Compiled by a dedicated team of scientists at BirdLife Australia, the HANDBOOK OF AUSTRALIAN, NEW ZEALAND AND ANTARTIC BIRDS (HANZAB) documented the ecology, behaviour and morphology of each of the 934 (this currently sits at 1134) species ever recorded in our region – even extinct species, introduced birds and rare visitors to our offshore islands are dealt with in detail. This multi-award winning seven-volume encyclopedia summarised everything that was known about our birds. It was the largest body of work ever undertaken by BirdLife Australia, encompassing a seven-volume encyclopaedia of all species of birds recorded in Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica. The last volume (Volume 7) was published in 2006, and although 15 years has passed (and our knowledge has expanded), HANZAB is still the go-to resource for the ornithological community. HANZAB remains a vital tool in bird research and conservation work.  It summarises all that was known about each species and also clearly states areas which were poorly understood, and that makes it an even more valuable resource.  Each account is fully referenced to aid further study.

Norman Wettenhall was the driving force behind the publication of The Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds (HANZAB). He had a great talent for attracting funds and was associated with much of the $8 million dollars collected for this project. Sadly, Norman passed away after five volumes of this ornithological masterpiece were published. Margaret Ross AM and Lady Marigold Southey AC continued to drive the project and ensured the remaining two volumes were completed in his memory. Key partners in the publication of HANZAB are acknowledged in the volumes.

HANZAB goes digital

The HANZAB online website has made a significant stride in bringing this information into the digital age. The initial step involved digitizing the original HANZAB content, and we’re thrilled about this transformation. It’s important to note that while some of the content may reflect older knowledge, we’ve taken proactive steps to align the taxonomy with the latest BirdLife Working List 4.1, the New Zealand checklist 2023 and BirdLife International Datazone website. It’s worth noting that the threat status for all species is current as of May 2023, which is a testament to our commitment to keeping the information relevant.

Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning that in cases where newly recognised species have emerged post-publication, they will be featured on the website, though some details may still be in the process of being added. Looking ahead, BirdLife Australia envisions a dynamic future where the volumes are continually updated, offering real-time insights into the ecology and conservation of the birds within the HANZAB footprint. This ongoing effort reflects our commitment to providing you with the most accurate and up-to-date information possible.

Thank you

This wonderful resource has been published online thanks to the generous support of Margaret Ross AM. BirdLife Australia wishes to thank Margaret for helping ensure we continue to support science-based bird conservation with this online resource.

BirdLife Australia is also extremely grateful to the huge task force of volunteers that helped get the information online. In particular, Stephen Wallace has been invaluable in helping with the website set-up and content management over this long process.  Fred Van Gessell also kindly allowed the use of some sound recordings. Jeff Hardy has also supplied us with >600 images from the HANZAB plates that he has formatted over the years – these images will be uploaded over time so that each species will have its corresponding original HANZAB image.

We thank the following volunteers for their contribution in getting the original pdf and text files uploaded onto the website: Alex Rogers, Annie Heydon, Bronwen Baird, Carl Shuetrim, Damian Kelly, David Hewett, Duncan Kennedy, Geoff Milne, Georgia Ladmore, Helen Smith, Ian Kerr, Jan Nargar, Jen Bourke, Julia Hudd, Leonie Daws, Les Montanjees, Lynda Berends, Mark Harwood, Neil Shelley, Pamela Walker, Peter Hosking, Rachael Krutulis, Raymond Nojek, Rhiannon Myhre, Stephanie Nicholls, Stephen Wallace, Fred Van Gessell, Tim Nickholds, Vijaya Baskar.

The following volunteers have also assisted with proof-reading and sources new references, which we have added in the bibliography of some species: Jan Nargar, Bronwen Baird, Leonie Daws, Raymond Nojek, Julia Hudd.

Recommended Citation:
BirdLife Australia (2023). About HANZAB. [Text before updates sourced from: Marchant, S. et al (eds) 1990-2006 Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds.Volume 1 to 7.] Birdlife Australia. Birdlife Australia. Last modified 2023-11-24 06:11. Source: https://hanzab.birdlife.org.au/header-and-footer-pages/about-hanzab/ Accessed: July 15, 2024 Time Zone: +10:00