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The winners of the 2023 BirdLife Australia Photography Awards have been announced and we're thrilled to share the captivating moments captured by some of Australia’s best bird photographers.

This year, the competition received over 6,000 entries and selected nine winners of each category from a shortlist of 68 photos. The categories were "Backyard Birds", "Bird Behaviour", "Bird Portrait", "Birds in Flight", "Birds in the Landscape", "Special Theme (Wading Birds of The Australian Floodplains)", "Youth" and "Human Impact".

Scroll down to discover the impressive images!

More info: birdlifephotoaward.org.au | birdlife.org.au | Instagram | twitter.com | Facebook

#1

Birds In Flight: "Fingertips" By Kate Burgess (Winner)

Birds In Flight: "Fingertips" By Kate Burgess (Winner)

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Wentworth Falls, NSW

"Being able to capture both the 'fingertips' of the feathers in flight and the cockatoo's head and feet in the background makes this a magical image for me. Shooting in burst mode enabled me to capture just the right composition."

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The judges of this year's competition were Michael Snedic, Tim van Leeuwen, Josh Galicki, Lia Bocchiaro, Georgina Steytler, Charles Davis, and Shelley Pearson.

Among the winners are "Song of the Superb" by Nikki Kenwrick, "Pollen Shower" by Guy Draper, "Piercing" by Colin Driscoll, "Fingertips" by Kate Burgess, "Morning! Time to Get Moving" by Veronica McPhail, "Curlew Construction Consideration" by Gregory Abbott, "Jambalaya on the Bayou" by Jason Moore and "Wings Spread" by Tai M.

#2

Bird Behavior: "Have You Heard The One About..." By Franciscus Scheelings (Shortlist)

Bird Behavior: "Have You Heard The One About..." By Franciscus Scheelings (Shortlist)

Little Corella, La Trobe University, Vic

"While doing a bit of birding at the La Trobe University wetlands I noticed a large flock of Little Corellas on one of the ovals with several pairs rolling around in the grass. I got down as low as I could to fire off some shots and managed to get this photo of what looks like a couple of old friends sharing a hilarious joke."

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alixpitcher avatar
Powerful Katrinka
Community Member
3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I think these guys have had quite enough of whatever they're drinking.

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#3

Backyard Birds: "Petals Of Light" By Nathan Watson (Shortlist)

Backyard Birds: "Petals Of Light" By Nathan Watson (Shortlist)

New Holland Honeyeater, Albany, WA

"We have a small Lilac Tree in the garden that grows in front of our living room window. Its branches are favorite perches for our resident New Holland Honeyeaters. In the evening they come and go from the perch, and I noticed our dining room feature light was visible through the window behind them. Knowing their perching habits gave me an opportunity to compose a portrait late in the evening with the light as a feature of the photo. The out-of-focus light resembles the form of a flower, creating a unique but appropriate backdrop for this nectar-loving bird."

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According to the organizers, the competition is open to people of any nationality. However, photographers may only submit photos of Australian bird species and they must have been taken in Australia or its offshore territories.

#4

Birds In Flight: "Leapfrog" By Jason Moore (Shortlist)

Birds In Flight: "Leapfrog" By Jason Moore (Shortlist)

Rainbow Bee-eater, Perth, WA

"The classical flight shot of the Rainbow Bee-eater is the front on, wings spread "portrait". I thought this side on perspective offered the viewer something a little unusual. I'm fond of the lighting in this image. The subject and perch are shrouded in shadow, but the distant background is being lit by sunlight, which has created a contrast between cool and warm colours which I find quite attractive."

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#5

Bird Portrait: "Yin And Yang" By James Bowden (Shortlist)

Bird Portrait: "Yin And Yang" By James Bowden (Shortlist)

Australian Magpie, Mt Macedon, Vic

"This Magpie is actually a dear friend of mine and often visits me at the backdoor of my Mum's place. We play a game where we bob our heads from side to side, either side of an upright post. One day, I thought I'd take my camera out with me, and this was the photo that resulted. Despite his friendly and playful nature, he looks classically evil. For me, the black and white feathers of the Magpie represent the Yin and Yang. The concept is that all things exist as inseparable and contradictory opposites. We wouldn't know light without dark, happiness without sadness, life without death. When it comes to Magpies, despite their intelligence in interacting with humans, and beautiful song, they're mostly known for their aggressive swooping during breeding season. Though if we look beyond their aggression, we realize they're just protecting their family. They swoop with courage. They swoop with love. But they also swoop with fear. And this reminds us of the inextricable link between love and fear, Yin and Yang."

