Bird Photographer of the Year is back, and with thousands of entires from over 50 countries, the winning images span borders, seasons and species!

Pink flamingos feed their young along Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Image: Alejandro Prieto Rojas/BPOY

collaboration between the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and Nature Photographers Ltd, the competition not only highlight spectacular avian images, but also aims to bolster bird conservation efforts. This year's entry fees brought in over $7,000, which was used to help support programmes for young birders and naturalists.

"I'm really proud to have BTO involved with this project, which has delivered such a positive conservation message," says CEO Andy Clements. 

The grand-prize-winning image, which features pink flamingos feeding their chicks, was shot by Alejandro Prieto Rojas in Rio Lagartos, Mexico. This swathe of the Yucatan is home to Mexico's largest flamingo flock, a population of over 40,000 birds. The rosy roost has been the subject of countless photos over the years, but head judge Chris Packham explains it was the combination of colour, composition and emotion in Rojas's shot that secured him the win.

"It was a tough job for the judging panel to whittle down the entries to a handful from which to choose the winners," he says. "Albeit a very enjoyable tough job. The standard of photography was extremely high and myself and the other judges were treated to some fantastic bird photographs." 

The Pacific black duck's most identifiable feature is the iridescent speculum feathers, which are often only visible during preening or flight (left). After the Kingfisher caught this fish by spearing it with its beak, it flew to a nearby branch, threw back its head and tossed the fish into the air (right). Images: Georgina Steytler,Vince Burton/BPOY
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To its prey, the snowy owl is a silent predator, approaching like a ghost. Image: Markus Varesvuo/BPOY
A Cape glossy starling takes a bath in a drinking station. Image: Mohammad Murad/BPOY
A group of whooper swans photographed in a huge snow storm. Image: Wim van den Heever/BPOY
"Trying to photograph red kites in a new unseen way is very tricky," says photographer Jamie Hall, who photographed this red kite in the UK. "I was with a friend in the Chilterns and thought about this idea after watching the kites swoop down to pick off worms and grubs that were in the grasses after a recent rain shower. This image was achieved by setting up the camera next to a dead red worm, and sitting back and waiting for a bird to stoop to grab it. I fired the camera with a remote control from about 40 metres away. The kite never actually touched the ground. The shape and detail in each feather as the kite puts on the brakes is amazing!" Image: Jamie Hall/BPOY
Barn owl hunts voles and small rats over a Suffolk farm. Image: Jamie Hall/BPOY
The great grey owl weaves through snow and light in winter’s darkness. Kuusamo, Finland. Image: Markus Varesvuo/BPOY
The autumn migration of cranes moves through Odra Valley, Western Poland. Image: Piotr Chara/BPOY
Andean condor in flight over mountain peaks in Chile. Image: Ben Hall/BPOY
Detail of a cormorant wing. Image: Tom Hines/BPOY
Gray heron takes a topsy-turvy look in Hungary. Image: Ahmad Alessa/BPOY
"This [willow grouse] and I spent an afternoon in each other's company," says photographer Markus Varesvuo. "It moved around feeding on the shrub and berries, but never far, allowing me to photograph it as I was going about my business quietly and calmly." Image: Markus Varesvuo/BPOY

For those of you who need more feathered nature zen in your life, a full 256-page competition book is also available online. And if you're a bird enthusiast yourself, the 2018 competition is open for entries! 


Top header image: Weber Marc/BPOY