Bird Photographer Of The Year 2021 Releases Award Winners—Showing Birds Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before

(©Mousam Ray/Bird Photographer of the Year)
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp

By Michael Wing

They flock to visit exotic lotus ponds to take extravagant baths in India. They frolic upon the ice shelves in the extreme cold of the Antarctic southern hemisphere. They are your neighbors coming to visit you, wet their whistles, and sing sweetly to you in your own backyard.

They are our dear feathered friends, birds, whose lives—filled with flight, feathers, spectacular colors, dappled eggs, and the sweetest songs—intersect with people’s in all parts of the world.

Photographers make good use of this intersection between birds and humans by snapping windows into their wonderful and often spectacular worlds—new advances in digital photography let us peek into that realm in ways previously unimaginable in the age of film. Such insight into our avian fellows’ beauty—in the way they soar, build nests, mate, and dance—as well as humor in their sometimes odd or hilarious behavior, can forge an enduring bond with us and foster their protection.

Winner of the Portfolio Award: “Wing Stretch” by Kevin Morgans, United Kingdom. A beautifully backlit puffin depicted in the gold hues of sunset in the Shetland archipelago/ Fair Isle. (©Kevin Morgans/Bird Photographer of the Year)

For all of the above reasons and more, the Bird Photographer Of The Year competition each year seeks to celebrate, as well as conserve, the lives of birds by showcasing some of the most excellent shots taken of them from across the globe. And this year’s competition, 2021, yielded a plethora of submissions—from that exotic Indian bird bath, to Mexico, and beyond.

Now that the winners have been released, the “Photographer of the Year” receiving a 5,000 pound (approx. US$6,600) award, The Epoch Times is pleased to feature our top picks from among the several categories—from “Best Portrait” to “Bird Behavior.”

So without further ado, enjoy voyaging into the lovely realm of birds through these world-class photos:

Best Portrait

“Underwater Portrait” by Felipe Foncueva, Spain. This underwater image of a brown pelican was taken off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, near the mouth of the Tarcoles River, where there are small fishing villages. (©Felipe Foncueva/Bird Photographer of the Year)
“Sing Heartily” by Maofeng Shen, China. Cranes on the vast grasslands of Keshiketeng during June mating season in Inner Mongolia. (©Maofeng Shen/Bird Photographer of the Year)

Birds in the Environment

“Claiming the Forest Floor” by Joshua Galicki, United States of America. A male ovenbird singing on top of a fallen log, staking a claim to a breeding territory shortly after arriving from a lengthy migration to the northeast United States. (©Joshua Galicki/Bird Photographer of the Year)
“Yellow-billed Oxpecker with Cape Buffalo” by Barbara Fleming, United States of America. A yellow-billed oxpecker chatters constantly as it flies in and out of a Cape buffalo herd. (©Barbara Fleming/Bird Photographer of the Year)

Attention to Detail

“Growing Up” by Raymond Hennessy, United States of America. A tiny common loon chick is dwarfed by the large bill of the adult next to it. (©Raymond Hennessy/Bird Photographer of the Year)

Bird Behavior

“Floral Bather” by Mousam Ray, India. A female crimson sunbird bathes in the water stored in a banana flower petal in Cooch Behar, West Bengal. (©Mousam Ray/Bird Photographer of the Year)
“The Face of Death” by Massimiliano Apollo, Italy. A purple heron takes advantage of the abundance of prey present in the rice fields in late summer in northern Italy, prior to migrating south. (©Massimiliano Apollo/Bird Photographer of the Year)

Birds in Flight

“Thirsty” by Tzahi Finkelstein, Israel. A common swift captured in flight while taking a sip of water. (©Tzahi Finkelstein/Bird Photographer of the Year)
“First Come, First Served” by Hannes Lochner, South Africa. The moment when two southern yellow-billed hornbills chase after the same insect in a midair competition. (©Hannes Lochner/Bird Photographer of the Year)

Black and White

“Chinstrap Penguin” by Renato Granieri, United Kingdom. A single chinstrap penguin on top of a giant iceberg in Antarctica. (©Renato Granieri/Bird Photographer of the Year)

Urban Birds

“Dipper on Shopping Trolley” by Terry Whittaker, United Kingdom. A pair of white-throated dippers nest under an old road bridge on the edge of a town center in Greater Manchester. (©Terry Whittaker/Bird Photographer of the Year)
“The Guardians” by Paolo Crocetta, Italy. A pair of feral pigeons on an impressive bridge in Padua in northern Italy. (©Paolo Crocetta/Bird Photographer of the Year)

Creative Imagery

“Sprats and Bread” by Ruediger Schulz, Germany. A kingfisher with a “photogenic” tin of fish and a bread perch composed photographically and then edited with Nik Color Efex Pro4. (©Ruediger Schulz/Bird Photographer of the Year)

Portfolio Award

“Standing in the Rain” by Kevin Morgans, United Kingdom. A puffin captured during a rainfall in the Shetland archipelago/ Fair Isle. (©Kevin Morgans/Bird Photographer of the Year)

9–13 Years

“In the Woodland” by Andrés L. Domínguez Blanco, Spain. A Eurasian nuthatch uses a trunk of a Portuguese oak as a route to go down to drink. (©Andrés L. Domínguez Blanco/Bird Photographer of the Year)
“Diggin’ for Dinner” by Ian Henderson, Ecuador. A woodpecker finch in the Galapagos Islands uses a tool to capture food. (©Ian Henderson/Bird Photographer of the Year)

14–17 Years

“Mid-Air Catch” by Daniel Zhang, United Kingdom. A toad appears to be jump into a hamerkop’s mouth in Zimanga Private Game Reserve in South Africa. (©Daniel Zhang/Bird Photographer of the Year)

Young Bird Photographer of the Year

“Morning Lek” by Levi Fitze, Switzerland. A black grouse lekking at sunrise in the Alps. (©Levi Fitze/Bird Photographer of the Year)

Bird Photographer of the Year

“Blocked” by Alejandro Prieto, Mexico. A greater roadrunner approaches the border wall at Naco, Arizona. (©Alejandro Prieto/Bird Photographer of the Year)

Share your stories with us at, and continue to get your daily dose of inspiration by signing up for the Epoch Inspired newsletter at

Michael Wing is a writer and editor based in Calgary, Canada, where he was born and educated in the arts. He writes mainly on culture, human interest, and trending news.

Subscribe for Newsletter

Sign up to receive important news avoided by other media.

Scroll to Top