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Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Seed Eating Birds

Seeds come in all shapes and sizes, and are an important part of the diet for many bird species. This variety in seeds has thus led to a wide variety of bird beaks used to feed on them. Seed eating birds can be divided into two groups; those that husk the seed before eating it,...

Seeds come in all shapes and sizes, and are an important part of the diet for many bird species. This variety in seeds has thus led to a wide variety of bird beaks used to feed on them. Seed eating birds can be divided into two groups; those that husk the seed before eating it, and those that swallow the seed whole. Seed eaters that husk seeds have specially adapted beaks; it has a conical shape with a groove and cutting edge on the lower and upper mandible. Those that swallow the seeds whole do not have specially adapted beaks. In both groups the beak shape and size determines the type and size of the seeds that a bird will feed on, and for many of these birds they will make use of seeds in their diet for a major portion of the year.

Thank you to all the photographers that submitted photos of seed eating birds, your pictures can create awareness about the diversity and beauty of this group of birds. Here we present the Top 25 photographs of seed eating birds.

Scaly-breasted munias have a main diet of seeds and berries, they are social foragers and feed in flocks (Praveen K Bhat)
Baya weaver displaying on his nest in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India, these birds feed on seeds from plants and on the ground (Indranil Bhattacharjee)
White-throated sparrow feeding on seeds in the USA (Kelly Hunt)
Oriental turtle doves are native to Europe and east Asia, they feed on a wide range of seeds, and forage on the ground (Ashok Appu)
Military macaws have large beaks that are ideal for opening and breaking into hard shelled seeds and nuts, these birds are distributed in the forests of Mexico and South America (J Bernardo Sanchez)
Red-winged blackbirds are omnivorous birds found in most of North and Central America (Gargi Biswas)
Red munia perched atop a plant, its main diet consists of seeds, and its beak turns red during the breeding season (Ganesh Rao)
Beautiful grey junglefowls are distributed in the Indian Peninsula and feed on grains, insects, and berries (Shantanu Bhattacharya)
Swamp sparrow in New Jersey, USA, its main diet in winter is seed, while in summer it is arthropods (Anthony Cedrone)
European goldfinches are native to Europe, North Africa, and western Asia, they have been introduced into other areas, and feed predominantly on small seeds (Jilly Sidebottom)
Bearded reedlings feed on seeds in winter, and on aphids in the summer, they are distributed in temperate Europe and Asia (Zafer Tekin)
Song sparrows are an American sparrow species that feeds on seeds and insects, they make use of their song to attract females and declare territory (Henser Villela)
Scaly-breasted munia in Haryana, India, the bill of this species is suitable for crushing seeds (Nishant Rana)
Indian silverbill peeking out from behind the leaves, in Gujarat, India (Unmesh Jadav)
Black francolin close up, in addition to their diet of berries, insects, and larvae, these birds feed on grass and cereal crop seeds (Sanjay Solanki)
Red-headed bullfinches are found in Bhutan, Nepal, India, and Tibet, they feed on seeds of trees and plants (Ajoy Kumar Dawn)
Chestnut-bellied nuthatches are found in the Indian subcontinent, they feed on insects, seeds and nuts (Hitesh Chawla)
Russet sparrows are from eastern Asia and the Himalayas, they have a thick bill that is ideal for eating seeds (Ramesh Aithal)
Tri-coloured munias are native to Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and southern China, they feed on grains and seeds (Sandeep Beas)
Red crossbills, like other crossbills, have distinctive mandibles that allow them to extract seeds from conifer cones and other fruits, this species breeds in North America, Europe, and Asia (Jola Charlton)
Indian silverbills are found in the Indian subcontinent, they feed in flocks on grass and crop seeds (Shantharama Holla K)
Zebra doves are native to Southeast Asia, they feed on small grass seeds and insects, like most other doves they have a crop attached to their throat that allows them to swallow food whole and digest it slowly (Radhakrishnan Sadasivam)
White-eared bulbul in Aravali Biodiversity Park, Haryana, India (Aman Sharma)
Nilgiri pipits are endemic to the high-altitude hills of southern India, they are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN due to their grassland habitat being threatened by wattle plantations (Pallavi Sarkar)
Mourning doves feed mainly on seeds and will fill their crops to capacity, the seeds are then digested while the bird is resting; to help digest the seeds they will swallow grit such as fine sand (Kishore Bakshi)

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 Laurie Johnson, Campaign Manager


Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Black plumage

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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.