Turacos, Trogons, woodpeckers, peafowl, nightjars, rollers and kingfishers… The birds of the world have had millions of years of natural selection with the ability to fly. They have conquered all terrestrial environments on earth and in the tropics and subtropics sexual selection has created a myriad of colors with extravagant tails, crests, wattles and bills. From the size of a hovering insect to larger than a human being, birds come in all shapes and sizes, most of which are able to fly….
Just look at the Rüppell’s Vulture (featured here) that is recognised as the world’s highest flying bird with confirmed evidence of them flying at 11,000 metres (36,100 ft). “Confirmed evidence” in that the vulture crashed into a commercial airliner in the jet stream. These vultures have specialised haemoglobin that allows them to store huge amounts of oxygen as they ascend to compensate for the lack of oxygen at high altitudes. They also have high quality down feathers to insulate them from the cold, an advanced circulatory system that slows flow to non-essential body parts (similar to free-divers) and a 3rd set of clear eyelids that function as flight goggles. The whole purpose of being up that high is to cover vast distances while on the look out for spiralling vultures down below, so sight is imporant… Amazing! They are on the edge of our atmosphere.
In this the 50th edition of the “Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week” I would like to congratulate all the photographers that have been part of this campaign to bring the beauty an wonder of wild birds to as many people around the world as possible. Thanks to the National Geographic Society for supporting this campaign and helping us build a community of people around wild birds. Get out there and take wild bird photographs for National Geographic’s “The Great Nature Project”! Simply include #greatnature #wildbird when posting new photos… Join the world in celebrating our natural heritage!
Join the Wild Bird Revolution today!! Be the first to introduce your friends, family and colleagues to the freedom and splendor of birds in the wild! Advances in digital photography have given us the opportunity to capture the beauty and freedom of birds in the wild like never before. Here are the “Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week” drawn from the hundreds of photographs submitted to the Wild Bird Trust for consideration every week. Celebrate the freedom and splendor of birds in the wild with us and stimulate positive change by sharing how beautiful the birds of the world really are…
Go to the new Wild Bird Trust website and make sure you have a chance to WIN an amazing pair of EL32 Swarovski binoculars! See these wild birds in real life with these amazing Swarovski binoculars…
- Purple-crested turacos are common sightings in moist woodland and evergreen forests in Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. (Chris Krog)
Indian nightjars are found in NW India and adjoining parts of Pakistan, as well as Sri Lanka and S of the Himalayas in the low elevations E to Bangladesh, Myanmar and Vietnam. (Nitin Lokur)
Indian peafowls are resident breeders across most of the Indian Subcontinent and and in many parts of N India are protected by religious practices and forage around villages and towns. (Sachin Somwanshi)
Red avadavats are found in the open fields and grasslands of tropical Asia, breeding on the Indian Subcontinent during monsoons. (Vinayak Yardi)
Red-headed trogons are resident in subtropical and tropical moist lowland and montane forests in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. (Sagar Gosavi)
Indian rollers are distributed from Middle East to the Indian Subcontinent where they are found N of the Vindhyas mountains. Like other rollers they are known for their rolling flight pattern during breeding season. (Nisha Purushothaman)
Oriental dwarf kingfishers are found in found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. Photographed here in the W Ghats (India). (Caesar Sengupta)
Yellow-billed cuckoos are common in SE United States. All populations declining, and now listed as Endangered in California. (Dan Pancamo)
White-backed vulture landing in Kenya. In 2012 they were further uplisted to Endangered. (Andre Marais)
Spotted antbirds are found in the subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests of Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama; as well as Colombia and Ecuador. (Frank Thierfelder)
Short-eared owls have one of the largest distributions of any bird with breeding populations in Europe, Asia, N and S America, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and the Galápagos Islands. (Sagar Gosavi)
Malabar pied hornbills are relatively common in tropical S Asia distributed from India and Sri Lanka E all the way to Borneo, preferring evergreen and moist deciduous forests with fig trees. (Gururaj Moorching)
Narina trogons are hard to find throughout their wide distribution throughout Africa from Sierra Leone to Ethiopia, and from E Africa to E and S South Africa. (Kyle de Nobrega)
Vigors’s sunbirds are endemic to the Western Ghats (India) and have been reported in the Nilgiris. (Gururaj Moorching)
Gulls are adaptable foragers that opportunistically feed on fish and marine or freshwater invertebrates, but will take insects, earthworms, rodents, eggs, carrion, offal, reptiles, amphibians, plant items such as seeds and fruit, human refuse, and even other birds. (Ganesh Baga)
Southern double-collared sunbirds are endemic to the S parts of South Africa and prefer gardens, fynbos, forests and coastal scrub. (Graham Traas)
Giant kingfishers are the largest kingfisher in Africa and are resident throughout SubSaharan Africa. (Richard & Eileen Flack / www.theflacks.co.za)
D’Arnaud’s barbet most commonly seen in arid regions of the Rift Valley (e.g. Lake Baringo and Samburu), preferring savanna grassland and dry scrub. (Adam Riley / www.rockjumperbirding.com)
White-bellied woodpeckers are found in the evergreen forests of tropical Asia from the Indian Subcontinent and SE Asia, and are separated into 14 subspecies. (Nisha Purushothaman) (Nisha Purushothaman)
Nilgiri flycatchers have a very restricted distributional range in the hills of S India, preferring the higher altitude shola forests of the W Ghats and Nilgiris. (Mohamed Mothi)
African hoopoes (Upupa epops africana) are found in S and E africa, and are the most rufous of the nine subspecies. (Anja Denker)
White-throated kingfishers are one of the most widely distributed tree kingfishers found in Eurasia from Bulgaria, Turkey, W Asia all he way E through the Indian Subcontinent to the Philippines. (Aromal Asokan)
Bokmakieries are near-endemic to South Africa and Namibia with an isolated population in the mountains of E Zimbabwe and W Mozambique, preferring open habitats like karoo scrub, and fynbos, as well as parks and gardens in urban areas. (Richard & Eileen Flack / www.theflacks.co.za)
Brown-necked gulls breed on the high plateaus of central Asia from Tajikistan to Inner Mongolia, migrating to the coasts and large inland lakes of tropical S Asia in winter. (Caesar Sengupta)
Purple-rumped sunbirds are common resident breeder in S India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, preferring scrub and cultivated land with trees. (Caesar Sengupta)
Please join the Wild Bird Trust page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to receive all wild bird photo updates and news from our research and conservation projects in the field. Submit your own photos and become part of this important public awareness campaign to bring the magic of wild birds to the world. Prepare to be blown away every week… The Wild Bird Trust was founded in South Africa in August 2009 with the primary objective of keeping birds safe in the wild. The trust aims to encourage the use of flagship endangered bird species as “ecosystem ambassadors” in their indigenous habitat. The trust focusses on linking ordinary people with conservation action in the field through innovative marketing campaigns and brand development. Saving Africa’s birds is going to take a determined effort from all of us.
See last week “Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week #49″: