Review: The Unfeathered Bird

The Unfeathered Bird - coverThe Unfeathered Bird

Katrina van Grouw
304 pp. | 10 x 12

Princeton University Press | 2012

The Unfeathered Bird is a new release from Princeton University Press that takes a very different look at birds. This large format book (read: perfect for a coffee table) has over 385 drawings of 200 species showing the anatomy of birds that they hide so well under their feathers. The Unfeathered Bird depicts the musculature and skeleton of birds in lifelike positions allowing you to see the anatomy of different birds, and how their structure support their lifestyle.

The text of book is really great and easy to read, pointing out unique features in the skeleton and musculature and how these features enable birds to feed on specific food resources.

For a sample of the excellent illustrations, check out van Grouw’s illustration of a cormorants muscles, the skeleton of a Red-throated Loon and a Sparrowhawk skeleton standing over a Blue Tit.

I highly recommend this book for its unique look below the feathers at the anatomy that so defines a birds niche.

Info from Princeton University Press:

  • A unique book that bridges art, science, and history
  • Over 385 beautiful drawings, artistically arranged in a sumptuous large-format book
  • Accessible, jargon-free text–the only book on bird anatomy aimed at the general reader
  • Drawings and text all based on actual bird specimens
  • Includes most anatomically distinct bird groups
  • Many species never illustrated before

Katrina van Grouw is a former curator of the ornithological collections at London’s Natural History Museum, a taxidermist, an experienced bird bander, a successful fine artist, and a graduate of the Royal College of Art. She is the author of Birds, a historical retrospective of bird art, published under her maiden name Katrina Cook. The creation of The Unfeathered Bird has been her lifetime’s ambition.

We want to thank Princeton University Press for the review copy that was provided.