Changing Planet

“Free Birds”: Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week #20

We received over 2,000 photographs for this week’s “Top 25″… Join our Wild Bird Revolution and introduce your friends to freedom and splendor of birds in the wild! Wild, free-living birds are ambassadors of the natural habitat they depend upon. Some eat only meat, while other eat only nectar. Some migrate from Cape Town to Siberia between seasons, while others stay at home to protect their patch. Some live 99% of the time in the sky, others live almost entirely underwater. The birds of the world have an astounding diversity of color, design, function, grace, power and creativity that can only come from millions of years of mastering life on earth, or, should I say, in the air. These feathered aviators come from the age of the dinosaurs and their ancestors can be found as ancient fossils from prehistory. From pole to pole they had just about found a home and a place everywhere, in the air, under the waves, in the branches, in your garden, above cities, and in our forests. We need to do everything we can as a society to ensure that future generations have the amazing diversity of birds in their gardens, towns, parks, reserves and wilderness areas that we still have…


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. 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…

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 public awareness campaign to bring the magic of wild birds to the world. Prepare to be blown away every week…

Debapratim Saha
Canary flycatchers are restricted to SE Asia where they breed in upland to montane oak and other broad-leaved forests in temperate to tropical S Asia, from Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka to Indonesia and S China. (Debapratim Saha)
Anja Denker
Rock kestrel and their closest cousins are widespread throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa, preferring a variety of habitats with close proximity to rocky outcrops. (Anja Denker)
Chris Krog
Retz's Helmetshrikes mobve around in flocks of between 5 and 30 individuals, which become nomadic in response to food stress. They are found throughout S, central and E Africa. (Chris Krog)
Suranjan Mukherjee
European robin perched on a signboard asking people not to feed birds. Photographed on a winter's morning in Cannock Chase (Staffordshire, UK) where garden birds has been developing skin infections most likely from feeding on food left out by local residents (e.g. stale bread). (Suranjan Mukherjee)
Suranjan Mukherjee
Brown shrikes have a distinctive black "bandit-mask" through the eye and are found in open scrub habitats perched on the tops of thorny bushes in search of prey. They are widespread and breed in temperate Asia, migrating to tropical Asia during winter. (Suranjan Mukherjee)
Justin Klusener
Southern white-faced scops-owl prefer a wide range of woodland habitat situated along dry river beds. They are locally common residents and feed on a numerous invertebrate and vertebrate prey. (Justin Klusener)
Antero Topp
Harlequin ducks breed along cold, fast-moving streams in NW and NE North America, Greenland, Iceland and W Russia. The eastern North American population is declining and is considered endangered. Photographed in Stykkisholmur (Iceland). (Antero Topp)
Debapratim Saha
Sapphire flycatchers are found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam where they prefer subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. (Debapratim Saha)
Soumya Sundar Chakraborty
Yellow-vented flowerpeckers are found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. They prefer subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. (Soumya Sundar Chakraborty)
Debapratim Saha
Red-headed trogons are found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam, preferring subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. (Debapratim Saha)
Pushpal Goswami
Rose-ringed parakeet is a gregarious tropical Afro-Asian parakeet species that has an extremely large distributional range and have demonstrated an ability to establish feral populations in cities around the world. (Pushpal Goswami)
Debapratim Saha
Red crossbills breed in the spruce forests of North America. They specialize in feeding on conifer cones (particularly spruces). Their unusual bill shape is an adaptation to assist the extraction of the seeds from the cones. (Debapratim Saha)
Justin Klusener
NarinaTrogons are the most widespread and generalist in their habitat preferences of the three Apaloderma trogons. Their name is "Khoikhoi" in origin and is believed to come from the mistress of the French ornithologist, François Le Vaillant. They are distributed from Sierra Leone to Ethiopia, and E Africa to South Africa. (Justin Klusener)
Debapratim Saha
Long-tailed broadbills are found in the Himalayas, SE Asia, and Indonesia, and are the only bird in the genus Psarisomus. They are highly sociable and normally travels in large, noisy flocks. (Debapratim Saha)
Soumya Sundar Chakraborty
Little ringed plovers breed in open gravel areas near freshwater, including gravel pits, islands and river edges throughout Europe and western Asia. They nest on the ground on stones with little or no plant growth. (Soumya Sundar Chakraborty)
Bulan Chakraborty
White-throated kingfishers are distributed throughout Eurasia and feed on a wide range of prey that includes small reptiles, amphibians, crabs, small rodents, and even birds. (Bulan Chakraborty)
Justin Klusener
Grey crowned cranes are found in the dry savannas of Africa south of the Sahara. They have a booming call that involves the inflation of the red gular sac (pictured), producing a honking sound quite different from the trumpeting of other crane species. (Justin Klusener)
Debapratim Saha
Green-tailed sunbirds are found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam, preferring temperate forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. (Debapratim Saha)
Antero Topp
Great northern diver is distributed throughout Eurasia and North America. have disappeared from some lakes in eastern North America due to the effects of acid rain and pollution, as well as lead poisoning from fishing sinkers and mercury contamination from industrial waste. Photographed here in Myvatn (Iceland). (Antero Topp)
Debapratim Saha
Great Indian hornbills are found in the forests of Nepal, India, the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra, Indonesia. They are considered "Near Threatened" and are listed on CITES Appendix I. (Debapratim Saha)
Israel Momin
Crested serpent eagles are found in forested habitats across tropical Asia. Photographed here in Meghalaya (NE India). (Israel Momin)
Gareth Robbins
Cape weavers are endemic to South Africa and occur in grasslands, agricultural lands, and fynbos habitats, which are near rivers. They form noisy colonies in tall trees and reedbeds. (Gareth Robbins)
Pushpal Goswami
Common kingfishers have a wide distribution across Eurasia and North Africa. They are also known as the Eurasian kingfisher or river kingfisher. (Pushpal Goswami)
Allan Holland
Purple herons breed in Africa, central and S Europe, as wella as S and E Asia. They have a slow flight pattern that shows off the amazing markings on the retracted neck. (Allan Holland)
Debapratim Saha
Ruby-cheeked sunbirds are found in the forests of found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. (Debapratim Saha)


