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Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Blue

For many years, scientists have known of how the red or yellow colour of feathers is achieved. These colours come from pigments in food the birds eat, meaning that they are diet based. One of the challenges in avian colour has been to figure out how the #blue colour is achieved. Interestingly, it came to...

For many years, scientists have known of how the red or yellow colour of feathers is achieved. These colours come from pigments in food the birds eat, meaning that they are diet based. One of the challenges in avian colour has been to figure out how the #blue colour is achieved. Interestingly, it came to light when scientists reported that most birds look blue for the same reason the sky look blue: “Red and yellow wavelengths pass through the atmosphere, but shorter blue wavelengths bounce off of particles and scatter, emitting a blue glow in every direction”.

Thank you to all the photographers that submitted photos of birds with the theme blue, your pictures can create awareness about the variety and beauty of birds in our environment. Here we present the Top 25 photographs of birds with the blue colour.

White-tailed Robin ranges across the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent and adjacent areas of Southeast Asia (Siddhartha Mukherjee)
White-necked Jacobin Photographed in Costa Rica (Anne Harlan)
The Verditer Flycatcher is named after its distinctive shade of copper-sulphate blue and has a dark patch between the eyes and above the bill base (Deepak Singla)
Ultramarine Flycatcher the white-browed blue flycatcher is a small arboreal Old World flycatcher in the Ficedula family that breeds in the foothills of the Himalayas and winters in southern India (Aman Sharma)
The male’s upper parts of the Tickell’s blue flycatcher are bright blue, its throat and breast are red, and the rest of the underparts are white. The female is duller blue with a brighter blue brow, shoulder, rump, and tail (Vidjit Vijaysanker)
The Blue-Throated barbet is an Asian barbet having bright green, blue & red plumage, seen across the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia (Goutam Mitra)
Red-billed Blue Magpie photographed in West Bengal, India (Avijit Ghorai)
The Indian Roller has a slight touch of blue on the head which makes it stands out and visibly different from the Eurasian roller, which is more brownish (Samanvay Bhutani)
The Siberian Blue Robin is a migratory insectivorous species breeding in eastern Asia across to Japan. It winters in southern and south-eastern Asia and Indonesia (Julian Chong)
Females of the Purple Sunbird are olive brown above with a yellowish underside. The throat and breast are yellow, becoming pale towards the vent (Arjun Singh)
Purple Sunbird in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India (Nelson George)
Plumbeous Water Redstart – The bird’s name is based upon its colour which resembles lead. Photographed at Solan, Himachal Pradesh, India (Gurjeet Virk)
Oriental Magpie Robin photographed at Patiala, India (Tarika Sandhu)
Indian Roller captured in Kapurthala, Punjab, India (Sanjiv Khanna)
Hildebrandt’s Starling – as in its relatives, the iridescence of these birds is derived from the interference of reflected light from regimented microscopic feather structures and not from pigments (Ramesh Aithal)
Green-billed Malkohas are waxy bluish black with a long and graduated tail with white tips to the tail feathers (Gurjeet Virk)
Eurasian Jay – across its vast range, several very distinct racial forms have evolved to look very different from each other, especially when forms at the extremes of its range are compared. Photographed at Binsar, Uttarakhand (Deepak Singla)
The Common Kingfisher is resident in much of its range, but migrates from areas where rivers freeze in winter (Vijay Singh)
Collared Kingfisher at Sunderban National Park, India (Niladri Kundu)
Blue winged Siva, also known as the Blue-winged Mila. Photographed at Sattal, Uttarakhand, India (Poonam S Nayaka)
The Blue Whistling Thrush is dark violet blue with shiny spangling on the tips of the body feathers other than on the lores, abdomen and under the tail. Photographed at Corbett National Park (Archna Singh)
Blue Rock Thrush at Telangana, India (Kishore Bakshi)
Blue-capped Rock Thrush Photographed at Dehradun. Uttarakhand (Shruti Sunny)
Barn Swallows are found throughout most of North America, and they can range from sea level up to 10,000 feet (Kelly Hunt)
Asian Fairy Bluebird at Kerala, India (Dr SS Suresh)

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 Abigail Ramudzuli, Campaign Manager

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Feeding

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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.