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#6

Youth: "Rim-Lit Robin" By D'artagnan Sprengel (Shortlist)

Youth: "Rim-Lit Robin" By D'artagnan Sprengel (Shortlist)

Scarlet Robin, Lake Leschenaultia, WA

"Walking around the lake at sunrise, I came across this Scarlet Robin flitting around in the trees. I positioned myself so the bird lined up with a tree in the background as I didn't want a silhouette, and I underexposed the image a little. Which allowed me to retain detail in the brighter parts of the photo, and avoid blowing out the beautiful rim lighting around the bird and the sun filtering through the trees."

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#7

Wading Birds Of The Australian Floodplains: "Water Trails" By Rebecca Harrison (Shortlist)

Wading Birds Of The Australian Floodplains: "Water Trails" By Rebecca Harrison (Shortlist)

Little Egret, Mandurah, WA

"A Little Egret takes off gracefully, leaving a sparkle of water droplets in its wake."

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"BirdLife Photography provides both a forum and resource for photographers, bird observers and the public to enhance their knowledge and appreciation of birds through the medium of photography."

#8

Birds In The Landscape: "Caped Crusader" By Veronica Mcphail (Shortlist)

Birds In The Landscape: "Caped Crusader" By Veronica Mcphail (Shortlist)

Australasian Darter, South Perth Jetty, WA

"The Darters jostle for a perch on the jetty - this one got lucky and stayed around long enough for me to crouch down low for this photo."

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#9

Birds In The Landscape: "Waiting For Uber Delivery" By Veronica Mcphail (Shortlist)

Birds In The Landscape: "Waiting For Uber Delivery" By Veronica Mcphail (Shortlist)

Nankeen Night-Heron, South Perth, WA

"I saw something moving from inside the car, spontaneously I decided to stop and get out and take a look. The Nankeen Night Heron was highlighted by the headlights. I had perhaps only a few seconds before it flew off but managed to get this shot."

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obrenovicmarijela avatar
Dark Pearl
Community Member
3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR MY UBER FOR HALF AN HOUR! WHEN WILL IT ARRIVE? IS IT COMING FROM MELBOURNE? (and yes I did Google a city map of Australia for one shoddy joke)

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#10

Human Impact: "Anguish" By Kim Wormald (Shortlist)

Human Impact: "Anguish" By Kim Wormald (Shortlist)

Little Pied Cormorant, Braeside Park, Vic

"This was such a heart-wrenching situation, not only the adult's anguish at being entangled in nylon filament but also the juvenile's desperation as it tries to free its parent. I called a specialist rescue service that was unable to save this bird."

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#11

Wading Birds Of The Australian Floodplains: "Jambalaya On The Bayou" By Jason Moore (Winner)

Wading Birds Of The Australian Floodplains: "Jambalaya On The Bayou" By Jason Moore (Winner)

White-faced Heron, Perth, WA

"The somewhat messy, but beautifully colored background inspired the title of this image. For those of you who don't know, The Carpenters released a hit song in the '70s called Jambalaya on the Bayou. It was a happy song with a tuneful beat, and it spoke of life on the Bayou... my thoughts of a Bayou include water everywhere, flooded cypress trees with Spanish Moss hanging from their branches, and swampland with wading birds..."

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#12

Bird Portrait: "Piercing" By Colin Driscoll (Winner)

Bird Portrait: "Piercing" By Colin Driscoll (Winner)

Australasian Darter, Lake Macquarie, NSW

"Just at sunset, a female Australasian Darter looks up from preening after her final successful fishing session for the day. These birds are so angular it is difficult to get an interesting composition. This shot captures what these birds do underwater. One can imagine this is the last thing a fish sees as the long neck launches that bill piercing it like a spearfisher would."

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#13

Youth: "Sugar Addict" By D'artagnan Sprengel (Shortlist)

Youth: "Sugar Addict" By D'artagnan Sprengel (Shortlist)

Australian Ringneck, Yanchep National Park, WA

"Sitting down to eat lunch at Yanchep National Park, we were soon joined by this Australian Ringneck Parrot. Whenever other people had finished eating and got up to leave, this Parrot would fly down onto the table, grab the sugar sachet the people had left behind, then expertly rip into the bag and lick the sugar out. The bird did this repeatedly, with many different tables, so I took the opportunity to capture a couple of portraits of the bird. This image highlights a problem, but with a quite simple fix, instead of giving everyone a sugar with their coffee or tea, just ask if they want one when ordering, then there wouldn't be any lying around for the wildlife to get."

