Close Notification

Your cart does not contain any items


Gerard Gorman



In stock
Ready to ship


Reaktion Books
23 October 2017
Cultural studies; Animals & society; Mathematics & Sciences; Wildlife: birds & birdwatching
Highly regarded woodpecker expert Gerard Gorman presents a unique natural, social, and cultural history of woodpeckers. Woodpeckers are among the most remarkable birds in the avian world, having evolved a unique anatomy that enables them to peck and bore into solid timber both to find food and to create nesting cavities. They have been considered symbols of fertility, security, strength, power, prophecy, magic, rhythm, medicine, and carpentry, and have been esteemed as the guardians of woodlands, tree surgeons, fire-bringers, weather forecasters, and boat-builders.

He explores their origins and where they are found, and how they have fascinated humankind throughout history, from ancient Babylon, Greece, and Rome, via the tribes of North America and the jungles of Amazonia and Borneo, to the modern cartoon rascal Woody Woodpecker. He describes how they feature in folk tales, myths, and legends wherever they occur, and how their fluctuating relationship with humans has developed. Featuring stunning photographs and illustrations from both nature and culture, Woodpecker will appeal to anyone who is interested in these extraordinary birds.
By:   Gerard Gorman
Imprint:   Reaktion Books
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 190mm,  Width: 135mm, 
ISBN:   9781780238296
ISBN 10:   1780238290
Series:   Animal
Pages:   224
Publication Date:   23 October 2017
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Gerard Gorman is the author of Woodpeckers of the World (2014), Woodpeckers of Europe (2004) and The Black Woodpecker (2011). When not travelling the world in search of woodpeckers, he divides his time between Liverpool and Budapest.

Reviews for Woodpecker

An accessible and concise overview of this remarkable family, well illustrated and full of fascinating facts. There's plenty on the cultural history of woodpeckers as well as the science of the subject, and interesting diversions into the debate on the existence or otherwise of the presumed extinct ivory-billed woodpecker. A great addition to a great series of books. --Derek Toomer Bird Watching Few things are as important in natural history as context. Reaktion's magnificent Animal series seldom fails to reflect this, and Gorman's contribution on woodpeckers maintains the series's high standard. The diverse and widespread Picidae family is here placed with diligence and rigor in both its ecological and its cultural contexts. . . . In exploring the birds' extraordinary anatomical adaptations and remarkable behaviors, Gorman is clear, readable, and evidently expert . . . The book's many splendid illustrations supplement Gorman's text well . . . Gorman and Reaktion should be applauded for a thorough and handsome primer on an underestimated bird. -- Times Literary Supplement If you like the Gorman's other woodpecker books, you should like this one! --Ian Paulsen Birdbooker Report One of a remarkable series of animal monographs. . . . In this book Gorman covers the whole woodpecker group, including Wrynecks, Piculets, and True Woodpeckers, looking at their natural and cultural history as well as their fascination for humans. . . . A fascinating read. --Derek Toomer British Trust for Ornithology News Gorman is a true specialist expert on woodpeckers, with four previous books on the birds (and several on other bird and mammal species) to his credit. Gorman's breadth of knowledge makes Woodpecker definitive. . . . I don't know of a better introduction to woodpeckers as they relate to all things human and inhuman. If you are keen on watching or listening to birds, . . . Gorman's book deserves a place on your reference shelf. --Tim Morris lection

See Also