National Geographic Society Newsroom

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Flocks

Birds will often form aggregations known as flocks when they feed, or fly. The benefit of doing activities as part of a flock is that multiple birds can look out for danger while others forage or fly. Many species will also congregate to form mixed flocks that forage together, this may benefit solitary species that...

Birds will often form aggregations known as flocks when they feed, or fly. The benefit of doing activities as part of a flock is that multiple birds can look out for danger while others forage or fly. Many species will also congregate to form mixed flocks that forage together, this may benefit solitary species that do not live in flocks by providing group protection.

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

Greater flamingos feed together in flocks, also called a stand, they also live together in large colonies (Sanjay Solanki)
Kentish plovers are ground nesting birds, they nest in loose colonies or solitarily, and forage in small, loose flocks (Vishal Monakar)
The collective name for a group of owls is called a parliament, as seen here; spotted owlets grouped together in Maharashtra, India (Indranil Bhattacharjee)
Sanderlings and western sandpipers, sanderlings form large flocks in winter, photographed in New Jersey, USA (Melissa Penta)
Indian silverbills are found in the Indian subcontinent, they form large flocks that feed together in open scrubs and cultivated land (Anirban Roychowdhury)
Bar-headed geese can fly to altitudes of up to 10 000 metres to migrate over the Himalayas, here seen flying in Najafgarh wetlands, New Delhi, India (Aman Sharma)
Eurasian and Himalayan vultures feed from carcasses in small groups, Himalayan vultures nest in small colonies, while Eurasian vultures do not form colonies to nest. A mixed flock photographed in Rajasthan, India (Praveen K Bhat)
Mixed gull flock in Mithapur, Gujarat, India (Chirag Parmar)
Cattle egrets are found in the tropics, subtropics, and warm temperate zones, some populations are migratory, they nest in colonies sometimes with other wetland birds (Gargi Biswas)
Black-winged stilts have a wide distribution, with some populations being migratory. they nest in small groups (Amrik Singh)
Black-tailed godwits in Punjab, Pakistan (Tauseef Zafar)
Large flock of ruff in Dhanauri , Uttar Pradesh, India (Harish Chopra)
Spot-billed pelicans nest in small colonies, they also feed and forage in small flocks or singly (Kishore Bakshi)
Marbled godwit and willets forming a mixed flock in Florida, USA (J Bernardo Sanchez)
Lesser whistling ducks breed in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, they form large flocks to feed, here flying in a flock in Punjab, India (Gur Simrat Singh)
Black-tailed godwits nest in loose colonies, they breed from Iceland to Russia, and will migrate in flocks to western Europe, Africa, south Asia, and Australia (Nishant Rana)
Demoiselle cranes are found in central Eurasia, they migrate in large flocks to their winter areas and are social when feeding and sleeping (Siddhartha Mukherjee)
Common egrets perched on a dead tree in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India, these birds breed in colonies and are distributed in temperate and tropical habitats worldwide (Mukund Kumar)
Rosy starlings are highly social and form large flocks, these flocks are sometimes a pest for farmers that grow cereal crops, but can also be helpful when they feed on insect pests such as locusts (Radhakrishnan Sadasivam)
Sarus cranes flying together, they form flocks to feed (Ashok Appu)
Pied avocet reflections at Faridkot, Punjab, India, they nest in small groups (Gagan Bedi)
Brown-headed gulls flying overhead in a flock in Yamuna Bank, New Delhi, India (Kumar Kumud Gangesh)
Great white pelicans preening in Louisiana, USA, these birds are highly social and form in large flocks (Rhonda Lane)
Lesser flamingos flying in a flock in Jamnagar, Gujarat, India (Vishwas Thakker)
Spotted Owlets huddling together to beat the winter chill in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, India (Deepak Singla)

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: Seed Eating Birds




About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 14,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit or follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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.