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



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 Wild Bird Trust 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.


See Wild Bird Trust’s epic research expedition across the Okavango Delta using mokoros over 18 days:

1) Bush Boyes on Expedition – 2012 Okavango Wetland Bird Survey

2) Bush Boyes on Expedition – Seronga to Jedibe Across the People’s Okavango…

3) Bush Boyes on Expedition – Madinari “Mother of the Buffalo” Island to the Mombo Wilderness…

4) Bush Boyes on Expedition – Escape from Chief’s Island and World Heritage Status…

See the Africa Birds & Birding Facebook page for amazing bird photography from Africa!

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.
  • Anja Denker

    I look forward to the top 25 bird photographs every week with great anticipation due to the spectacular avian photography and because of the fact that there are new species included every week, some of them which I have never ever seen or heard of – just beautiful!!l

  • Anja Denker

    I look forward to the Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs every week with great anticipation; partly because of the spectacular avian photography and also because of the fact that there a new species featured every week – most which I have never seen or heard before – just beautiful!!

  • Erin Thomsen

    Gorgeous top 25….brilliantly photographed and chosen.

    Erin T.

  • hassoumi ali


  • erin livan

    big stunners,little stunners,they make your day-a sighting can

  • noel gerardo chacon noguera

    todas excelentes dificil escoger soy amante de la naturaleza en especial de las aves felicitaciones

  • devendra lamichhane

    they are awar porpoti, save it, and than thank’s for wild bird photograpy

  • devendra lamichhane

    thay are awar porpoty, save it. and thank’s for wild bird photography

  • Richard Charles Rivera Reynolds

    This blog is “birdtastic”. Surely I am anxious for future photos weekly!! Thanks for sharing. They are superb!!

  • rafael aguilar

    que hermosas aves los felicito por sus fotografías de Venezuela………..

  • worldwildzoom

    Hi guys great selection!

    I sugest Worldwildzoom Ipad app if you are Bird lovers.

  • Mrs Manju Das

    i admire your Photography. I like to say that Ornithologists will be grateful to you for those collection of birds images.

  • juditha

    La creacion de Dios algo sin igual , ADMIRABLE , PRECIOSO
    lo que nos da alegria nos llena realmente ,; LOS ANIMALES POSEEN ESA BELLEZA SIN VANIDAD ; Y que fotografos increibles que creatividad son realmente maravillosos que mucho disfruto con NG.

