Profile PictureDavid C. Simon

1200+ Bird Reference Photos for Artists

42 ratings

This is a curated collection of bird photos that I have taken over the past several years, for use as REFERENCE material for ARTISTS. Please read the license (below, and included in each zip file) before downloading.

I've made the price "Pay what you want" so that artists who are generally struggling can grab these for free, but if you *can* afford to pay something for them, please do so. I'm trying to save up for a new, better camera, and it isn't easy while living on a disability pension.

Most of these birds are Australian and wild, but there are notable exceptions such as birds from zoos and sanctuaries, as well as a number of photos I took of European birds while visiting the UK in 2016. There are no photos of dead birds.

Zip contents:

Coraciiformes: Kingfishers, Kookaburras, Dollarbirds (25 photos)
Cuckoos: Eastern Koels and a Channel-billed Cuckoo (12 photos)
Feathers: Individual feathers photographed against plain backgrounds under studio lights (155 photos)
Flightless: Cassowary and 1 Emu (10 photos)
Frogmouths: Tawny Frogmouths (21 photos)
Galliformes: Land fowl (8 photos)
Parrots: Cockatoos, Lorikeets, Galahs, Rosellas & more (357 photos)
Passerines: Robins, honeyeaters, butcherbirds, wrens, bowerbirds & more (307 photos)
Pigeons: Pigeons & doves, mostly Australian natives
Raptors: Eagles, owls, falcons, kites, mostly captive
Waterbirds: Ducks, geese, herons, gulls, swans


The author of these photos, David C. Simon, does NOT relinquish copyright ownership of said photos.

The license for these photos allows you to use them as reference material for your own original artwork. All other uses, including (but not limited to) redistribution & printing, are not allowed. Attribution is only required if the final product to be distributed is mostly derived from these photos.

What does "original artwork" mean?

For the purposes of this license, "original artwork" means something you create from nothing, using reference material as inspiration and/or guidance. This allows you to paint or draw over a photo, but not to edit a photo in whole or part for redistribution. You can "photobash" the photos to help with layout (cropping, transforming, compositing etc.), but the resulting edited photo must still be reference material only, not the final product.

In short: Photobashing is okay, Photomanipulation is not.

What does "mostly derived" mean, in terms of attribution?

This is hard to quantify, but if your final painting or drawing looks more or less identical to the original photo, then attribution is required. Also, if most of your final painting has elements that are identical to elements of my photos, then attribution is required.

Here's a rough guide:

Attribution REQUIRED:

- A work that is mostly identical to the photo, with minor changes to colours, lighting, or composition (flipping horizontally is considered "minor")

- A work that puts the head of one bird on the body of another

Attribution *NOT* REQUIRED:

- A work where the bird makes up a minor part of the overall compisition, such as perched on a distant branch in a painting of a landscape

- A work of a dinosaur where the eye is based on the eye in one of my bird photos

- A work of a dragon where the feet are based on the feet in one of my bird photos

How to attribute:

Please mention me by name or twitter handle, and link to either my twitter account or the page where you downloaded these photos from, if possible.


After a photo by David C. Simon (


After multiple photos by @davidcsimon

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Over 1200 high resolution JPG files of birds and bird feathers


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1200+ Bird Reference Photos for Artists

42 ratings
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