The Unfeathered Bird
Katrina van Grouw


Skeleton of a Brown Fish Owl
Skeleton -
Brown Fish Owl

Skeleton of a Great Hornbill
Skeleton -
Great Hornbill


Nature Live
Natural History Museum in London

Skull of a Lappet-faced Vulture
Skull - Lappet-faced Vulture

Musculature of a Great Cormorant
Musculature - Great Cormorant

There is more to a bird than simply feathers. And just because birds evolved from a single flying ancestor doesn't mean they are structurally all the same. With over 385 stunning drawings depicting 200 species, The Unfeathered Bird is a richly illustrated book on bird anatomy that offers refreshingly original insights into what goes on beneath the feathered surface. Each exquisite drawing is made from an actual specimen and reproduced in sumptuous large format. The birds are shown in lifelike positions and engaged in behavior typical of the species: an underwater view of the skeleton of a swimming loon, the musculature of a porpoising penguin, and an unfeathered sparrowhawk plucking its prey. Jargon-free and easily accessible to any reader, the lively text relates birds' anatomy to their lifestyle and evolution, examining such questions as why penguins are bigger than auks, whether harrier hawks really have double-jointed legs, and the difference between wing claws and wing spurs. A landmark in popular bird books, The Unfeathered Bird is a must for anyone who appreciates birds or bird art.

  • A unique book that bridges art, science, and history

  • Over 385 beautiful drawings, artistically arranged in a sumptuous large-format book

  • Accessible, jargon-free text--the only book on bird anatomy aimed at the general reader

  • Drawings and text all based on actual bird specimens

  • Includes most anatomically distinct bird groups

  • Many species never illustrated before

Katrina van Grouw is a former curator of the ornithological collections at London's Natural History Museum, a taxidermist, an experienced bird bander, a successful fine artist, and a graduate of the Royal College of Art. She is the author of Birds, a historical retrospective of bird art, published under her maiden name Katrina Cook. The creation of The Unfeathered Bird has been her lifetime's ambition.