Spectacular Winning Images of The Bird Photographer of the Year 2021

With over 22,000 images entered into the competition this year, Bird Photographer of the Year is pleased to present our winners. Celebrating bird life from around the world, these images comprise some of the most incredible bird photos in the world taken by talented photographers.


Best portrait, gold winner: Underwater Portrait, Felipe Foncueva, Spain. This image of a brown pelican was taken off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, near the mouth of the Tárcoles River. (Photo by Felipe Foncueva/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)

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Best portrait, silver winner: Sing Heartily, Maofeng Shen, China. June marks the start of the breeding season for demoiselle cranes on the vast grasslands of Keshiketeng in Inner Mongolia. (Photo by Shen Maofeng/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Birds in the environment, gold winner and bird photographer of the year: Blocked, Alejandro Prieto, Mexico. The 2,000-mile US–Mexico border crosses some of the continent’s most biologically diverse regions. (Photo by Alejandro Prieto/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Birds in the environment, silver winner: Claiming the Forest Floor, Joshua Galicki, US. A male ovenbird singing on top of a fallen log. The bird is staking its claim to a breeding territory shortly after arriving from a lengthy migration to the north-east US from wintering grounds in Central America. (Photo by Joshua Galicki/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Attention to detail, gold winner: Disappearing, Rafael Armada, Spain. A penguin reflected in the water. (Photo by Rafael Armada/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Attention to detail, silver winner: Growing Up, Raymond Hennessy, US. Great northern divers (known as common loons in North America) and their chicks take to the water soon after the chicks hatch. The size difference between adult and youngster is evident in this image and shows just how much growing is left for this tiny chick. (Photo by Raymond Hennessy/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Birds in flight, gold winner: Thirsty, Tzahi Finkelstein, Israel. Common swifts live their lives on the wing and are a challenge to capture in flight. With a diet of flying insects, they need to drink from time to time, and they even do that on the wing. (Photo by Tzahi Finkelstein/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Birds in flight, silver winner: The Art of Motion, Nicolas Reusens, Spain. A hummingbird feeds from a flower. (Photo by Nicolas Reusens/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Bird behaviour, gold winner: Floral Bathtub, Mousam Ray, India. This image was taken at North Bengal Agricultural University in Cooch Behar, West Bengal. (Photo by Mousam Ray/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Bird behaviour, silver winner: The Face of Death, Massimiliano Apollo, Italy. In northern Italy in late summer, prior to migrating south, purple herons try to feed as much as possible and take advantage of the abundance of prey present in the rice fields. (Photo by Massimiliano Apollo/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Black and white, gold winner: Chinstrap Penguin, Renato Granieri, United Kingdom. A single chinstrap penguin on top of a giant iceberg. (Photo by Renato Granieri/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Black and white, silver winner: Feather Light, James Rogerson, United Kingdom. A preening northern gannet. (Photo by James Rogerson/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Urban birds, gold winner: Dipper On Shopping Trolley, Terry Whittaker, United Kingdom. A white-throated dipper nests under an old road bridge in Greater Manchester. (Photo by Terry Whittaker/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Urban birds, silver winner: Lockdown, William Steel, South Africa. A karoo prinia searching for insects on a security gate in South Africa. (Photo by William Steel/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Creative imagery, gold winner: Sprats and Bread, Ruediger Schulz, Germany. (Photo by Ruediger Schulz/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Creative imagery, silver winner: Funnel, Kathryn Cooper, United Kingdom. Between November and March, tens of thousands of common starlings migrate to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Potteric Carr nature reserve. (Photo by Kathryn Cooper/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Portfolio award, winner: Puffins: Wing Stretch, Kevin Morgans, United Kingdom. (Photo by Kevin Morgans/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Portfolio award, winner: Puffins: Lost in Thought, Kevin Morgans, United Kingdom. (Photo by Kevin Morgans/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Conservation award, gold winner: Hargila Army: Beautiful Scavengers, Carla Rhodes, US. Towering at 1.5 metres tall and with a wingspan of 2.5 metres, greater adjutants are the most endangered species of stork on the planet. These birds were pictured in Assam in north-east India where they live on a landfill site. (Photo by Carla Rhodes/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


Conservation award, gold winner: Hargila Army: Beautiful Scavengers, Carla Rhodes, US. Workers sorting garbage at the Boragaon landfill in Guwahati in north-east India where the greater adjutant storks live. (Photo by Carla Rhodes/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


14–17 years, gold winner and young bird photographer of the year: Black Grouse Lekking at Sunrise, Levi Fitze, Switzerland. (Photo by Levi Fitze/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)


9–13 years, gold winner: In the Woodland, Andrés L Domínguez Blanco, Spain. This Eurasian nuthatch regularly uses the trunk of a Portuguese oak as a route to go down to drink. (Photo by Andres Dominguez Blanco/2021 Bird Photographer of the Year)

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