Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Herons, Egrets and Bitterns

Herons, egrets and bitterns as a group are varied and have a worldwide distribution, but are common in the tropics. These wading birds are often associated with both fresh and coastal water where they feed at the edge of lakes, rivers, and the sea on aquatic prey including fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Some species may specialise on certain prey items such as crabs, while others may feed opportunistically on birds and their eggs, and rodents. When in flight this group of birds can be distinguished from other similarly shaped birds such as storks and cranes by their retracted necks.

We would like to thank all the photographers that submitted photos of herons, egrets, and bitterns, your pictures can bring awareness about the beauty and diversity of this group of birds. Here we present the Top 25 photographs of herons, egrets and bitterns.

Purple herons breed in Africa, central and southern Europe, and southern and eastern Asia in freshwater habitats (Ajoy Kumar Dawn)Cattle egret with cattle in Bhasra Ghat, India, this bird gets its name from its association with cattle (Gargi Biswas)Black bitterns breed in tropical Asia and Australia in reed beds, photographed here in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Singapore (Senthil Kumar Damodaran)Close up of a black-crowned night heron juvenile photographed in Puerto Rico (Raymond De Jesus Asencio)Green herons are distributed in North and Central America, they use bait such as insects or bread crusts to lure fish to the surface of the water so that they can then grab the fish (Jola Charlton)The snowy egret is distributed in the Americas in marsh habitats, they feed on fish, insects, small reptiles, and frogs (Kelly Hunt)Striated herons breed in west Africa, Japan, Australia, and South America, they wait at the waters edge to ambush prey which includes fish, frogs, and aquatic insects (Indranil Bhattacharjee)Close up of the Malayan night heron also known as the tiger bittern, it is distributed in southern and eastern Asia and feeds on earthworms, frogs, and sometimes fish, photographed here in Taipei, Taiwan (Pradnya Paralkar)Cinnamon bitterns breed in tropical and subtropical Asia and they use grassland and marsh habitats (Samir Brahmbhatt)Black-headed herons are distributed across much of sub-Saharan Africa, they feed on insects, reptiles, and small mammals (Edwin Godinho)Black-crowned night herons have a wide distribution globally, they breed in wetland habitats and ambush their prey by standing still at the waters edge (S. Alagu Ganesh)Eurasian bittern with prey photographed in Ankara, Turkey, these birds are secretive and move in reed beds close to water, their diet includes small mammals, fish, amphibians, crustaceans, and insects (Zefer Tekin)Great blue heron and alligators at Everglades National park, Florida, USA, this heron is found throughout most of North America (J Bernardo Sanchez)Great egrets are found worldwide in temperate and tropical habitats, making use of wetlands and feeding on fish, frogs, and small mammals (Hitesh Chawla)Intermediate egrets use shallow water wetlands, they feed on small fish and insects, and make use of various displays when breeding (Manoj Nair)Indian pond heron in flight, the white wings are not observed while they stalk their prey and this allows them to blend well with their surrounding habitat (Gur Simrat Singh)Purple heron with fish catch in Hussainiwala Reservoir, Ferozepur, India (Vishesh Kamboj)Yellow bittern photographed in Coochbehar Outskirts, West Bengal, India (Prashanta Bhattacharjee)The western reef heron is distributed in southern Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia, they stalk prey in the water and once spotted will stand motionless to ambush the prey (Chirag Parmar)Tricolored herons are native to coastal parts of the Americas, they use swamp habitats and feed on fish, crustaceans, reptiles, and insects (Owen Deutsch)Goliath heron hunting near a hippo pool at the edge of the Grumeti river, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, it is the largest heron species and spends most of its time close to water (Teri Franzen)Reddish egrets breed in Central America, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, the Gulf coast of the USA, and Mexico, they do an animated dance running in the water while using the shadow of their wings reduce the glare so that they can accurately spear fish to eat (Melissa Penta)Little egrets have an expanding distribution, they breed in warm to temperate parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia in open habitats close to water (Kumar Kumud Gangesh)Indian pond heron perched with its white wing feathers out of sight, photographed in Sri Lanka (Subhamoy Das)Grey herons are native to temperate Europe, Asia, and some parts of Africa, they make use of habitats close to water and have adapted to living in cities with suitable water habitats (Unmesh Jadav)

