Catesby's Birds of Colonial America

Edited by Alan Feduccia

Foreword by Russell W. Peterson

Catesby's Birds of Colonial America

208 pp., 8.5 x 11, 19 color and 92 b&w illus

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4816-6
    Published: February 1999

Buy this Book

With this lovely and informative volume, Alan Feduccia preserves the pathbreaking work of Mark Catesby, the English naturalist and illustrator who founded natural history and bird art in America. First published by UNC Press in 1985, the book features all 109 bird illustrations, 20 color plates, and the entire text from Catesby's pioneering Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahamas. Annotating Catesby's writings from a modern perspective, Feduccia discusses the perception of each species during the Colonial period, comments on its habits, and compares Catesby's observations with those of such other early naturalists as John White, John Lawson, Alexander Wilson, and John James Audubon.

About the Author

Alan Feduccia is S. K. Heninger Professor Emeritus and former chair of the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His books include The Age of Birds, The Origin and Evolution of Birds, and Birds of Colonial Williamsburg.
For more information about Alan Feduccia, visit the Author Page.


"Glorious. . . . Feduccia places Catesby's work within the greater context of the evolution of science itself in the colonial period. For that reason alone, this is a book that speaks to human history, natural history, Native American ethnography, geography, and cultural studies. The brilliance of this book is that Feduccia is content to stay out of the spotlight, only stepping in to provide insight, context, and color commentary when necessary."--Southern Cultures

"Both beautiful in the simple accuracy of its drawings and historically interesting for its pictures and descriptions of species now extinct."--New Yorker

"Feduccia . . . rescues Catesby from oblivion with a fresh appreciation of his pioneering studies. . . . This glimpse of colonial ornithology will attract historians as well as birders."--Publishers Weekly

"This book is . . . welcome. It reproduces [Catesby's] complete text plus all his bird paintings and many of the plants. . . . All involved parties have done a service by making Catesby's charming art and writing easily available. Highly recommended."--Library Journal

"American ornithologists can no longer claim unavailability as an excuse for not having read Catesby. The first 'profusely' illustrated tome on America's birds should be on every ornithologist's night stand."--The Wilson Bulletin

"Alan Feduccia's Catesby's Birds of Colonial America is a celebration of Catesby's considerable accomplishments. After all, Catesby gave us the best and most detailed look at the flora and fauna of the New World until the time of Audubon."--Southern Living