Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds

Summary information about HANZAB

The seven-volume Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds (or HANZAB) is the most comprehensive compilation of information on birds of that part of the globe that has ever been produced. Project managed by the Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union (RAOU, now known as BirdLife Australia), the volumes were co-published by Oxford University Press and RAOU, and were published between 1990 and 2006.

Copyright for HANZAB text, maps and line-drawings is retained by BirdLife Australia, while the eleven artists who produced the colour plates retained copyright for the plates. Ten different artists produced colour plates featuring birds on the New Zealand list. New Zealand Birds Online is extremely grateful to BirdLife Australia and the following artists for their permission to reproduce HANZAB extracts on the website.

HANZAB artists whose work appears on NZ Birds Online

Jeff Davies

Jeff Davies was born in 1957 and spent his early years in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. His father, Rex, was an active member of the Birds Observers Club, and so Jeff was able to rub shoulders with legendary birders from a young age. Both Jeff’s parents were artists, and his early obsession with birds led naturally to drawing and painting them. During the mid 1970s, Jeff studied Fine Arts with a Painting Major at Caulfield Institute of Technology, focussing primarily on abstract oil painting. Employment as a technical illustrator of fish and other wildlife brought him back to realism. The first bird book he illustrated was Brett Lane’s Shorebirds of Australia (Nelson 1987), after which he was employed full time as the chief artist for the first four volumes of HANZAB, contributing 238 colour plates consisting of 2434 individual images. During 1994 he also produced eight paintings for The Penguins (Oxford UK 1995) as part of the Bird Families of the World series.

After HANZAB, Jeff was ready for a change and returned to painting birds within their unique environments. Examples of his work can be seen on his website.

Peter Marsack 

Peter trained as a zoologist, and after moving to Western Australia in 1980 he worked on a variety of animals, from fruit-flies to dingoes, for the Department of Agriculture. He resigned a decade later to follow his interests in wildlife art, completing a Graduate Diploma in Plant and Wildlife Illustration at Newcastle University. Since 1992 he has worked as a freelance artist based in Canberra. Peter has received awards for his artwork from the Australian Entomological Society and from Birds Australia (now BirdLife Australia), and has been a finalist and award-winner in the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize (2003, 2004). He illustrated Fairy-wrens and Grasswrens (Rowley & Russell, Oxford University Press, 1997), and painted 81 plates for three volumes of HANZAB. More recently he collaborated with Ian Fraser to produce the illustrated natural history diary A Bush Capital Year (CSIRO 2011), which won a Whitley Award commendation for Regional Natural History. He is presently contributing plates to a forthcoming field guide to Australian birds to be published by CSIRO. Find out more about Peter Marsack on the Wildlife and Botanical Artists Inc website.

Nicolas Day

Nicolas Day was born in Surrey, England, in 1955, and moved to Australia when he was 10-years old. He acquired an early interest in natural history, and after working as a keeper at Melbourne Zoo, he began a career as a wildlife illustrator in 1977. His wildlife art has taken him from the tropics (Raine Island) to subantarctic Macquarie Island, plus the Outer Hebrides. In addition to contributing 21 plates to HANZAB, Nicolas was the principal artist of the top-selling Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, co-authored with Ken Simpson and popularly referred to as “Simpson & Day”. Other books illustrated by Nicolas have included the Field Guide to the Birds of the ACT (with McComas Taylor, 1993), and Birds of the Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia (with Chris Doughty and Andrew Plant, 2000).

Kim Franklin

After graduating with a BA (Fine Art) from University of Cape Town in 1977, Kim Franklin left South Africa for Belgium and the UK. He worked as a freelance artist and illustrator, exhibiting in South Africa, Belgium, Holland, Botswana, Kenya, Spain, and the UK. His book illustration work includes Parrots of the World (Juniper & Parr, Pica Press 1998), Birds of the Indian Subcontinent  (Grimmet, Inskipp & Inskipp, Helm 1998), Shrikes & Bush-shrikes (co-authored with Tony Harris, Helm 2000), Raptors of the World (Ferguson-Lees & Christie, Helm 2001), and Pheasants, Partridges, and Grouse (Madge & McGowan, Helm 2002).  Kim immigrated to Australia in 1991 and worked onHANZAB Vols. 5-7, providing 30 plates.

