National Geographic Society Newsroom

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week #3

Advances in digital photography have given us the opportunity to capture the beauty and freedom of birds in the wild like never before. In January 2011, the Wild Bird Trust set up a Facebook page with the intention of celebrating free flight and birds in the wild from around the world. Here are the “Top 25 Wild...

Advances in digital photography have given us the opportunity to capture the beauty and freedom of birds in the wild like never before. In January 2011, the Wild Bird Trust set up a Facebook page with the intention of celebrating free flight and birds in the wild from around the world. Here are the “Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week” drawn from thousands of photographs submitted to the Wild Bird Trust. Almost 14,000 photographs from 82 photographers from around the world have been emailed to us or posted on our Facebook wall so far. 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 with the world…


Please join the Wild Bird Trust page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to receive all wild bird photo updates and join the Wild Bird Revolution. Submit your own photos and become part of this important effort to bring the magic of wild birds to the world. Prepare to be blown away every week…


Hendri Venter
Pel's fishing owl roosting through the day in the lush canopy of an evergreen trees. (Hendri Venter)
Rodnick Biljon
Extreme close-up of a secretary bird in the Kruger National Park (South Africa). (Rodnick Biljon)
Ron Rijs
Close-up of the much photographed lilac-breasted roller. (Ron Rijs)
Michele Nel
Greater double-collared sunbird feeding on a flower. (Michele Nel)
Jonathan Pledger
Male sugarbird with tail in the wind. Awesome. (Jonathan Pledger)
Rodnick Biljon
Diederik cuckoo perched on a white fence and staying long enough for the photographer to get this close. (Rodnick Biljon)
Adam Riley
Bare-legged owls or Cuban screech owls are endemic to Cuba. They live predominantly in the high canopy where do most of their foraging and roosting. ( (Adam Riley)
Rodnick Biljon
Cape Parrot feeding on ripe wild plum in King William's Town (South Africa). (Rodnick Biljon)
Rob Aspeling
Thick-billed weaver sitting in the nest cup that this male is building. (Rob Aspeling)
Senpo Tung
Despite its name, the Kentish plover species no longer breeds in Kent, or even Great Britain. They have breeding populations from southern Europe to Japan and in Ecuador, Peru, Chile, the southern United States, and the Caribbean. This photograph was taken in Taiwan. (Senpo Tung)
Vanessa Stephens
Gentoo penguins are the third largest species of penguin after the two giant species, the Emperor Penguin and the King Penguin. (Vanessa Stephens)
Lennart Hessel
Pied kingfisher zooming down like an arrow to catch a small fish. (Lennart Hessel)
Joel Delgado
Portrait of a green hermit showing off the long bill. (Joel Delgado)
Lennart Hessel
Squacco heron hiding in the grass with its eggs. (Lennart Hessel)
Joel Delgado
Portrait of a Blue-crowned Motmot. (Joel Delgado)
Tong Menxiu
Grey-throated minivets are found in Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, and China. (Tong Menxiu)
Joel Delgado
Portrait of collared redstart showing bright yellow coloration. (Joel Delgado)
Chris Krog
Violet-backed starling are strongly sexually dimorphic and distributed widely in woodland of mainland sub-Saharan Africa. (Chris Krog)
Rob Aspeling
Red-billed teals flying past in formation before landing near the reedbed. (Rob Aspeling)
Grey-headed parrotbill is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam, restricted to subtropical or tropical most-belt montane forests. (Tong Menxiu)
Ragoo Rao
Spotted Owlets looking out from their daytime roost site. Beautiful. (Ragoo Rao)
Lennart Hessel
The Eurasian treecreeper is insectivorous and climbs up tree trunks like a mouse, to search for insects which it picks from crevices in the bark with its fine curved bill. (Lennart Hessel)
Marie Claude OROSQUETTE Photographe animalier
Lilac-breasted roller in flight. Beautiful. (Marie Claude OROSQUETTE Photographe animalier)
Louis Groenewald
Malachite kingfisher with a tadpole in its beak landing on a branch. (Louis Groenewald)
Brian Culver
The White-faced duck is a whistling duck that breeds in sub-Saharan Africa and most of South America. (Brian Culver)


See the last “Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week” blog post on National Geographic News Watch:



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.

The main aims and objectives of the WBT are to:

  • To advance the research in, education about and conservation of all birds in the wild as well as the related habitat.
  • Focus will be placed primarily on African species that act as ecosystem and biodiversity indicators although other species and geographical areas will be considered as well.
  • To work with all interested and involved parties including government, private sector, NGOs, education and research institutions, aviculture and bird-watching sectors without losing objectivity and independence.

In the pursuit of these aims and objectives the Wild Bird trust works closely with relevant local and international entities and persons, including: government authorities; educational institutions; conservation organizations; and avicultural organizations. The trust is funded entirely by its founder members, charitable donations and conservation grants.   The National Geographic Society Conservation Trust was the first to award a large grant to the Wild Bird Trust for our work on the Cape Parrot Project. See:


About National Geographic Society

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Meet the Author

Steve Boyes
Steve Boyes has dedicated his life to conserving Africa's wilderness areas and the species that depend upon them. After having worked as a camp manager and wilderness guide in the Okavango Delta and doing his PhD field work on the little-known Meyer's Parrot, Steve took up a position as a Centre of Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. He has since been appointed the Scientific Director of the Wild Bird Trust and is a 2014 TED Fellow. His work takes him all over Africa, but his day-to-day activities are committed to South Africa's endemic and Critically Endangered Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus). Based in Hogsback Village in the Eastern Cape (South Africa), Steve runs the Cape Parrot Project, which aims to stimulate positive change for the species through high-quality research and community-based conservation action. When not in Hogsback, Steve can be found in the Okavango Delta where he explores remote areas of this wetland wilderness on "mokoros" or dug-out canoes to study endangered bird species in areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Steve is a 2013 National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work in the Okavango Delta and on the Cape Parrot Project.