This original aquatint is Plate II from the double-elephant folio Havell edition of Audubon’s great work on American ornithology, which is the most important ornithological work produced in America. The complete work was produced in less than 200 copies. Audubon traveled throughout the U.S. and recorded 435 life-size images of every native bird in the country, depicting them in natural poses in their native habitats. The first ten plates from The Birds of America were engraved by William Home Lizars of Edinburgh. When Lizars' colorists went on strike in 1827, Audubon moved production to London, where the work was completed by Robert Havell, Jr. This engraving by Lizars depicts a pair of Yellow Billed Cuckoos in a Popaw Tree, one of which is feeding on a Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, which is uncommon for this species. This is the third variant, with the papermaker's watermark "J. Whatman / Turkey Mill" along the top-right edge of the sheet. The full sheet measures 24 3/4 x 35 1/8".
References: Low, Susanne, p. 29.
Magnificent original color with some expertly repaired tears in blank margins, and very light soiling in blank margins.