Birds, Beasts and Relatives is the second volume of the autobiographical Corfu Trilogy by naturalist Gerald Durrell. The trilogy describes his childhood spent on the Greek island of Corfu between 1935 and 1939.
Like its predecessor, the more famous My Family and Other Animals, the book describes the life of the Durrell family on the island in a humorous manner, and also richly discusses the fauna of the island. It was published in 1969; Durrell wrote primarily to raise money for his animal collecting expeditions.
The stories related in the book do not occur in chronological order, and are in some cases semi-fictionalised. For example, Gerald's eldest brother Larry - the novelist Lawrence Durrell - was actually not living with the rest of his family as is depicted in the stories, but was living separately with his wife Nancy, who is not mentioned in the books.
Characters in the book include (Larry, their vague widowed mother, the gun-mad Leslie, and sister Margo, together with Roger the dog. The family are protected by their local friend, taxi-driver Spiro (Spyros "Americano" Chalikiopoulos) and mentored by the physician and polymath Dr Theodore Stephanides who provides Gerald with his education in natural history.
Durrell intersperses his humorous family anecdotes with rich descriptions of the fauna and flora of Corfu, and of his own formative education in natural history.
The book introduces new characters that were not present in My Family and Other Animals. Gerald makes a trip to London with his mother, to visit Margo, who is temporarily there for medical reasons. Larry brings a new collection of highly eccentric friends and acquaintances into the Durrell's home. The family are invited to a Corfiot wedding and Gerry witnesses the birth of the bride's first baby. Gerry visits an elderly countess and has an impossibly sumptuous meal.