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Wild Birds of the Night

Wild Bird Trust present the Top 25 “Wild Birds of the Night”. Nocturnal birds are often lesser known and seldom seen. They tend to be drab since in low light there is little benefit to having brightly coloured plumage. They also have larger eyes than diurnal species which allows maximum light to penetrate to their...

Wild Bird Trust present the Top 25 “Wild Birds of the Night”. Nocturnal birds are often lesser known and seldom seen. They tend to be drab since in low light there is little benefit to having brightly coloured plumage. They also have larger eyes than diurnal species which allows maximum light to penetrate to their retina. This week we present a variety of nocturnal birds from owls, to nightjars, patoos and night-herons. Thank you to all the dedicated photographers who have allowed us a window of opportunity into the lives of these secretive birds. If you would like to submit photographs for next week’s Top 25, watch our Facebook page for the announcement of the theme and then upload your image with species, photographer and location as the caption.

The Antillean Nighthawk is native to the Caribbean islands. In autumn they leave these areas, however it is not known where they spend the winter (Sonia Longoria)
A beautiful little Northern Saw-whet Owl in Pennsylvania, USA (Melissa Penta)
The Barn Owl occurs on almost every continent. Their screeching, eerie call is rather distinctive (Dr Malay Mandal)
Brown Fish Owls mainly hunt at waterbodies at night, catching fish, crabs and frogs (Ramesh Aithal)
A Buffy Fish Owl photographed in Pasir Ris, Singapore (Ananth Ramasamy)
Most Eurasian Eagle Owls are dark, like this one photographed in England. However the one sub-species in Russia is much lighter, this is no doubt an adaptation, to make them less visible in snowy habitats. During the summer in Russia when it is light for most of the night, these owls will hunt during daylight, making this camouflage all the more necessary (Edwin Godinho)
A sleepy Grey Nightjar perched on a tree in Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary, India (Suranjan Mukherjee)
The female Indian Eagle Owl does not build a nest but simply lays her eggs in a scrape on the ground which makes them vulnerable to predation by civets and mongooses (Vipul Trivedi)
The Asian Barred Owlet is fairly common across south-east Asia (Shivayogi Kanthi)
A Common Pauraque snoozing in Texas, USA. These birds occur from Texas down to Argentina (Melissa Penta)
Nocturnal birds, like this Indian Nightjar, tend to have large eyes which allows maximum light onto the retina in low light conditions (Vinayak Yardi)
Spotted Owlets sometimes hunt insects near electric lights (Sandipan Ghosh)
Owls and nightjars are what come to mind when we think of nocturnal birds, however others like this Indian Stone-curlew are also most active at night (Udaya Kumar)
These small Jungle Owlets, stand at 20 centimetres high, they eat mainly insects (Ajay Singh Rajawat)
A Long-eared Owl preening in Novara, Italy (Carlo Galliani)
The Mottled Wood-owl is endemic to the woodlands of India (Soumitra Ghosh)
The Black-crowned Night Heron becomes active at dusk, when they can often be heard calling (Mainak Ray)
The Eurasian Scops Owl breeds in Eurasia before migrating to central Africa for the winter (Antonis Tsaknakis)
The Short-eared Owl can be found in the Americas, Eurasia and Africa (Gaurav Budhiraja)
Spot-bellied Eagle Owls have magnificent ear tufts (Vinayak Yardi)
A male and female Sri Lankan frogmouth side by side. The rufous bird is the female (Soumitra Ghosh)
A Tawny Owl photographed in Surrey, England (Edwin Godinho)
A magnificent Ural Owl in Finland (Anthony Roberts)
The Verreaux’s Eagle Owl is the largest owl in Africa. This one was photographed in Tarangire, Tanzania (Sharon Templin)
An amazingly camouflaged Common Potoo in Honduras (Christopher Ciccone)

Our mission is to build a global community around the freedom and beauty of birds in the wild as ambassadors for the natural ecosystems that they depend upon. They are the music, decoration, and character of every terrestrial habitat on the planet and have been around since the dinosaurs. They are the witnesses and ambassadors of the awesome power of nature. The wide availability of good, cheap optics has opened their world to us for the last few decades. Amazing, affordable DSLR cameras with long lenses are delivering brilliant digital bird imagery to online communities.

We are in a day-and-age during which more bird species are threatened with extinction than ever before. The Wild Birds! Revolution aims to publish the “Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week” to 1 million people every week by the end of the year. That is a revolution that will change the world! Join thousands of other weekend naturalists, photographers, birders, experts, hikers, nature-lovers, guides, scientists, conservationists and artists that share the thousands of wild bird photographs submitted to the Wild Bird Trust website and Facebook page. Thousands of wild bird enthusiasts are going out every day to photograph our planet’s beautiful birdlife. Pick up your camera, fill your bird feeder, open your heart, and join the Wild Birds! Revolution!!

Edited by Christie Craig, Campaign Manager


Top 25 Endemic Wild Birds

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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.