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Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week #22

Join the Wild Bird Revolution! Be the first to introduce your friends, family and colleagues to the freedom and splendor of birds in the wild! The vibrant colors, fine feathers, and sparkling eyes are all crystal clear. Advances in digital photography have given us the opportunity to capture the beauty and freedom of birds in the wild...

Join the Wild Bird Revolution! Be the first to introduce your friends, family and colleagues to the freedom and splendor of birds in the wild! The vibrant colors, fine feathers, and sparkling eyes are all crystal clear. 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 the thousands, upon 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…


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…

Please join the Wild Bird Trust page on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to receive all wild bird photo updates and news from our research and conservation projects in the field. 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…


Cape parrot sitting in a Cape lilac tree whose yellow fruits are reputed to be poisonous. These Endangered parrots feed on this fruit from India, SE Asia and Australia when local food resources become depleted. There are less than 1,000 of these shining, amazing parrots left on earth. (Rodnick Clifton Biljon)

Please watch this informative National Geographic video on the Cape Parrot Project:

Amit Kumar
Scaly-breasted munias can become feral outside of their distributional range with escaped birds establishing themselves in areas with suitable climate. Escaped or introduced populations have been recorded in the West Indies, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Australia, Japan and the southern United States (mainly Florida and California). (Amit Kumar)
Rodnick Clifton Biljon
Black-headed herons are found throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. They differ from their closest congener, the Grey Heron, in that they prefer to hunt well away from water, taking large insects, small mammals, and birds. (Rodnick Clifton Biljon)
Adam Riley /
Nicobar pigeons are found on small islands and in coastal regions from the Nicobar Islands, E through the Malay Archipelago, to the Solomon Islands and Palau. They are the only living member of the genus Caloenas. Photographed here in Papua New Guinea. (Adam Riley /
Debapratim Saha
Northern lapwings are common through temperate Eurasia, and are highly migratory over most of their extensive range. They winter further S as far as N Africa, N India, Pakistan, and parts of China. (Debapratim Saha)
Lennart Hessel /
Common whitethroats are common and widespread warbler that breed throughout Europe and across much of temperate W Asia. They are strongly migratory, wintering in tropical Africa, Arabia and Pakistan. (Lennart Hessel /
Munib Chaudry
Lappet-faced vultures are patchily distributed through much of Africa (mainly restricted to conservation areas). Absent in the central and western parts of the continent and declining everywhere else. They nests in Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Sudan, SE Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, NE South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Benin, Central African Republic, and S Angola. Across the sea, the species nests in Arabia, Yemen, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. (Munib Chaudry)
Rodnick Clifton Biljon
African green pigeons are being trapped to extinction in the Congo forests by desperate local villagers dependent on the bushmeat trade for survival. Millions of these pigeons are caught in nets, plucked, skewered and smoked before being sent to bushmeat markets. (Rodnick Clifton Biljon)

MUST READ NewsWatch blog on the trade in the congo’s green pigeons: 

Trevor Hardaker
The little-known spectacled barwing is found in China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, where they prefer subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. Photographed here in Thailand. (Trevor Hardaker)
Tadeusz Rosinski
African emerald cuckoos are widespread in Africa and are found in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Photographed here in Uganda. (Tadeusz Rosinski)
Debapratim Saha
Hill prinias are in the Cisticolidae family, and are found in Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. (Debapratim Saha)
Billy Crow
Hummingbirds can hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings 12–80 times per second. Their heart rate can reach as high as 1,260 beats per minute. There is a lot of activity behind this look... (Billy Crow)
Bram Avi Hirschfield
Barn swallows are the most widespread species of swallow in the world. There are six subspecies that breed across the Northern Hemisphere. Four are strongly migratory and winter over much of the Southern Hemisphere, ranging as far S as Argentina, South Africa and Australia. (Bram Avi Hirschfield)
Debapratim Saha
Blue-winged minlas are found in the Indian Subcontinent and SE Asia, ranging across Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Tibet, and Vietnam. They prefer subtropical or tropical moist montane forests and are treat to see in the evergreen foliage. (Debapratim Saha)
Safique Hazarika
Greater coucals are widespread resident in Asia, from India, E to S China and Indonesia. Their booming calls are associated with many superstitions and beliefs, often speaking for spirits and signaling omens. (Safique Hazarika)
Safique Hazarika
Greylag geese were previously known as "wild geese", as they are the ancestor of domesticated geese in Europe and N America. Flocks of feral birds derived from domesticated birds are widespread. (Safique Hazarika)
Debbie Aird
Cape white-eyes are hard workers in the lower canopy where they feed mainly on insects, but also soft fleshy flowers, nectar, fruit and small seeds. (Debbie Aird)
Dhritiman Hore
Black-rumped flamebacks are widely distributed in the Indian Subcontinent. They are one of the few woodpeckers that are seen in urban areas, and are easily identifiable by their characteristic rattling-whinnying call and undulating flight. (Dhritiman Hore)
Safique Hazarika
Asian paradise flycatchers inhabit thick forests and well-wooded habitats from Turkestan to Manchuria, all over India and Sri Lanka to the Malay Archipelago on the islands of Sumba and Alor. They are vagrant in Korea and Maldives, and regionally extinct in Singapore. (Safique Hazarika)
Anja Denker
African Openbills are another widespread species that travels massive distances between feeding and breeding sites. They are found in Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. (Anja Denker)
Anton Welman
Nine subspecies of hoopoe are recognised across Africa and Asia with each varying in size and the depth of plumage color. The African hoopoe (pictured here) has among the darkest plumage. (Anton Welman)
Debapratim Saha
Rusty-fronted barwings are found in Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, and Nepal, where they prefer temperate forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. (Debapratim Saha)
Anton Welman
Crested barbets are doing well in wooded urban areas like Johannesburg and Pretoria where many residents erect nest logs. The charcoal trade, wildfires and poor forest management throughout their range reduces habitat availability further straining local populations. (Anton Welman)
Dhritiman Hore
Greater racket-tailed drongos are distributed from the W to E Himalayas , as well as the Mishmi Hills below 4000 feet, continuing W to the islands of Borneo and Java. (Dhritiman Hore)
Gary Parker
Squacco herons are migrants that winter in Africa in large numbers, but are rare N of their breeding range. Many of their African breeding ground are now threatened by development. (Gary Parker)


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 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.


MUST SEE video on the Cape Parrot Project:


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

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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.