Birds of New Zealand, Ngā Manu o Aotearoa: Collective Nouns by Melissa Boardman

I have a new found appreciation and interest in birds thanks to a board game that I’m currently obsessed with, called Wingspan. Up until recently I wouldn’t have considered myself a board game person but Wingspan has sparked my enthusiasm for both board games and birds. In the game you collect birds, eggs and food and play them on your board. The base game is made up of North American birds, and you can get expansions for birds of Europe and Oceania. Discovering the birds in the game has led me to want to know more about them, especially our New Zealand birds. In my search I came across a beautiful book that has recently been released about New Zealand birds called Birds of New Zealand: Collective Nouns by Melissa Boardman.

Birds of New Zealand: Collective Nouns is bursting with Melissa’s stunning illustrations of New Zealand birds, alongside a collective noun for the group of birds. Inside this book you’ll discover a rattle of sacred kingfishers, a ringing of bellbirds, a raft of little blue penguins, a hive of stitchbirds, and a booming of kākāpō. Each collective noun has also been translated in to te reo Māori. The collective nouns used in the book are a mixture of existing nouns, nouns adapted from similar overseas birds, and ones made up for the book. Each collective noun perfectly captures each bird’s characteristics, whether it is related to their appearance, the sounds they make or their colour. At the back of the book Melissa gives you a snippet of information about each of the birds included in the book, separating them into categories depending on how threatened or vulnerable they are.

I am smitten with this book and keep going back to look at it again and again. It’s the perfect book to leave out on a coffee table or open on a bookshelf and change the pages every now and again to show different birds. It would be a great book to have in a classroom or school library for kids to look through and discover new birds and collective nouns for them. Melissa’s art is stunning and I would love to have prints of them all over my house.

If you are a bird fan you must pick up a copy of Birds of New Zealand: Collective Nouns.