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: Owls

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Owls

Owls are characterised by an upright stance, binocular vision, and flight feathers that are adapted for silent flight. In many species the flight feathers are serrated at the edges; this reduces the noise made by the wingbeats and allows the owls to silently hunt their prey. Many species are nocturnal and hunt their prey at night, while some are crepuscular and become active during dawn and dusk. There are two families into which owl species are placed; the barn owls which include grass and bay owls, and typical owls which includes about 120 species. Together these families are found all over the world in a wide range of habitats, from woodlands and deserts, to mountains and the Arctic.

We would like to thank all the photographers that submitted photos of owls, there was a great selection of photos to choose from; your pictures can bring awareness about this fascinating groups of birds. Here we present the Top 25 photographs of owls.

Spotted owlet with the moon photographed in New Delhi, India (Aman Sharma)Buffy fish owl in Singapore, it inhabits wet tropical forests and woody areas near water and makes use of densely foliaged tress to shelter during the day (Bharath Srinivasan)Mottled wood owl flying in Bangalore, Karnataka, India (Praveen K Bhat)Jungle owlets make use of scrub and deciduous forest habitats on the Indian Subcontinent (Naveen Joyous)Indian scops owl pair in Ranthambore National Park, India (Samanvay Bhutani)Eastern screech owls are common in Eastern North America, they make use of wooded habitats and have adapted well to human habitats (Rhonda Lane)Marsh owl flying through the plains in Ndutu, Tanzania (Teri Franzen)Northern saw-whet owls are native to North America and make use of coniferous forest habitats (Tim Nicol)Bare-legged owls are endemic to Cuba, they are nocturnal and will forage on the ground in dry forests and lowland moist forest (Adriana Dinu)Portrait of a brown wood owl taken in Uttrakhand India (Kumar Kumud Gangesh)Burrowing owls get their name from their habit of living in burrows made by small mammals in grassland, desert and steppe habitats (J Bernardo Sanchez)Eurasian pygmy owl at Elatia forest in Greece, one of its most Southern recorded areas recently (Antonis Tsaknakis)Barn owls are widely distributed; found on all continents except Antarctica, they make use of grassland, marsh, and agricultural field habitats, and feed on small mammals (Satyajit Ganguly)Little owl mid-yawn in Italy, it can be found in the temperate and warm parts of Europe, Asia east to Korea, and North Africa (Carlo Galliani)Indian eagle-owls are a species of horned owl that are found on the Indian Subcontinent, they are also known as rock eagle-owls because they make use of rocky scrub forest habitats (Vishal Monakar)Burrowing owl feeding on an Aruban whiptail lizard in Aruba (Michiel Oversteegen)Short-eared owl flying in Gurugram, Haryana, India, this bird is found on all continents except Antarctica and Australia (Sudhir Kadam)The southern white-faced owl is distributed in the southern half of Africa where they use Savanna, and wooded area habitats (Owen Deutsch)Great horned owls are native to the Americas, their horns are tufts of feathers known as plumicorns (Kishore Bakshi)Brown hawk-owls are distributed in the Indian Subcontinent to east Siberia, and Japan, they make use of forest and woodland habitats and are active at night, also at dawn and dusk (Senthil Kumar Damodaran)Asian barred owlets are resident in the northern parts of the Indian Subcontinent, they are found in open forests of pine and oak. Photographed here in Kaziranga National Park, India (Anirban Roychowdhury)Long-eared owls breed in Europe, Asia, and North America. Their ear tufts, positioned in the centre of their head, are used to make them appear larger to other owls (Wilma McKenzie)Oriental scops owls are distributed across eastern and southern Asia and they feed on insects, spiders, and small vertebrates (Vishal Monakar)Tawny owls are distributed in Eurasia and can be found in deciduous and mixed forests, they have been able to inhabit urban areas because of urban green spaces such as gardens and parks (Edwin Godinho)Snowy owls are native to the Arctic regions of North America and Eurasia, their habitats are open, treeless areas. Photographed here in Binghamton, New York, USA (Sharon Templin)

