Ex Libris


HANCOCK HOUSE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE LORIES by Rosemary Low. Published by Hancock House, Blaine Washington. 1998. $70 U.S.+ $5 s/h.

I have never done a book review without actually holding the book in my hands - until now. Hancock House, though, sent me a plethora of extracts from the book that give a good overview. I include some of the material here so you will get a sense of the volume.

Dr. Roger Wilkinson, Curator of Birds, Chester Zoo, and Chair, European Parrot Taxon Advisory Group, wrote the Foreword which is a good opening to this limited review:



I am delighted to write the foreword for this important book on lories, not only because I share the author's enthusiasm for these charming birds, but also her concerns about their conservation and welfare. Rosemary Low is uniquely qualified to write this monograph. She is the author of hundreds of articles and numerous books, including the standard reference Parrots, their care and breeding. Rosemary has a wealth of personal experience as former curator of two major parrot collections, Lora Parque and Palmitos Park, and continues to work with lories at home. She has also traveled widely, observing and studying lories in the wild.


Quintessentially tropical, lories are brightly colored, vibrant, highly engaging parrots whose auicultural popularity has, in the recent past, resulted in large numbers entering international trade. It is difficult to be certain of the numbers involved; figures from quotas, capture, transport and CTTES permits are often in conflict with each other. Sadly, some lories, destined to be lost in living room cages, will have been purchased by pet-keepers ignorant of the biology of these specialized pollen and nectar feeders. Others acquired by wetlmeaning aviculturists and bred with some success no longer grace their aviaries simply because breeding them became commercially unprofitable. Zoos displaying lories must also consider the sustainability of their stock. Currently there is great diversity with a large number of species held but, with a few notable exceptions, little emphasis on managed breeding programs. Lones can make excellent educational exhibits and it would be sad to deny


future generations the opportunity to enjoy these attractive parrots. There are other good reasons to maintain lories in captivity. Knowledge obtained of their husbandry may one day be applied to their advantage should captive breeding be required as part of a conservation program. Information on basic nesting biology is difficult to obtain from wild lories, observations from captive breedings fill important gaps in our knowledge. All too often such information is not documented.

In this book Rosemary Low has ensured that her original observations and those of many of her colleagues are made available for the benefit of others. Tbis excellent book fu!fills its title by being encyclopedic in scope, addressing the natural history of tori.es and the conservation issues associated with habitat destruction and trade. It is in the detailed species accounts that the author's comprehensive knowledge and


total immersion in her subject shows most clearly. Her obseroations and experiences, and those of other auiculiurists, are presented in such detail that no one with access to this book can plead ignorance of their lories' biology, behavior or particular requirements. The Hancock House Encyclopedia of the Lories can be highly recommended. It should not only sit on every parrot enthusiasts bookshelf but should be frequently off the shelf and regularly consulted.

ROGER WILKINSON, B.Sc., Ph.D. Curator of Birds, Chester Zoo, and Chair, European Parrot Taxon Advisory Group