become extinct since 1600. Bird species have become extinct at an even more rapid pace than anyone other than a specialist in the field would have imagined. Fuller is an artist, not a professional ornithologist, but he certainly fits the specialist category. An amazing amount of work has gone into the preparation of this volume. Fuller has listed synonyms, descriptions when available, something of the history of the study, and an account of the history of extinction of the particular species. Good illustrations (most in color) add to the usefulness of the book. There are a useful bibliography and an interesting final chapter, ``Hypothetical Species and Mystery Birds''.-R.T. Kirkwood, formerly University of Central Kansas

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 12
Introductionp. 14
Ratitesp. 26
Aepyornis (Aepyornis maximus)p. 34
Slender Moa (Dinornis torosus)p. 35
Great Broad-billed Moa (Euryapteryx gravis)p. 41
Lesser Megalapteryx (Megalapteryx didinus)p. 46
Tinamous, Penguins, Divers, Grebesp. 52
Atitlan Grebe (Podilymbus gigas)p. 56
Albatrosses and Petrelsp. 58
Guadalupe Storm Petrel (Oceanodroma macrodactyla)p. 62
Pelicans and Related Birdsp. 64
Spectacled Cormorant (Phalacrocorax perspicillatus)p. 68
Herons, Storks and Related Birdsp. 72
Rodrigues Night Heron (Nycticorax megacephalus)p. 76
Waterfowlp. 78
Labrador Duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius)p. 85
Auckland Islands Merganser (Mergus australis)p. 87
Pink-headed Duck (Rhodonessa caryophyllacea)p. 91
Korean Crested Shelduck (Tadorna cristata)p. 96
Birds of Preyp. 98
Guadalupe Caracara (Polyborus lutosus)p. 103
Gallinaceous Birdsp. 106
New Zealand Quail (Coturnix novae-zelandiae)p. 111
Himalayan Mountain Quail (Ophrysia superciliosa)p. 114
Rails and Related Birdsp. 116
Chatham Islands Rail (Rallus modestus)p. 125
Wake Island Rail (Rallus wakensis)p. 127
Tahitian Red-billed Rail (Rallus pacificus)p. 128
Ascension Island Rail (Atlantisia elpenor)p. 130
Kusaie Island Crake (Porzana monasa)p. 132
Hawaiian Rail (Porzana sandwichensis)p. 134
Laysan Rail (Porzana palmen)p. 136
Samoan Wood Rail (Gallinula pacifica)p. 140
Lord Howe Swamphen (Porphyrio albus)p. 141
Mauritius Red Hen (Aphanapteryx bonasia)p. 145
Leguat's Gelinote (Aphanapteryx leguati)p. 149
Gulls, Wading Birds and Murresp. 152
Great Auk (Alca impennis)p. 156
Eskimo Curlew (Numenius borealis)p. 163
Javanese Lapwing (Vanellus macropterus)p. 166
White-winged Sandpiper (Prosobonia leucoptera)p. 166
Pigeons and Dovesp. 168
Liverpool Pigeon (Caloenas maculata)p. 174
Rodrigues Pigeon (?Columba rodericana)p. 176
Bonin Wood Pigeon (Columba versicolor)p. 177
Pigeon Hollandaise (Alectroenas nitidissima)p. 179
Forster's Dove of Tanna (?Gallicolumba ferruginea)p. 182
Marquesas Fruit Pigeon (Ptilinopus mercerii)p. 183
Choiseul Crested Pigeon (Microgoura meeki)p. 185
Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius)p. 188
Dodo (Raphus cucullatus)p. 194
Rodrigues Solitary (Pezophaps solitaria)p. 203
Parrotsp. 206
Paradise Parrot (Psephotus pulcherrimus)p. 216
Society Parakeet (Cyanoramphus ulietanus)p. 220
Black-fronted Parakeet (Cyanoramphus zealandicus)p. 222
Newton's Parakeet (Psittacula exsul)p. 225
Mascarene Parrot (Mascarinus mascarinus)p. 228
Broad-billed Parrot (Lophopsittacus mauritianus)p. 230
Rodrigues Parrot (Necropsittacus rodericanus)p. 232
Cuban Red Macaw (Ara tricolor)p. 233
Glaucus Macaw (Anodorhynchus glaucus)p. 236
Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis)p. 239
Cuckoos, Owls and Goatsuckersp. 244
Delalande's Coucal (Coua delalandei)p. 250
Rodrigues Little Owl (Athene murivora)p. 251
Laughing Owl (Sceloglaux albifacies)p. 252
Jamaica Least Pauraque (Siphonorhis americanus)p. 260
Kingfishers, Woodpeckers, Etc.p. 262
Ryukyu Kingfisher (Halcyon miyakoensis)p. 266
Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis)p. 267
Imperial Woodpecker (Campephilus imperialis)p. 274
Perching Birdsp. 276
Stephen Island Wren (Xenicus lyalli)p. 307
New Zealand Bush Wren (Xenicus longipes)p. 312
Bay Thrush (?Turdus ulietensis)p. 314
Grand Cayman Thrush (Turdus ravidus)p. 316
Kittlitz's Thrush (Zoothera terrestris)p. 317
Piopio (Turnagra capensis)p. 318
Aldabran Brush Warbler (Nesillas aldabranus)p. 324
Lord Howe Island White-eye (Zosterops strenua)p. 326
Kioea (Chaetoptila angustipluma)p. 328
Hawaii 'O'o (Moho nobilis)p. 329
Oahu 'O'o (Moho apicalis)p. 331
Molokai 'O'o (Moho bishopi)p. 332
Kauai 'O'o (Moho braccatus)p. 336
Bachman's Warbler (Vermivora bachmanii)p. 337
Ula-ai-Hawane (Ciridops anna)p. 340
Koa 'Finch' (Rhodacanthus palmeri)p. 342
Kona Grosbeak 'Finch' (Chloridops kona)p. 345
Greater Amakihi (Hemignathus sagittirostris)p. 346
Akialoa (Hemignathus obscurus)p. 348
Mamo (Drepanis pacifica)p. 351
Black Mamo (Drepanis funerea)p. 354
Bonin Islands Grosbeak (Chaunoproctus ferreirostris)p. 356
Kusaie Island Starling (Aplonis corvina)p. 358
Mysterious Starling (Aplonis mavornata)p. 359
Norfolk and Lord Howe Starling (Aplonis fusca)p. 361
Bourbon Crested Starling (Fregilupus varius)p. 364
Rodrigues Starling (Fregilupus rodericanus)p. 366
Huia (Heteralocha acutirostris)p. 367
Hypothetical Species and Mystery Birdsp. 376
Bibliographyp. 388
Indexp. 395