Best Rare-Bird Pictures of 2012 Named

By Brett Line

A white-bellied cinclodes displays in the this award-winning image. Photograph courtesy Dubi Shapiro, World’s Rarest Birds.

A picture of an endangered white-bellied cinclodes perching on a rock high in the Peruvian Andes is a first-prize winner in the 2012 The World’s Rarest Birds International Photo Competition.

Contest judges considered photographs of the 197 critically endangered bird species and the 389 endangered bird species listed by BirdLife International on the 2012 IUCN Red List. Images from both this competition and an earlier one held in 2010 are featured in the book The World’s Rarest Birds, which published April 3.

The photo of the white-bellied cinclodes won the Critically Endangered Birds category. The birds are found only in the high Andes of Peru, where the biggest threat to their survival is habitat destruction caused by mining and the dumping of mining waste. Their population ranges from 70 to 400 individuals and continues to decline, according to BirdLife International.

“We believe that photo competitions with a purpose such as this are invaluable in helping to spread awareness of threatened species,” said Andy Swash, managing director of WILDGuides and joint editor of The World’s Rarest Birds. “Our aim in making the book was to raise awareness of the plight of the most threatened birds in the world, the hope being that further actions to conserve these species would be the key outcome.”

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Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn