Joseph M. Forshaw, one of Australia’s foremost ornithologists and a world renown expert on parrots, was in town last month on a private visit. While here, he had time to go bird watch and meet up with old birding friends. And a possible visit to the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research at the National University of Singapore.
Joseph has always been fascinated with parrots. After all, there are more than 50 species of parrots in Australia alone and about a sixth of all the world’s parrots are endemic to this island-continent. However, his passion for these birds took a turn when he was awarded a fellowship by the American Museum of Natural History in New York to study specimens of Australian parrots in its Mathews Collection in 1964. This led to the publication in 1969, of his immensely successful book, Australian Parrots (Lansdowne Press).
His next major work was in 1973 when he brought out Parrots of the World (Lansdowne Editions). These were followed by a series of bird book monographs on Birds of Paradise and Bowerbirds, Kingfishers and Related Birds, Turacos, Cockatoos…
Many of Joseph’s books are lavishly illustrated by his long-standing artist friend, William T. Cooper, the pictures of which are now collectors’ items.