Rivers and lakes are important habitats for many bird species because they provide food in the form of fish and aquatic invertebrates, shelter made from aquatic vegetation, and nesting sites within the aquatic vegetation that are sheltered from view. In some areas the water levels of rivers and lakes may vary with rainfall causing their banks to overflow seasonally providing nutrient rich habitats. Birds adapt to these seasonal fluctuations and some species will breed when the water levels are high and food is abundant, while others will breed when water levels are low and prey is easier to see.

Thank you to all the photographers that submitted photos of birds that use rivers and lakes, your pictures can create awareness about the importance of these habitats for birds. Here we present the Top 25 photographs from this week’s theme.

Wood ducks are found in North America, at the beginning of the 20th century due to habitat loss and hunting these birds had almost disappeared from their range. Due to a combination of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act brought out in 1918, the ending of unregulated hunting, protecting breeding areas of these birds, and building artificial nest boxes, their populations began to increase (Anindya Dutta)

Close up of a female mallard photographed in Los Angeles, California, USA (Henser Villela)

Eurasian spoonbills use wetland habitats, rivers, lakes and marshes, they use their wide bill to search for prey in water by moving their bill side to side in the water (Paneedra BA)

Oriental darters are found in freshwater lakes and streams in South Asia and Southeast Asia, they build a stick platform in a nest tree that is surrounded by water (Bhuvana Praveen)

Bar-headed geese breed near mountain lakes in Central Asia, they migrate over the Himalayas so that they can winter in some parts of South Asia, because they fly at such high altitudes these birds have adapted to be able to breathe deeply and efficiently when oxygen is low (Wasif Yaqeen)

Mute swan and cygnet; these birds are native to Eurasia and have been introduced into other areas, the cygnets are only able to fly after approximately 150 days (Kelly Hunt)

Pied Kingfisher diving towards its target in Keshopur Wetlands, Gurdaspur, India (Vishesh Kamboj)

Black-bellied whistling ducks inhabit shallow freshwater ponds, lakes, and marshes where they are able to feed on seeds and plant material, they are distributed in southernmost United States, and Central to south-central South America (Ellie Kidd)

A gathering of wooly-necked storks, black-headed ibis, and black-winged stilt in Pune, Maharashtra, India (Vishwanath Paranjpe)

Northern lapwings are common in temperate Europe they winter in north Africa, northern India, Pakistan, and parts of China, they breed in wet natural grasslands, and are listed as near threatened due to wetland drainage, and land use intensification (Soumendu Das)

White breasted waterhen passing through shallow waters of a stream, it can be found in tropical Asia and feeds on insects, small fish, and aquatic invertebrates (Indranil Bhattacharjee)

Lesser whistling ducks breed in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, they feed at night and will eat plants, grains, small fish, and frogs (Kallol Bhattacharya)

A whiskered tern with its catch in Mangalajodi, Orissa, India (Binit Chatterjee)

Wilson’s snipe breed in Canada and the northern United States, they make use of marshes, bogs, tundra and wet meadows, photographed here in Bubali, Aruba (Michiel Oversteegen)

A red-crested pochard photographed in Starnberg Lake, Bavaria, Germany (Gargi Biswas)

White-tailed lapwings make use of a wide variety of aquatic habitats, and feed on small invertebrates and insects (Jasvir Faridkot)

Tufted ducks are found in northern Eurasia, and they make use of marsh and lake habitats (Sujoy Sarkar)

Reflection of a lesser flamingo in Jamnagar, Gujarat, India (Vishwas Thakker)

Great reed warblers breed in Europe and westernmost temperate Asia, they make use of reed beds and feed on insects. Photographed here in Northern Italy (Giuliano Mandelli)

Northern pintails use unwooded wetlands in areas of northern Europe, Asia, and North America to breed (Ramesh Aithal)

The Dalmation pelican is the largest species of pelican, it breeds from southeastern Europe to Russia, India, and China, and makes use of lakes, rivers, deltas and estuaries (Hitesh Chawla)

Bronze winged jacanas breed in India and southeast Asia, the females are more brightly coloured than the males, and they feed on plant material, insects, and invertebrates (Dr SS Suresh)

Northern pintail taking off in Mangalajodi, Odisha, India (Tanmoy Das)

Rosy pelicans breed in swamps and shallow lakes in Europe, Asia, and Africa (Anirban RoYchowdhury)

Western reef heron photographed at sunset in Mithapur, Gujarat, India (Chirag Parmar)

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


See our previous Top 25: January