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Top 25: Wild Birds with Spectacular Catches

This week we are allowed a unique insight into the lives of birds that hunt. When we think of birds hunting, we typically picture a raptor with ferocious talons and a sharp beak to tear apart prey. But in fact many birds will hunt opportunistically. In this week’s Top 25 we feature a wide range...

This week we are allowed a unique insight into the lives of birds that hunt. When we think of birds hunting, we typically picture a raptor with ferocious talons and a sharp beak to tear apart prey. But in fact many birds will hunt opportunistically. In this week’s Top 25 we feature a wide range of birds that have defeated the odds and have made a spectacular catch! We have bee-eaters, seabirds, hornbills, waders and, of course, the raptors. Thank you to everyone who contributed this week, your pictures bring the world of these birds to life for all of us

A Black Kite emerges victorious from a hunt! This spectacular catch took place at Sukhna Lake in India and was captured by Gur Simrat Singh
This Hamerkop is holding tight to its catch! In southern Africa frogs and tadpoles make up the main part of the Hamerkops’ diet (Judi Fenson)
A juvenile Shikra overpowers a rather large bird! (Bhargavi Upadhya)
An Oriental Pied Hornbill tosses back a lizard it has just caught (Lil’tography Lilian Sng)
African Pygmy Falcons are Africa’s smallest raptor. But don’t let their size deceive you, they are excellent hunters! Here a female feasts on a mouse in Samburu National Reserve in Kenya (Sammy Mugo)
The Anhinga hunts by submerging itself under water and using its sharp bill to spear fish and other prey. This ANHINGA IN Florida (USA) HAS GOT QUITE A BIG CATCH! (Vasu Karlapudi Photography)
Studies show that Atlantic Puffins eat between 15 and 20 per cent of their body weight every day, this is mainly fish but also squids, crustaceans and polychaetes (Suranjan Mukherjee)
Two Blue-tailed Bee-eaters compare their dragonfly catches (Manoj K Bind)
Adult mayflies emerge all at once, often in enormous numbers, but they are very short lived, most die within 24 hours. So birds like this Common Grackle need to take full advantage as soon as the mayflies emerge (Zachary Vanier)
A double catch by two Double-crested Cormorants (Leslie Reagan)
A stunning action shot of a Great Cormorant catching a fish (Hitesh Chawla)
This Great Hornbill has caught and killed a Jungle Owlet, this image shows how large these hornbills are. They stand at about 1 metre tall (Mainak Ray)
Green Sandpipers feed mainly on invertebrates but when an opportunity for something larger comes by, why pass it up? (Indranil Bhattacharjee)
Horned Grebes dive under water to catch fish. they are amazing swimmers, able to reach speeds of 1 metre per second in some cases (Christopher Ciccone)
A spectacular shot of an Indian Roller with a mouse (Jasvir Faridkot)
A Large-billed Crow bites the head of a frog to incapacitate it (Lil’tography Lilian Sng)
A breath-taking action shot of an Osprey in Rutland, England (Edwin Godinho)
here we have a Red-vented Bulbul with a mantid. From the size of the mantid’s abdomen, this is likely a female full of eggs, an excellent source of protein for this bulbul (Sandeep Beas)
In many cases, the predator’s prey puts up a fight. Here a Red-tailed Hawk tries to gain control over a Kingsnake, tossing it in the air (Jack Zhi)
A Shikra enjoys its well earned meal, in this case an Oriental Magpie-robin (Subham Chowdhury)
Purple Swamphens eat mainly plant matter but they will take meat when they get the opportunity. This Purple Swamphen seems very pleased with its fish! (Bhargavi Upadhya)
A White-eyed Buzzard enjoys its meal at Siruthavur Lake, India (Ananth Ramasamy)
White-throated Kingfishers are typical ‘sit and wait’ predators, they will sit on a perch looking for prey and when they spot something they swoop down to catch it, in this case a lizard (Gur Simrat Singh)
Sometimes when a raptor has caught prey, another bird will try steal it. Here a juvenile Black-winged Kite guards its prey from an adult (Brian Culver)
A Great Cormorant tosses a fish that it has just caught in the Chennai backwaters, in India (Pallavi Sarkar)

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


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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.