Paul Johnsgard

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Paul Johnsgard
Johnsgard in Nebraska (2011)
Born(1931-06-28)June 28, 1931
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materNorth Dakota State University, Washington State University, Cornell University
Known forNumerous publications on birds and natural history
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Nebraska

Paul Austin Johnsgard (born 28 June 1931) is an ornithologist, artist and emeritus professor at the University of Nebraska. His works include nearly fifty books including several monographs, principally about the waterfowl and cranes. Born in Fargo, North Dakota, he was introduced to the study of birds by a distant cousin who was a game warden. He spent these early years taking part in duck counts. After high school and junior college at Wahpeton, he enrolled at North Dakota State University to major in zoology. He then moved to Washington State University for his master's degree, encouraged by a professor who suggested that he could have a career in ornithology. His master's study was on the impact of the construction of O'Sullivan Dam to wetland habitats. Apart from the data collected and his interpretation, it included his pen sketches. This was published in The Condor and the article attracted the attention of Charles Sibley who invited him to consider a Ph.D. at Cornell University with him. His Ph.D. work was on the phylogeny of six ducks, after which he moved to England at the Wildfowl Trust at Gloucestershire founded by Sir Peter Scott. After the course of two years, he produced his first book, the Handbook of Waterfowl Behaviour published by Cornell University in 1965. He is considered one of the most prolific authors of ornithology books.[1]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Grouse and Quails of North America. 1973.
  • The Plovers, Sandpipers and Snipes of the World.
  • The Grouse of the World. 1983.
  • The Hummingbirds of North America. 1983, 2nd. ed.1997.
  • The Platte: Channels in Time. 1984, 2nd ed.
  • The Pheasants of the World. 1986. 2nd. ed. 1999.
  • Diving Birds of North America. 1987.
  • The Quails, Partridges and Francolins of the World. 1988.
  • North American Owls: Biology and Natural History. 1988. 2nd. ed. 2002.
  • Hawks, Eagles and Falcons of North America: Biology and Natural History. 1990.
  • Bustards, Hemipodes and Sandgrouse: Birds of Dry Places. 1991.
  • Cormorants, Darters and Pelicans of the World. 1993.
  • Arena Birds: Sexual Selection and Behavior. 1994
  • This Fragile Land: A Natural History of the Nebraska Sandhills. 1995.
  • Ruddy Ducks and other Stifftails: Their Behavior and Biology. 1996 (With M. Carbonell)
  • The Avian Brood Parasites: Deception at the Nest. 1997.
  • Trogons and Quetzals of the World. 2000.
  • Prairie Birds: Fragile Splendor in the Great Plains. 2001.
  • The Nature of Nebraska: Ecology and Biodiversity. 2001.
  • Grassland Grouse and their Conservation. 2002.
  • Great Wildlife of the Great Plains. 2003.
  • Lewis and Clark on the Great Plains: A Natural History. 2003.
  • Prairie Dog Empire: A Saga of the Shortgrass Prairie. 2004.
  • The Niobrara: A River Running Through Time. 2007.
  • Ancient Voices over America's Wetlands: The Sandhill and Whooping Cranes. 2011.
  • Rocky Mountain Birds: Birds and Birding in the Central and Northern Rocky Mountains. 2011.
  • Wetland Birds of the Central Plains: South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. 2012.
  • Nebraska's Wetlands: Their Wildlife and Ecology. 2012.
  • Yellowstone Wildlife: Ecology and Natural History of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. 2012.


  1. ^ Hayward, J. (1994). "Beguiled by birds". Living Bird. 13 (4): 6–7.


  • Farrar, J. 1993. Paul Johnsgard, Nebraska's Birdman. Nebraskaland 71(2): 38–47.
  • Johnsgard, Paul. 2010. My life in biology. Nebraska Bird Review 78(3):103-120.
  • Klucas, G. 2002. A beautiful mind. Nebraska Magazine. Summer, 2002. pp. 24–27.
  • Miles, L. 1993. Paul Johnsgard and the Harmony of Nature. pp. 91–93, in A. Jenkins (ed.), The Platte River: An Atlas of the Big Bend Region. Univ. Nebr. Kearney. 194 pp.
  • Scully, M. G. 2001. Heeding the call of sandhill cranes. Chronicle of Higher Educ. 47(30:): B-17.

External links[edit]