A painting of five crane birds standing on a grassy surface with mountains in the background.
William T. Cooper, 'Cranes (Mixed Flock, Brolgas and Sarus)', 2012, courtesy of a private collection.

The Bird Art of William T. Cooper by Wendy Cooper

Twitchers rejoice as a new book showcasing the sketches and paintings of master bird painter William T. Cooper is set for release by NLA Publishing.

Originally a self-taught artist, Cooper honed his skills throughout a career that spanned the 1960s to the mid-2010s. The Bird Art of William T. Cooper, authored by botanist Wendy Cooper, reveals an artist with astute observational skills, intent on capturing bird behaviour, personality, and habitat. The sketches, in pencil, pen and occasional spots of watercolour, were begun in the field.

Taking the reader from the wet rainforests of northern Queensland to the arid grasslands of the dry country, from the birds-of-paradise of New Guinea to the hornbills of Africa, the book includes excerpts from Cooper’s field diary, scientific notes and personal reflections on collecting a particular specimen or observing a species in the wild.

William T. Cooper loved to paint nature with all its flaws and beauty; the result is a harmony of scientific precision and artistic expression.

The Bird Art of William T. Cooper will be released by NLA Publishing in October 2023.

About the author 

Wendy Cooper was William T. Cooper’s partner in life and work. She is a respected botanist who has discovered, and named, a number of new plant species, and has also had species named in her honour. She is the co-author, with William T. Cooper, of Fruits of the Australian Tropical Rainforest and Australian Rainforest Fruits: A Field Guide. Contributor Rupert Russell is a naturalist, writer and friend to the Coopers.

Additional Information 

The front cover of the book 'The Bird Art of William T. Cooper' by Wendy Cooper.

Images for media use are available for download via Dropbox.


Mirelle O'Mara, Media Liaison, National Library of Australia

M: 0401 226 697

E: media@nla.gov.au