Paintings by Michael Morcombe range from large acrylic-on-canvas works, to finely-detailed watercolours on paper, for the 3,400 illustrations needed in his Field Guide to Australian Birds, to show the many plumage variations of the 850 species.
SPOTTED HARRIER Circus assimilis
A large raptor, often seen gliding low over spinifex grasslands or crops, wings upswept, and showing widely fingered black wingtips. At close range the barred and spotted, chestnut, rufous, blue-grey and white plumage make this one of the most colourful and most beautiful of Australian birds of prey. This raptor hunts low, 'harrying' small prey, of ground birds, mammals, and reptiles. Here it is shown having just passed over a pair of grasswrens (difficult to see in the low-resolution web image); Pilbara region of Western Australia. Identification illustrations, distribution map, habitats, nest and eggs, are all shown in the MM Guide, pages 86, 365.
Banded Silts gather in large flocks on beaches, estuaries and shallows of vast lakes along parts of Australia's southern coast. Here they are shown on a broad sweep of beach near the mouth of the Fitzgerald River, with the Mt. Barren Range in background; south coast of Western Australia. This species breeds in response to heavy, rain at any time of the year, that floods the vast, usually dry clay pans of the arid interior. Low sandbar islands of these huge shallow lakes then become the breeding sites for colonies, often many thousands, of Banded Stilts. Original painted in acrylic on canvas.
SHINING FLYCATCHER Myiagra alecto
Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus
Artwork: Book Illustrations