24 January 2011
The winners of the 2010 The World’s Rarest Birds international photo competition have just been announced. The competition, launched in 2010, aimed to secure images of the 637 most threatened birds on Earth for a new book highlighting their plight.
Thousands of images were entered into the competition and hundreds will be featured in The World’s Rarest Birds to be published in 2013 by Princeton WILDGuides. Profits from sales will go to BirdLife International's Preventing Extinctions Programme to help support conservation projects worldwide.
The World's Rarest Birds Photo Competition had three categories, and the winning entries in each were as follows:
CATEGORY 1: Critically Endangered species (there are 190 such species) or species that are Extinct in the Wild (4)
Winner: Shane McInnes: a wonderful image of a Kakapo, a flightless parrot from New Zealand.
Runner-up: Sávio Freire Bruno: a captivating photo of a Brazilian Merganser with ducklings.
Third place: David Boyle: a fantastic image of a flying Christmas Island Frigatebird from the Indian Ocean.
Fourth place: Dr Jayesh K Joshi: a lovely image of a calling Forest Owlet from India.
Fifth place: Robert E Hyman: an excellent study of a Honduran Emerald hummingbird.
Sixth place: Eric VanderWerf: a superb study of a Palila from Hawaii.
CATEGORY 2: Endangered (382) or Data Deficient species (62)
Winner: Quan Min Li: a beautiful photo of a flying Asian Crested Ibis from China.
Runner-up: Huajin Sun: an amazing photo of a displaying Red-crowned Crane from the East Asia.
Third place: Daniel Rosengren: a lovely image of a Marvellous Spatuletail, a hummingbird from Peru.
Fourth place: Csaba Barkóczi: a wonderful photo of a Great Indian Bustard in flight.
Fifth place: Martin Hale: a stunning image of a pair of Scaly-sided Mergansers.
Sixth place: Tim Rumble: a beautiful study of a New Zealand Dotterel.
CATEGORY 3: Critically Endangered birds that are migratory (27 species)
Winner: David Boyle: a touching image of a pair of Orange-bellied Parrots from Tasmania.
Erik Hirschfeld, Chief Editor of The World's Rarest Birds, said "We would like to thank all the photographers who kindly submitted their images to the project. Having so many amazing images to choose from will certainly ensure that the book contains the most complete collection of photographs of the most threatened birds ever published. We are working hard to complete the book by next year.
“Having now analyzed the competition entries, I am delighted to report that we have been offered photos of over 80% of the 575 species that are currently categorized as either Extinct in the Wild, Critically Endangered or Endangered.
“We are very grateful to Minox, Lynx Edicions, BirdLife International, WILDGuides, Princeton University Press and the World Migratory Bird Day who kindly agreed to support the project by providing a range of attractive prizes for the competition. I am sure that this support helped to encourage more people to submit their images for use in this important project."
"We are delighted to be working with BirdLife in producing The World's Rarest Birds", said Andy Swash, Managing Director of WILDGuides. "Although it will be a wonderfully illustrated book, its key message is poignant – a large proportion of the World’s birds, including every one depicted, is threatened with extinction. This is a great concern to many and I just hope that the production of The World's Rarest Birds will help to raise awareness and make some contribution to their conservation."
Thousands of fantastic photographs were submitted to the competition and selecting the winners was very difficult. One of the judges, professional bird photographer David Tipling, said “I have never seen so many excellent images entered into any of the competitions I have judged before – and there is no doubt that The World’s Rarest Birds will be well worth buying when it’s published. Not only will it contain hundreds of outstanding images, but it will provide a powerful reminder of the large number of species – many of them extremely beautiful – that are on the brink of extinction."
Ade Long, BirdLife's Head of Communications said, "The response to The World’s Rarest Birds photo competition was quite remarkable. The number and of entries was almost overwhelming, and the quality of the images just breath-taking. The book in which they will feature will, I am sure, be stunning and BirdLife is indebted to the many photographers who have contributed for providing the impetus to make it happen.”
About the species featured in the winning photos:
♣ Kakapo (CRITICALLY ENDANGERED)
A large, flightless parrot from New Zealand and one of the rarest birds of all, with only 124 individuals alive today. The main reason for its decline is predation by introduced mammals, particularly feral cats.
♣ Brazilian Merganser (CRITICALLY ENDANGERED)
A fish-eating duck restricted to a few fast-flowing rivers in central Brazil and north-eastern Argentina. The population is less than 250 individuals and decreasing, the main threat to its continued survival being changes in water flow and pollution.
♣ Christmas Island Frigatebird (CRITICALLY ENDANGERED) A large, kleptoparasitic seabird which breeds only on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. The breeding population is about 1,220 pairs, and decreasing, most in a single colony. The main threats to its survival are loss of its breeding trees and pollution caused by phosphate mining, cyclones, and possibly the introduced Yellow Crazy Ant.
♣ Asian Crested Ibis (ENDANGERED)
A medium-sized water bird that once bred in Russia, Japan and China but underwent a major population crash. It is now restricted to Shaanxi province in central mainland China, where just 250 individuals survive, though the population is slowly increasing as a result of conservation action. The main reason for its decline is probably linked to the loss of suitable feeding grounds due to the change from rice-growing to dry wheat production. More information here.
♣ Red-crowned Crane (ENDANGERED)
A very large crane that breeds in eastern Russia and China, and in Japan. The population now numbers only 1,700 mature individuals and is continuing to decrease due to the loss and degradation of wetlands through conversion to agriculture and industrial development.
♣ Marvellous Spatuletail (ENDANGERED)
A stunning hummingbird restricted to just two sites in northern Peru. The population is estimated to be les than 1,000 and decreasing due to deforestation for cash-crops such as marijuana and coffee.
♣ Orange-bellied Parrot (CRITICALLY ENDANGERED) A small parrot that breeds only in a small area in south-western Tasmania and migrates to coastal areas in south-eastern Australia in the winter. The wild population is probably less than 150 individuals and decreasing probably due to the loss of its wintering favoured habitat as a result of agriculture and urban and industrial development.
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