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#14

Bird Behavior: "Gang-Gang Jibber Jabber" By Ben Harvey (Shortlist)

Bird Behavior: "Gang-Gang Jibber Jabber" By Ben Harvey (Shortlist)

Gang-gang Cockatoo, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra, ACT

"I was running back inside to avoid the incoming rain when I came across these Gang Gangs who were investigating a possible future nesting hollow. A Currawong swooped by which sent these usually quiet birds into a flurry of raucous screeching, the rain adding to the craziness! I love their alert crests, adding to the character of the birds, and the falling rain catching the backlight against the trees. I got a little drenched, but the results were worth it!"

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#15

Bird Behavior: "Bloomsome" By Cheng Kang (Shortlist)

Bird Behavior: "Bloomsome" By Cheng Kang (Shortlist)

White-plumed Honeyeater, Bundoora, Vic

"White-plumed Honeyeaters are extremely fast flying birds and excellent divers but are very timid and unapproachable. I often see them diving into water holes or wetlands to wash their plumage, however, I found catching the moment that Honeyeaters dive to be very challenging especially given how alert and cautious they are of humans. It was so thrilling to capture this spectacular scene after many attempts and a lot of patience."

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#16

Backyard Birds: "Song Of The Superb" By Nikki Kenwrick (Winner)

Backyard Birds: "Song Of The Superb" By Nikki Kenwrick (Winner)

Superb Fairy-wren, Tamworth, NSW

"There are several families of Superb Blue Wrens living at my mother's place, and I often sit and watch them popping around her garden. They are such happy little birds."

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#17

Birds In The Landscape: "Rainbow Bee-Eaters" By Jason Moore (Shortlist)

Birds In The Landscape: "Rainbow Bee-Eaters" By Jason Moore (Shortlist)

Rainbow Bee-eater, Perth, WA

"A small group of Rainbow Bee-eaters were using this branch as a perch to launch feeding sorties. Their target was dragonflies, and two of the birds in this image can be seen with prey in their bills. Rainbow Bee-eaters make attractive backlit subjects because of their elegant lines and transparent flight feathers. In this instance, I felt the silhouetted subjects and delicate finger-like twigs combine nicely to present an image that offers a similar style to a Chinese painting."

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#18

Youth: "Two's Company" By D'artagnan Sprengel (Shortlist)

Youth: "Two's Company" By D'artagnan Sprengel (Shortlist)

Little Corella, Coodanup Foreshore Reserve, WA

"Walking back to the car along the Coodanup Foreshore, I came across a large flock of what I believe were Little Corellas. They were feeding on the ground around the car park. I saw these two perched together on an open branch and thought it would make a cute photo. I composed the image in portrait orientation and chose to overexpose the image to get a nice, clean, white background."

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#19

Birds In The Landscape: "Morning Awakening" By Khoi Bui (Shortlist)

Birds In The Landscape: "Morning Awakening" By Khoi Bui (Shortlist)

Chestnut Teal, Healesville, Vic

"Early morning walks reveal remarkable but momentary combinations of light, atmosphere, and fauna that are challenging to capture as images. This photo shows the antics of local waterbird species, cavorting on the water, as foggy shafts of light pierce the morning. This image caught what was the only time I have seen the atmospheric effects enclosing a normally wide aspect into an intimate theatre. Australian Wood Ducks and Chestnut Teals breed here every year, and animate our lake with cycles of feeding, breeding, and fledging."

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#20

Bird Portrait: "Casso-Unwary" By Gail Yager (Shortlist)

Bird Portrait: "Casso-Unwary" By Gail Yager (Shortlist)

Southern Cassowary, Tully Gorge National Park, Qld

"We were driving in Tully Gorge NP and pulled off the road. To our surprise, this young Southern Cassowary was standing there. He was as curious about us as we were about him - whilst maintaining a safe distance! I love the tilt of his head and the way his casque looks like a cap, which I have emphasized with the way I have cropped the photo."

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markberry1968 avatar
Sleestak
Community Member
3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Don't let the eyes fool you. They'll disembowel you in a heartbeat.