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: November

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: November

2018 is year of the bird, a project launched by National Geographic with the aim of increasing awareness about birds and the threats they face. This year is 100 years since the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was passed, which brought with it increased protection for many bird species. It has also been 100 years since National Geographic magazine published an article that implored sportsmen to trade their rifles for cameras, and to shoot birds through the camera lens instead. This switch, combined with improving technology, and easier access to cameras over the last century has made bird photography more accessible, and has provided new opportunities for bird research and conservation.

Thank you to all the photographers that submitted photos of birds and aspects of their life, your pictures can create awareness about the beauty and diversity of birds worldwide. Here we present the Top 25 photographs of birds and aspects of their life submitted in November.

Great white pelicans fish in the morning and then spend the rest of the day preening and bathing (Rhonda Lane)Mountain bluebird in Republic, Washington, USA (Jola Charlton)Imperial green pigeons are found in forests of tropical southern Asia, they feed on plant materials in tree canopies (Ramesh Aithal)Black kite preening its tail feathers in New Delhi, India (Vivek Sharma)Black-necked storks make use of wetland habitats in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania, they are listed as near threatened due to threats of drainage, agriculture encroachment, and tree felling within their habitats (Anuj Pokhiryal)Osprey with fish in West Bengal, India (Sandipan Ghosh)Snow geese in Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada, preparing for the fall migration (Tony Campbell)Oriental skylarks are found in southern, central, and eastern Asia, the male breeding display involves flying up into the sky, where he will flutter and sing, and then rapidly descend back to the ground (Manoj Nair)Grey-hooded warbler, photographed in Sattal, Uttarakhand, India (Deepak Singla)Common kingfisher in Rajasthan India. Kingfishers are able to use each eye separately to be able to better spot prey, this is known as monocular vision, while underwater they use both eyes together for binocular vision (Nishant Rana)Eurasian spoonbill flying in Pune, Maharashtra, India (Anvita Paranjpe)Common cranes in India; this species is one of four crane species that are currently not threatened with extinction (Vijay Singh Chandel)Himalayan bulbul showing off its beauty (Hitesh Cahwla)Western marsh harriers are found in Britain, Europe, the Middle East, Central and northern Asia, and some parts of Africa where they make use of wetland habitats (Brij Kishore)Western reef egrets after a territorial fight in Mulky, Karnataka, India (Praveen K Bhat)Wood sandpipers breed in subarctic wetlands across Europe and Asia, they migrate to Africa, Southern Asia, and Australia. They are protected by the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (Nishith Dwivedi)Little owl stretching in Ankara, Turkey (Halit Uzun)Intermediate egrets performing a courtship display in Saltanapur, Haryana, India (Sanjay Solanki)Rufous treepies are native to the Indian subcontinent, they feed on seeds, fruits, invertebrates, small reptiles, and bird eggs and young. They hide their food stores to be eaten later (Subhamoy Das)Greater racket-tailed drongo showing its long tail feathers (Indranil Bhattacharjee)Mandarin ducks are found in East Asia, in the 20th century in Great Britain a large feral population became established from individuals that had escaped collections (Edwin Godinho)Common cuckoo with food in Bangalore, Karnataka, India (Naresh Nani)Portrait of a Malabar grey hornbill, this bird is endemic to the Western Ghats of India and can be found in dense forest habitats (Amit Prasad)Black-winged kites are found in most of sub-Saharan Africa, coastal regions of north-eastern Africa, India, and Sri Lanka, they make use of savanna, grassland, and rocky area habitats (Kishore Bakshi)Blue jays are native to North America, their diet consists of nuts and seeds, soft fruits, and arthropods (Kelly Hunt)

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: Flocks

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