National Geographic Society Newsroom

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week #6

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 15,000 photographs from 87 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…

Louis Groenewald
Magical photograph of a Karoo prinia perched on grass... Mesmerizing! (Louis Groenewald)
James Kydd /
Sociable weaver arriving at a communal nest in Tswalu Kalahari (South Africa). These little birds join forces to construct gigantic nests that can weigh well over a tonne (James Kydd /
Trevor Hardaker
Almost prehistoric? Helmeted guineafowl in Kirstenbosch Gardens (Cape Town, South Africa) (Trevor Hardaker)
Trevor Hardaker
Spotted eagle-owl photographed on the ground. A common owl in South Africa. (Trevor Hardaker)
Rodnick Biljon
South Africa's national parrot: A pair of young Cape Parrot photographed in 2010. We have seen no youngsters this year so far due to significant losses last year due to beak and feather disease in 2011. (Rodnick Biljon)
Lennart Hessel
Northern shoveler looking at a perfect reflection. So many birds do this. Why? (Lennart Hessel)
© Art Wolfe / Art Wolfe Stock
Toucanets, are much smaller than toucans but have similarly shaped bills (Peru). (© Art Wolfe / Art Wolfe Stock)
Ron Linton
Screech Owl are named for their piercing calls. (Black Hills, South Dakota (USA)) (Ron Linton)
Adam Riley /
Cuban emerald in Las Terrazas (Cuba). The "Zun-zun" is the national bird of Cuba. (Adam Riley /
Trevor Hardaker
White-throated swallow in De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa). Collecting mud to build a nest... (Trevor Hardaker)
Ron Rijs
Black-shouldered kite. Up close and personal. These kites are able to hover over their prey before dropping for the kill... (Ron Rijs)
Karel Mauer
Great northern loon in an icy sea. Beautiful blue... (Netherlands) (Karel Mauer)


Louis Groenewald
Malachite kingfisher landing on a perch with a tadpole... Amazing photograph! (Louis Groenewald)
Ron Rijs
Lilac-breasted roller showing off amazing colors in the sunlight. Truly beautiful... (Ron Rijs)
Trevor Hardaker
Yellow bittern in a wetland in Thailand. They breed in much of the Indian Subcontinent, east to Japan and Indonesia... (Trevor Hardaker)
Edward Peach
Lesser striped swallow calling for more research into their movement patterns and migratory routes to avoid collisions with wind farms... (Edward Peach)
Karel Mauer
Greater flamingos "dancing" together in France. Love is in the air...(Karel Mauer)
Art Wolfe /
Massive flock of Demoiselle cranes in Khichan (India). Birds from western Eurasia will spend the winter in Africa whilst the birds from Asia, Mongolia and China will spend the winter in the Indian subcontinent... (Art Wolfe /
Louis Groenewald
Acacia pied barbet carrying a berry. Stunning photograph. (Louis Groenewald)
Adam Riley /
Rare photograph of a blue-naped chlorophonia at the Hotel do Ype Itatiaia (Brazil) (Adam Riley /
Art Wolfe /
A lone hippopotamus interrupts a flock of flamingos on Lake Narasha (Kenya)... (Art Wolfe /
Annelize Vorster De Beer
Cattle egret using a zebra as a vantage point to catch insects that the zebra disturbs in the grass. Team work... The egret is also looking for ticks on the zebra's back... (Annelize Vorster De Beer)
Brian Culver
Barn swallow launching off a perch. Designed for aviation...(Brian Culver)
Geoff Spanner
Two emus take turns to drink at a desert waterhole... (Geoff Spanner)
Adam Riley /
Red-necked falcon swooping down from a perch to pick up some speed... (Etosha National Park, Namibia) (Adam Riley /


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.


Dr Steve Boyes

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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.