Tributes have been paid to the Norfolk wildlife artist Martin Woodcock, who is believed to have died on Sunday.

%image(14685881, type="article-full", alt="Birdlife artist Martin Woodcock in his studio. Picture Archant.")

Most well-known for his illustrations of birds, during his lifetime the prolific artist - who had a studio in Blakeney - created thousands of images for some of the most popular bird field guides of recent decades.

Among the guides he illustrated were; A Handguide to Birds of the Indian Sub-Continent, The Birds of Oman and the Gem Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe which sold more than 500,000 copies.

But Mr Woodcock's biggest volume of work was the seven-volume Birds of Africa which took the illustrator 25-years to complete, and included 220 plates of more than 5000 bird figures from across the continent.

Sharing the news of Mr Woodcock's death on Twitter, his peers and admirers have paid tribute to the artist who reportedly died on Sunday morning.

Stephen Moss, a naturalist, author and TV producer who has worked on the BBC program Springwatch tweeted: 'Sad news on this bright early spring day. My dear friend, the bird artist Martin Woodcock, died this morning.

'Such a talented, dear and lovely man, whose passing is a loss to us all.'

Mark Cocker, a naturalist and author tweeted: 'Loved by all Stephen, indeed, but a life of remarkable achievement. A man of glorious good humour.'

Responding to Mr Moss' tweet, Tim Appleton said: 'Will be sadly missed by us all at Birdfair , such sad news' and Gary Allport said: 'very sad to see him go - such a gentleman.'

%image(14685882, type="article-full", alt="Martin Woodcock's painting of an "Otter at Thetford" which is currently on display at the World Land Trust gallery in Halesworth.")

%image(14685883, type="article-full", alt="Pinkfeet over Blakeney, by Martin Woodcock. Art competition, week 94.For: NNNDate 06/12/2007")