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Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Camouflage

Birds make use of plumage colouration and behaviour to conceal themselves from potential predators or prey, this is known as camouflage. In some species plumage colouration will match the surrounding environment, while patterns such as countershading reduce the shadow on the bird’s underside making it less visible. Certain behaviours such as crouching low to the...

Birds make use of plumage colouration and behaviour to conceal themselves from potential predators or prey, this is known as camouflage. In some species plumage colouration will match the surrounding environment, while patterns such as countershading reduce the shadow on the bird’s underside making it less visible. Certain behaviours such as crouching low to the ground often accompany plumage colouration to make the act of blending into the environment more effective.

We would like to thank all the photographers that submitted photos of birds using camouflage, your pictures can bring awareness about the beauty and diversity of birds that use this strategy to conceal themselves. Here we present the Top 25 photographs of bird camouflage.

Collared scops owl blending in with a tree, this bird is a resident breeder in south Asia (Vishwas Thakker)
Would you believe there is a bird in this picture ? Illustrating its effective camouflage is the bar-tailed treecreeper, it can be seen on the left of the tree trunk which is in focus, to the right of the single leaf protruding from the tree trunk (Deepak Singla)
Kentish plover in a scrape on the ground that is used as a nest, the nests are placed on elevated ground to give parents a good view of predators (Prashanta Bhattacharjee)
Indian thick-knees use ground scrapes as nests, they are difficult to spot when against a background of soil and rock due to their plumage (Chirag Parmar)
Peacocks camouflaged against a wall of the Ranthambore Fort near Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan India (Mann P Arora)
Eurasian wrynecks breed in temperate regions of Europe and Asia, they get their name from their ability to turn their heads almost 180 degrees (Vishesh Kamboj)
Rose-ringed parakeets use Savanna, grassland, and forest habitats, but have also adapted to living in disturbed habitats (Subhabrata Dutta Gupta)
Oriental pranticols are found in the warmer areas of south and east Asia and they lay their eggs on the ground (Sudhir Kadam)
Savanna nightjars are found in south and southeast Asia, it uses open forest and scrub habitats, photographed here in Tampines Eco Green, Singapore (Senthil Kumar Damodaran)
Spotted flycatcher plumage allows it to blend in with its environment, photographed here in Mallorca, Spain (Edwin Godinho)
Bar-tailed treecreeper up close, its plumage pattern is striped which allows the bird to blend in with its surroundings, it can be found in the northern parts of the Indian Subcontinent (Harish Chopra)
This common tern juvenile is hard to spot along the beach in New Jersey, USA (Kelly Hunt)
The plumage of this painted sandgrouse female makes it difficult to spot in its grassland habitat (Adhirup Ghosh)
Antillean nighthawk is a species of nightjar that breeds in southern Florida through to the West Indies, and winters in South America, photographed here in Zapata, Cuba (Adriana Dinu)
Eurasian bittern peeking out from amongst the reeds in Ankara, Turkey (Zafer Tekin)
Amur falcons feed on small mammals, as well as insects which they pick from the air or from the ground (Naresh Nani)
The plumage of the greater hoopoe-larks allows them to blend into the arid, desert, and semi-desert habitats they use in Cape Verde Islands, north African Sahara, northern Arabia, Red Sea coast, Iraq, Pakistan, and north-western India (Manoj Nair)
The chestnut-bellied sandgrouse is distributed in sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Pakistan, its plumage is great for camouflage in the arid habitats that it uses (Ram Veer)
The brown creeper is the only North American species of the treecreeper family, their plumage pattern and colour resembles bark, photographed in Brookfield, Wisconsin, USA (Caron Gray)
A rain quail camouflaged within overgrown grasses in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India (Indranil Bhattacharjee)
Himalayan bulbuls perched on a tree, their plumage allows them to blend in with their surroundings (Hitesh Chawla)
Whimbrel photographed in Sunderban, West Bengal, India (Anirban Mitra)
Short-toed snake eagles use cultivations and grasslands for foraging, and trees for nesting (Naresh Nani)
The Tibetan sandgrouse is found on barren, sandy plains of Central Asia, Tibet, Central China, and the Himalayas (Ashley Chiu)
Jungle nightjars are found in Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka at forest edges, they are active at dusk and roost in trees perched on a branch as pictured here (Panthera Tigris)

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: Herons, Egrets and Bitterns

 

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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.