Books

I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to write several books on wildlife and have managed to incorporate many of my wildlife and nature photography images within them. This started after I published a series of scientific research papers on bird species from New Guinea and Australia while I worked as a curatorial assistant at the Australian Museum of Natural History in Sydney. Many of the scientific papers were reports of range extensions and possible new species from bird specimens collected in New Guinea by Tim Flannery. My writing started as a contributing author to two books from a 10 volume series on the birds of Australia, and I was then offered the opportunity to write two books as a sole author, first was the Photographic Guide to the Birds of Australia and the second was the Green Guide to the Birds of Australia. Both of these titles were published by New Holland Publishers and both have had a very long shelf life and the second title formed part of a Whitley Award winning series.

The next of my books didn’t arise until a gap of some 10 years had passed. This title, Bowerbirds, also performed part of a larger series, the Australian Natural History series. Another long hiatus also passed until the next of my books. I was fortunate to meet a fellow author, Yong Ding Li, on a pelagic birding trip, who introduced me to John Beaufoy of John Beaufoy Publishing. As it turns out, John was the manager of New Holland Publishers when I worked on my first solo book – funny how these things happen! Ding Li was working on a book on the 100 Best Birdwatching Sites in Asia, and I mentioned that I had been putting together some notes on a similar book for Australia. After I pitched the idea to John Beaufoy he was keen to publish it, but was also keen to have me work on a couple of other books for him that were part of his series, the Naturalist’s Guide to the xxx of Australia. The two books I was contracted to write for John were the Reptiles and Mammals editions of this series, both of which I worked on with my friend and colleague Chris Farrell, and the two of us also co-authored the Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots book that I had approached John with in the first place. This latter title was actually supposed to be Australia’s Birding Megaspots, but either the publisher or the designer made a mistake and it was easier to keep the new title.

I have continued my relationship with John Beaufoy Publishing, and have since completed several books within the Naturalist’s Guide series, including Dangerous Creatures, Frogs (both with fellow author Scott Eipper) and then Insects (with Rachel Whitlock). I am now working on two new books: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Butterflies of Australia (also with Rachel Whitlock) and a larger book on the Wildlife of Australia’s Rainforests (probably multiple authors, but just me at this stage). The first of these books is scheduled for release in the second half of 2020, while the rainforests book will be published in 2021 – providing that I pull my finger out and get writing!

Recent Books

Front cover of Naturalist's Guide to the Insects f Australia

A Naturalist’s Guide to the Insects of Australia
(John Beaufoy Publishing)

  • An easy-to-use identification guide covering 292 of Australia’s common and iconic insect species.
  • For each family, genus or species account the authoritative text describes identifying features, distribution, habitat and habits.
  • Size, common and scientific names listed.
  • An overview of modern Australian insects, non-insect hexapods and life cycles.
  • A complete up-to-date checklist of all Australian insect orders, covering families, genera, species and subspecies.

[Due for release in June 2019]

 

A Naturalist's Guide to the Frogs of Australia front cover

A Naturalist’s Guide to the Frogs of Australia
(John Beaufoy Publishing)

An easy-to-use identification guide to Australia’s 247 frog species and subspecies.

Released October 2018 – order your copy now from our easy online store

  • For each species the authoritative text describes identifying features, distribution, habitat and habits
  • Size, common and scientific names listed
  • Overview of frogs as indicators of environmental health, adaptations, breeding and life cycles, habitats, frog calls, frog friendly gardens and glossary
  • Includes an up-to-date checklist of the frogs of Australia and their current IUCN status

 

Front cover of Australia's Birdwatching Megaspots book showing a picture of an Eastern Spinebill
Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots
(John Beaufoy Publishing)

Released August 2018 – order your copy now from our easy online store

Australia has almost 340 endemic bird species, and more than 730 endemic subspecies. This richly illustrated book guides birdwatchers to the country’s most species-rich areas, the 55 ‘megaspots’ – places where key endemics can be found. It is designed as both a reference and information guide to help plan a successful birding trip to sites where multiple species can  be viewed.

Detailed descriptions of each site cover

  • how to get to the site
  • any fees payable or permits required
  • facilities and nearby services
  • GPS coordinates
  • an overview of the site
  • birding tracks and trails
  • key species
  • two important species per site
  • the available accommodation

“Australians have a strong affinity with their unique environment and wildlife. I hope this book inspires you to observe Australian birds in their natural habitats and to preserve the areas where they live. Their protection is in our hands and I commend the authors of Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots for their commitment to conservation.”

Dermot O’Gorman
CEO, WWF-Australia

“A terrific resource to enjoy Australia’s amazing native birds and the best birding megaspots. Spying on birds is also a great way to help BirdLife protect them – enter your sightings in our birdata app.”

Paul Sullivan
CEO, BirdLife Australia

 

A Naturalist's Guide to the Dangerous Creatures of Australia front cover

A Naturalist’s Guide to the Dangerous Creatures of Australia
(John Beaufoy Publishing)

An easy-to-use identification guide to 280 of  Australia’s dangerous creatures, covering fish, spiders, insects, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

Released August 2018 – order your copy now from our easy online store

  • For each species the authoritative text  describes identifying features, distribution, habitat and habits
  • Size, common and scientific names listed
  • Overview of the different species, how to avoid dangerous encounters, first aid and glossary
  • Features land and marine creatures

 

A Naturalist's Guide to the Mammals of Australia front cover

A Naturalist’s Guide to the Mammals of Australia
(John Beaufoy Publishing)

An easy-to-use photographic identification guide covering 280 of the most commonly found mammal species in Australia.