  • Mara Kuprisa

    Nice!! Thanks you ! I ilke:)

  • Silvia González Castro

    Esto es en grado sumo ¡maravilloso!Gracias muchas gracias a todas estas personas amantes de la naturaleza y que se dedican a protegerla.Vivo en Reñaca Alto,es un sector semi rural de Viña y cada amanecer despierto y disfruto con las avecillas que abundan por estos lares.Tordos,chirigües ,loicas zorzales ,tencas ect. esto es a distitos horarios ,ya que yo trabajo en mi huerto casi el día entero ,como buena descendiente de mi pueblo aborigen amo adoro la pacha mama.

  • Khurram

    All praises to almighty
    Who has painted them beautifuly them without any
    Brush or colour

  • Arram
  • William


  • Maria Cecilia Herrera Mieles

    Jehova Dios hizo todo perfecto y ellos parte de su creación, todo hecho para nosotros con amor, y para que lo cuidáramos y apreciáramos. Gracias Dios y cuídalas de los cazadores.

  • Ilanchezhian Swaminathan


  • Ysabel Durán

    Que belleza, solo la naturaleza tiene colore y conbinaciones perfectos

  • Akshay Taneja

    Excellent photography and great creation of nature.Save them at any cost. It is very important for environment.

  • dr bibhu ranjan das

    great picturesqe photos ,a thing of beauty is joy for ever

  • ABID


  • abbas

    it is very nice and very EXCELLENT thx

  • Walter

    Al observar la gran variedad de aves existentes en el Planeta,nos damos cuenta que tiene que haber una mano que diseña y no producto de un azar . Gracias a estos sensacionales fotografos por mostrarnos este hermoso espectaculo .

  • samer

    thank you .good job


    We have so many diverse species of birds. They are all beautiful.

  • Silvia González Castro

    Me gustaría saber sí Nat. Geo. edita algún libro solo dedicado a las aves y como poder adquirirlo?

  • Ahmad Reza Yazdani

    with best wishes to you all.
    thanks god and you all for these grateful creatures.
    with anticipation


    Superb…Good job nice photographs….I am anxious for future photos weekly!! Thanks for sharing.

  • munna

    Welcome, National Geographic vary vary thank.



  • Riaz Muhammad

    I am doing wild life photography as hobby .. its a treat watching these lovely birds.. how i can i add mine..

  • All you need to do to have your amazing wild bird photographs considered for the Top 25 is send a few of your best photos each week to: and we will take care of the rest. Alternatively, please submit via our Facebook page:
    All the best,
    Dr Steve Boyes

  • Imad Cherkaoui


  • mira karreemun

    Thanks a lot for these beautiful and breathtaking pictures. They are a treat for my eyes and adorn my computer screen while being idle. May you continue to share with us all the beauties of nature through your pictures. Thanks a lot again.

  • Benedict Toh

    are simply beautifulthe photographs

  • Kanchan Lele

    How GOD has created such beautiful colours from one single egg.

  • Rama Kant Choudhary

    Nice photographs. I support the Wild Bird Revolution.

  • ayanurgiri

    all birds r verry sharp, good color, and all r verry rare birds


    Very beautiful pictures of these birds. They have very beautiful colors.


    Sir my name is Adnan and I’m from Pakistan dubai authors now have little time head many types of birds and animals in Pakistan if you help me If you have bird or animal movie or picture as you can If you want to meet me is my number 00971557152883 my dubai no 00923343164228 my pakistani no
    00923006707126 my brather no pak

    I will wait for your call

  • Aripurnomo Kartohardjono

    Nice birds, . . . . . . .thumb up

  • waseem

    masterpieces in photgraphy

  • Minimol John

    Grand photos. Nice information. ” A thing of beauty is a joy forever”

  • Jagadishwar Chatla

    The pics and notes are very informative….
    Photography is Xcellent

  • satish

    super photos

  • Ageng

    bhn ji in rachnaaon ki pnsrhsaa ke liyen mere paas shbd hi nahin hai or tlaashne pr mil bhi nahi rahe hai fir bhi badhaai ..akhtar khan akela kota rajsthan


    It’s Nice & Beautiful

  • Zahid Zaheer Bhatty

    All they are so beautiful. Their beauty touch my heart. God is Great. God bless to us.

  • Avi

    It was flattering to see this gallery, and most amazing birds around. can you please let me know How can I submit the Photo for this section?


  • Mickey Herd

    Just so beautiful!!! Thank you all for sharing.

  • Owen Deutsch

    These beauties make my day, thank you for sharing.

  • jadeja jaypalsinh

    It’s very good, i like it

  • bholanathmahato

    I am like this birds beautifull collection.

  • dr s n jha

    excellent photography

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Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

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