The Kookaburras' Song: Exploring Animal Behavior in Australia

John Alcock, Author, Marilyn H. Stewart, Illustrator University of Arizona Press $24.95 (218p) ISBN 978-0-8165-1050-4
Not only are the animals exotic, their behavior sets them apart, too; Australia, as shown here, is a veritable paradise for the zoologist. Alcock (Sonoran Desert Spring), who spent a year there observing wildlife on beaches, in forests and deserts, introduces us to 27 species of birds, mammals and insects with particular focus on how they have adapted to environmental conditions. One species of bird (bell miner) manages its food supply for long-term benefits; another, the superb blue wren, practices reproductive cooperation, and nonbreeders help to feed the young. Alcock points out that neither marsupials (kangaroo, opossum) nor monotremes (platypus, echidna) are inferior mammals; each is superbly adapted to its environment. Also examined are water wasps and hangingflies, flying foxes (fruit bats), fairy penguins and bowerbirds. Those who admire the works of Stephen Jay Gould will want to read this one. First serial to Natural History Magazine; Natural History Book Club alternate. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
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