Bird flight has sparked many people’s imaginations throughout history; inspiring artwork, and aircraft design. Thanks to special adaptations such as feathers, and hollow wing bones, most bird species are capable of flight. Due to the varying sizes and shapes of birds there are different styles of flying. Flapping is common but energy intensive, this flight is often alternated with gliding where horizontal air currents are used to move birds forward. Soaring flight makes use of vertical air currents and is used mainly by large birds, either using upward moving air currents against slopes such as cliffs; slope soaring, or by using pockets of air that are warmed on the ground and rise; thermal soaring.
Thank you to all the photographers that submitted birds in flight photos, your pictures can create awareness about the many birds that make use of flight, and the different styles that are used. Here we present the Top 25 photographs from this week’s theme.
Blue-winged parakeet flying overhead to land, photographed in Kerala, India (Kishore Bakshi)
Indian river tern reflection, they are found near freshwater lakes, streams, and creeks, and feed on fish, frogs, crustaceans and aquatic insects (Unmesh Jadav)
Marsh harriers hunt in open grasslands, wetlands, and farmlands for small mammals, birds, and insects (Mainak Ray)
Long-billed vultures are native to India, Pakistan, and Nepal. Due to poisoning in the early 2000s their populations declined and they are listed as endangered by the IUCN, long term captive breeding programs have been set up to assist conservation of this species (Atanu Chakraborty)
Pied kingfisher flying head first into the water after spotting a fish, their normal flight is rapid, and they are widely distributed across Africa and Asia (Vishesh-Kamboj)
Great egrets are found in wetlands in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and southern Europe, they have a patch of facial skin that turns green during the breeding season (Harish Chopra)
Western sandpipers breed in tundra in Siberia and Alaska, then migrate in large flocks to the coasts of North and South America, photographed here in California, USA (Barbara Wallace)
White-bellied sea-eagle taking off with its catch which it will eat while flying, these birds fly using slow flaps and gliding (Partha Roy)
This common cuckoo is a summer migrant to Europe and Asia, wintering in Africa, pictured here in Surrey, UK (Edwin Godinho)
Bronze-winged jacanas, found in India and southeast Asia, have large feet and claws to allow them to walk on floating vegetation (Indranil Bhattacharjee)
Laggar falcons are found on the Indian subcontinent, they are considered near threatened due to pesticide use, and as bait for larger falcons (Sandeep Beas)
Black kites are found in open areas with access to water, and live in social groups (Vijay Singh Chandel)
Greater flamingos are widespread omnivorous filter feeders; found in Africa, India, Middle East, and Europe, photographed here in Chennai, India (Anath Ramasamy)
Low flying rosy-throated longclaw in Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya (Shantharam Holla)
Roseate spoonbills are found in coastal Florida, Texas, and south west Louisiana in the USA, in marsh, lagoon, and mudflat habitats (J Bernardo Sanchez)
Osprey coming in to land, in Louisiana, USA (Rhonda Lane)
White-tailed kites are found in grasslands and marshes of North America, where they feed on rodents (Leslie Reagan)
Spot-billed pelicans are found in inland coastal waters, and shallow, lowland forests, habitat loss and human disturbance have resulted in this species being listed as near threatened by the IUCN (Malini Shanmuganathan)
Steppe eagle flying in Binsar India, these majestic birds are classified as endangered by the IUCN due to rapid population declines caused by habitat destruction and power line collisions (Preety Patel)
Brahminy kites scavenge mainly dead fish and crabs, but will also hunt live prey (Partha Roy)
Wire-tailed swallow landing from flight in Haryana, India, these birds are found in open country and near human habitation (Gur Simrat Singh)
Pair of Eurasian spoonbills fly together in India, these wading birds live in shallow wetlands, and on muddy and clay beds (Anvita Paranjpe)
Blue-winged parakeets are endemic to the western Ghats of India, and will screech while flying (Ramesh Aithal)
Found throughout sub-saharan Africa, African fish-eagles are the national bird of four countries; Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Sudan (Vinayak Yardi)
Dalmation pelicans are the largest members of the pelican family, and are considered near threatened due to wetland drainage and water pollution (Marios Mantzourogiannis)
Our mission is to build a global community around the freedom and beauty of birds in the wild as ambassadors for the natural ecosystems that they depend upon. They are the music, decoration, and character of every terrestrial habitat on the planet and have been around since the dinosaurs. They are the witnesses and ambassadors of the awesome power of nature. The wide availability of good, cheap optics has opened their world to us for the last few decades. Amazing, affordable DSLR cameras with long lenses are delivering brilliant digital bird imagery to online communities.
We are in a day-and-age during which more bird species are threatened with extinction than ever before. The Wild Birds! Revolution aims to publish the “Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week” to 1 million people every week by the end of the year. That is a revolution that will change the world! Join thousands of other weekend naturalists, photographers, birders, experts, hikers, nature-lovers, guides, scientists, conservationists and artists that share the thousands of wild bird photographs submitted to the Wild Bird Trust website and Facebook page. Thousands of wild bird enthusiasts are going out every day to photograph our planet’s beautiful birdlife. Pick up your camera, fill your bird feeder, open your heart, and join the Wild Birds! Revolution!!
Edited by Laurie Johnson, Campaign Manager