Released November 2017 – order your copy now from our easy online store

  • For each species the authoritative text describes identifying features, distribution, habitat and habits
  • Size, common and scientific names listed
  • Overview of habitats and vegetation types in Australia
  • Complete up-to-date checklist of the mammals of Australia, including where they are found and their current global status

 

A Naturalist's Guide to the Reptiles of Australia front cover

A Naturalist’s Guide to the Reptiles of Australia
(John Beaufoy Publishing)

An easy-to-use photographic identification guide to the 280 reptile species most commonly seen in Australia, with high quality photographs from Australia’s top nature photographers.

Released July 2017 – order your copy now from our easy online store

  • For each species the authoritative text describes are accompanied by detailed species descriptions, which include nomenclature, size, distribution, habits and habitat.
  • user-friendly introduction covers the threats to reptiles, types of habitat, anatomy of reptiles, and details of orders and families.
  • all-important checklist of all of the reptiles of Australia encompassing, for each species, its common and scientific name, and its global IUCN status.

 

Older Books

Bowerbirds book front cover showing a Regent Bowerbird
Bowerbirds
(CSIRO Publishing)

Released 2009 – available as an ebook through major retailers

An introduction to the bowerbirds of Australia, which also includes species from New Guinea.

Bowerbirds condenses published knowledge into a format that will suit natural history enthusiasts at any level. While the emphasis is on Australian members of the family, with detailed accounts on each of the 10 species, the New Guinea representatives are discussed in general chapters and are included in a supplemental section that covers key areas such as breeding, identification and distribution.

This book also includes more than 50 illustrations, including colour pictures of each Australian species, their bowers, displays and distributional maps.

Sadly, this book (and the rest of the series) was pulped not long after my book was released, but it was turned into an electronic book, so it has not been lost forever. If you have plenty of cash to splash around you might find a few copies on Amazon (these are not from me):

Screenshot from Amazon store with Peter Rowland's Bowerbird book shown

 

 

The Green Guide to the Birds of Australia front cover with Whitley Award Winner sticker and Rainbow Bee-eater

Green Guide to Birds of Australia
(New Holland Publishers)

The Australian Green Guide series has been created for wildlife enthusiasts of all ages.

Released 1998 – order your copy now from our easy online store

  • Poses and answers the most commonly asked questions about Australian birds
  • Insights into the fascinating behaviour of birds in general
  • Pages brought to life with entertaining and informative text
  • Amazing action photography
  • Species accounts for most commonly encountered Australian species
  • Whitley Award winning series

 

Front cover of Reader's Digest Encyclopedia of Australian Wildlife Book with contributions by Peter RowlandCover of Encyclopedia of Australian Wildlife book (Revised Edition) with contributions by Peter Rowland

Encyclopedia of Australian Wildlife
(Reader’s Digest (Australia) Pty Ltd – available through Google)

First published in 1997, and revised edition released in 2016

The Reader’s Digest ‘Encyclopedia Of Australian Wildlife’ is a fully revised and updated edition of an Australian classic. This comprehensive, informative and entertaining book is about our unique and fascinating wildlife and covers all the major animal groups: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and invertebrates.

Features:

  • over 1,000 individual entries, most with full-colour photographs
  • general introductions to the major animal groups and subgroups
  • 250 original hand-drawn illustrations in full colour
  • maps showing the Australian distribution of various groups of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians
  • special features on intriguing aspect of Australian animal life, such as how tiny coral polyps build vast reefs or how some creatures have adapted to the harsh Australian conditions
  • illustrated explanations of how species are classified
  • descriptions and photographs of the habitats of Australian animals
  • a chapter on the unique evolutionary history of Australian animals
  • a glossary of technical terms and index of common and scientific names

 

Front cover of The Photographic Guide to Birds of Australia by Peter Rowland

Photographic Guide to Birds of Australia
(New Holland Publishers)

Pocket-sized and perfect for road and walking trips in the eastern states of Australia

Released 1996 – order your copy now from our easy online store

  • Covers the basics required for field identification of species most likely to be seen in eastern Australia.
  • Informative text accompanied by colour photographs.
  • Thumbnail silhouettes aid the reader in quickly locating the correct group of birds.
  • Distribution map for each species account shows the bird’s distribution.
  • Family accounts included, with key characteristics.

 

Front cover of Finches, Bowerbirds & Other Passerines Book with contributions by Peter Rowland

Finches, Bowerbirds & Other Passerines of Australia
This book was the final title in a magnificent 10 volume series of bird books by the National Photographic Index of Australia’s Wildlife, which covers all bird groups found in Australia.

Released 1996 – No longer in print

As with all titles in the series, this book was produced to the highest standard, with high quality photographs and illustrations, complementing a full text. Species descriptions include full nomenclature, identification points and measurements, habits, voice, habitat, food, breeding, distribution and status.

The title is no longer in print, but secondhand copies may be sourced from Andrew Isles or online re-sellers.

 

Front cover of Cuckoos, Nightbirds & Kingfishers Book with contributions by Peter Rowland

Cuckoos, Nightbirds & Kingfishers of Australia
This book is the penultimate title in a magnificent 10 volume series of bird books by the National Photographic Index of Australia’s Wildlife, which covers all bird groups found in Australia.

Released 1994 – No longer in print

As with all titles in the series, this book was produced to the highest standard, with high quality photographs and illustrations, complementing a full text. Species descriptions include full nomenclature, identification points and measurements, habits, voice, habitat, food, breeding, distribution and status.

The title is no longer in print, but secondhand copies may be sourced from Andrew Isles or online re-sellers.