Derek Onley

Derek Onley was born in the UK, and after studying Geography at Cambridge University, worked for the British Trust for Ornithology and then the Edward Grey Institute at Oxford before moving to New Zealand in the 1970s. He tried his hand at a range of jobs from farming to fishing before focussing on wildlife illustration beginning in the mid 1990s. He has lived in the coastal Otago area since the mid 1980s, and currently lives just north of Dunedin. In addition to painting six plates showing the endemic New Zealand passerine species for HANZAB, Derek has illustrated about a dozen other books including the Heather & Robertson The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand (Penguin Group, also featured on NZ Birds Online), and Albatrosses, Petrels & Shearwaters of the World (Princeton 2007) with co-author Paul Scofield.

Frank Knight

Frank Knight was born in Port Hedland, Western Australia in 1941. He worked as a technician for the CSIRO from 1959 to 1966, then as the illustrator for CSIRO’s Division of Wildlife Research from 1966 to 1966. In addition to contributing seven plates to HANZAB, Frank is well known as the illustrator of The Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (HarperCollins 1997) and A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia (written by Peter Menkhorst, Oxford University Press 2001). He also illustrated Joseph Forshaw’s Parrots of the World; an Identification Guide (Princeton University Press 2006).

Peter Slater

Peter Slater was born in 1932 and grew up in Western Australia before moving to Northern Queensland in 1966. Peter is an award-winning photographer and artist, and has been a prolific illustrator of Australian natural history books since 1959, including his own 2-volume A Field Guide to Australian Birds (Rigby 1970 & 1974), and The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds (with his wife Pat and son Raoul, Rigby 1986). Peter contributed 19 plates to volumes 3-7 of HANZAB, and now concentrates on painting birds fulltime.

Mike Bamford

Born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1959, Mike Bamford’s interest in wildlife began with creepy-crawlies in the garden at a very early age, and it was a surprise to no one that he proceeded to study biology at university.  A mediocre illustrator at school, he began to draw the animals being studied and illustrated his Honours thesis with detailed anatomical drawings of reptiles in 1980.  It was the beginning of a challenging balancing act between a passion for science and a passion for art.  Following completion of his PhD in 1986, he and his wife, Mandy, established a small consultancy specialising in environmental monitoring and impact assessment, but branching out into illustrating and science communication.  Mike has had four solo exhibitions, wrote a science/environment column for the West Australian Newspaper for five years, has illustrated a number of technical books, lectures occasionally at several universities and is currently working on a series of insect paintings.  Mandy and Mike live in Perth and were joined by Josh (1989) and Jake (1992).  They share their home with assorted aquaria, ducks, aviaries and dogs, while they are restoring their suburban garden to native vegetation to act as a wildlife haven and to provide material for illustrations, and as a demonstration of the potential for wildlife in suburbia.

Brett Jarrett

Brett Jarrett is best known as an illustrator of marine mammals, particularly his spectacular plates in A Complete Guide to Antarctic Wildlife (written by Hadoram Shirihai, Alula 2002). He contributed three plates to HANZAB, all with New Zealand bird species (weka and the smaller skuas).

James Luck

James Luck is an Australian wildlife artist who was born in 1966. He began painting wildlife seriously at age 16, and for two years studied with artist Tex Moekel. The single plate that he contributed to HANZAB happened to include a species on the New Zealand list – the white-winged triller, with a single New Zealand record! When not painting for field guides and handbooks, James’s preferred style of painting is of forest birds within lush vegetation.