London, Reeve, Benham, and Reeve, 1848. 4to (31.6 x 25.3 cm). Full colour frontispiece (= plate I), title page with engraved vignette, two half titles (to Part I by Strickland, and to Part II by Melville), [v], 141,  pp.; 17 other engraved plates numbered II-III, III*, IV, IV*, V-IX, IX*, X-XV; several text engravings. The frontispiece and plate III are finely hand-coloured; plate III* is larger, double-folded and tinted, plate IV* is tinted. Publisher's original blue embossed cloth with gilt title on the spine and a large gilt vignette on both boards. Yellow endpapers. Top edge gilt. Printed errata sheet bound in; publisher's 12 pp. catalogue bound in the rear.
The rare original edition, with a list of subscribers. "The interest which has always attached to that singular bird, the Dodo, having been recently much increased by the discovery of evidence which proves that each of the three islands, Mauritius, Rodriguez, and Bourbon, formerly possessed distinct species of birds of the same anomalous families, it has been thought desirable to collect the scattered facts and records, and publish a complete monograph of the present state of the Didinae, in order to remove the many erroneous statements which are current, and to restore these lost organisms to their rank in the Natural System" (from the publisher's catalogue, bound in the rear). Strickland wrote part I, on the history and external characters of the dodo, solitaire and other brevipennate birds of Mauritius, Rodriguez, and Bourbon; whereas Melville contributed with "Part II - Osteology of the Dodo and Solitaire". In the rear is a chapter containing translations of foreign texts, and a bibliography. INCLUDED: one ALS, written and signed by the first author, to John Wolley in an envelope with the latter' s address: "To John Wolley Esq. A slight return for his friendly aid in the preparation of the present work", dated 26 Sept. 1848. Strickland here reports some shortcomings, and limitations, and acknowledges the help of Wolley: "Again thanking you for your many valuable suggestions on connection with this subject". John Wolley (1823-1859) "...was an English naturalist best known for his large collection of bird eggs and studies on the dodo and great auk" (Wikipedia). Also included are two handwritten notes, both in an old hand, with discussions about the dodo. In one, Piso's rendering of Bontius's description of the dodo is discussed in view of Piso's own work on birds from Brazil, and on a bird in the collection of the Prince Maurice of Nassau (perhaps written by Wolley); the other - smaller - one, in a different handwriting, comments upon what was written on p. 47 regarding the bird's anatomy. The binding is by Westleys & Clark, London (their tiny label in the rear pastedown lower inner margin). Spine ends a bit frayed, boards and spine slightly sunned; rear board with faint dampstain; scattered foxing, mainly to plate margins, as often; otherwise a very good, clean, complete copy. Anker, 486; Nissen IVB, 900; Sitwell Fine Bird Books, p. 145; Zimmer, p. 606.