Wildlife

Top 25 Grassland Birds

Grasslands are the world’s most altered ecosystem, frequently being converted for cropping, pastures or urbanisation. When grasslands are transformed by humans, this often pushes out sensitive grassland birds, for example the Great Indian Bustard, now listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Fortunately some grassland birds, like the Eastern Meadowlark, are adaptive and can sustain relatively healthy populations in human altered landscapes. This week we feature 25 of the best photographs of grassland birds, from the threatened to the adaptive. Thank you to everyone who contributed photographs for this theme!

THIS STRIKING BIRD IS AN ABYSSINIAN GROUND HORNBILL, THEY STAND AT 1 METRE TALL (ADRIANA DINU)
A flock of Black-breasted Weavers take flight. These birds are usually found along rivers with tall grass or reeds, exactly the materials they need to weave their nests (Gur Simrat Singh)
A Brewer’s Blackbird photographed by Dot Rambin in Louisiana, USA. These birds used to occur mainly in woodland clearings and forest edges, but they have now also adapted to live in human-modified habitats, like farmlands
This Crested Lark is incredibly well camouflaged in this dry grassy habitat in Haryana, India (Dalvinder Saini)
A group of European Bee-eaters photographed in Northern Greece by Brigitte Petras
A Great Indian Bustard photographed in India’s desert national park. the Great Indian Bustard is critically endangered, one of the reasons for this is transformation of their grassland habitats (Suranjan Mukherjee)
An Indian Stone-curlew strides across a dry grassland in Maharashtra, India (Prakash Chimad)
A pair of Indian Peafowls in a grassy clearing in Aravali Biodiversity Park (India). This is an urban park, located in the city of Gurgaon. the park was restored from mining pits by local citizens and is now an important refuge for local wildlife (Hitesh Chawla)
Southern Ground Hornbills frequent grasslands in search of invertebrate and vertebrate prey (Bhargavi Upadhya)
A Rufous-vented Grass-Babbler moves nimbly among the reeds in Veerewala, India (Gagan Bedi)
A Chipping Sparrow perched in a snowy grassland in New Jersey, USA (Anne Harlan)
This beautiful bird is an Eastern Meadowlark, native to the grasslands and pastures of the Americas (Dot Rambin)
A Eurasian Griffon feeds on a carcass in Rajasthan, India. These vultures help prevent disease by quickly and efficiently consuming carrion before it rots (Amit Kumar Srivastava)
A glimpse of a female Greater Painted Snipe through some wetland grasses (Indranil Bhattacharjee)
The raucous call of the Helmeted Guineafowl is one of the most distinctive calls heard in African savanas (Bhargavi Upadhya)
An Indian Courser in a dewy pasture in Nagpur, India (Indranil Bhattacharjee)
The Kori Bustard is the largest flying bird in Africa. This bustard was photographed in Borana Conservancy, Kenya by Adriana Dinu
A male Long-tailed Widowbird in full breeding plumage on the plains of south-western Kenya. These males aggressively protect their breeding territories during the breeding season (Sammy Mugo)
Paddyfield Pipits prefer short grassy habitats as well as cultivated habitats like paddyfields (Goutam Mitra)
Red-necked Spurfowls occur widely across sub-Saharan Africa (Owen Deutsch)
A male Rain Quail doing his advertising call, A rather distinctive and melodic call (Indranil Bhattacharjee)
A beautiful Rosy-throated Longclaw, photographed by Ganesh Rao in the Maasai Mara, Kenya
This Rufous-tailed lark is near-endemic to India (Preety Patel)
A Secretarybird strides gracefully across grasslands of the Maasai Mara (Kenya), stalking prey (Kishore Reddy)
Rufous-vented Grass-babblers can be found in the low-lying grasslands of Pakistan, northern India and nepal (Jasvir Faridkot)

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 Birds that Scavenge

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.

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