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#21

Bird Behavior: "The Morning Dance" By Lawrence Chan (Shortlist)

Bird Behavior: "The Morning Dance" By Lawrence Chan (Shortlist)

Grey Fantail, Port Melbourne, Vic

"Grey fantails are restless birds and they hardly stop moving. I have long admired their beauty and aerial skill. I have observed the behavior captured in this shot for many years in our local park . After many failed attempts, I eventually caught this bird's mid-air action catching mosquitos. I think the backlit bird against a dark background really highlight the bird's beautiful wings."

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#22

Birds In Flight: "Shrieking Carnaby" By Nathan Watson (Shortlist)

Birds In Flight: "Shrieking Carnaby" By Nathan Watson (Shortlist)

Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo, Narrikup, WA

"For the past three years, I've been visiting a location where endangered Carnaby's Cockatoos flock in their hundreds for six weeks or so. They are drawn in by seasonal grasses that provide a rich source of food. From my repeated visits I've come to better understand their habits and the different lighting opportunities in the area. This past year I could only find time to do one shoot with these Cockatoos, but the knowledge I'd gained from previous years allowed me to plan and take full advantage of my morning with them. Standing beside a roadside fence where the Cockatoos will often perch, I captured a beautiful backlit shot of this female Carnaby's letting out a distinctive shriek as she flew in to land."

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#23

Bird Portrait: "Cockatoo Close-Up" By Kate Burgess (Shortlist)

Bird Portrait: "Cockatoo Close-Up" By Kate Burgess (Shortlist)

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Wentworth Falls, NSW

"The specific focus of this shot on the eyes and surrounding eyelash feathers, along with the adorable stray feather on the right-hand side of the image gives this a unique perspective, with unfocused elements in front (the beak) and the back (the bush). This was taken using the iPhone portrait mode."

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#24

Human Impact: "Crime Scene" By Katherine Firth (Shortlist)

Human Impact: "Crime Scene" By Katherine Firth (Shortlist)

Barn Owl, Finley, NSW

"Sometimes a tragedy needs to be shared. I came across this beautiful Barn Owl dead at the side of the main road through Finley, where the speed zone is 40kph. My daughter and I stared at it for a long while before I took this photograph, feeling moved by the intensity of its gaze, fixed on death. I hope that the image of this crime scene serves as a reminder to watch for wildlife and to slow down."

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#25

Birds In Flight: "Sibling Rivalry" By Emma Parker (Shortlist)

Birds In Flight: "Sibling Rivalry" By Emma Parker (Shortlist)

Common Noddy, Lord Howe Island, NSW

"I travel to Lord Howe Island twice a year, once to see the mating rituals of birds and then later to photograph the fledglings learning new behaviours that will help with survival. Having observed them over a few years, I've learnt that if I dig a hole in the sand and partially bury myself the young Noddys ignore me and go about their natural behaviour. This photo was taken 5 days into a trip in Lord Howe Island with challenging weather conditions including wind, rain and thick fog - I was fortunate this cleared on the last day and I was able to get a few behavioural shots. This was one of my favourites as it was a glimpse into how they hunt as adults - hovering just above the ground or sea and skimming for food."

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#26

Wading Birds Of The Australian Floodplains: "Spear Fishing" By David Stowe (Shortlist)

Wading Birds Of The Australian Floodplains: "Spear Fishing" By David Stowe (Shortlist)

Great Egret, Condobolin, NSW

"A Great Egret raises its catch and walks away to avoid being challenged by other egrets, revealing it's spear-like neck and bill."

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#27

Bird Portrait: "Caught In The Rain" By Jacqui Davey (Shortlist)

Bird Portrait: "Caught In The Rain" By Jacqui Davey (Shortlist)

Little Pied Cormorant, Burradoo, NSW

"The image was taken just as it was getting dark. I had been cycling home when the rain started, and it was getting quite heavy. Nor did I have a rain jacket. However, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take some photographs when I saw this characterful Pied Cormorant, stoic, dejected, and resigned to the conditions. I hadn't taken I tripod so I had to use a reasonably fast shutter speed despite the low light conditions and hold a plastic bag over my camera to try to keep it dry. I liked the mood created by the low light which assisted me in capturing the bright white breast feathers that had clumped together. Had the light been brighter it might have been difficult to prevent them being "blown out" whilst still getting detail in the black feathers. The exposure when taking an image of a black and white bird is often not easy. The bird was defiantly fighting a losing battle to dry off, shaking every so often before it appeared to give up and look to the heavens for divine assistance."

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#28

Birds In Flight: "Where There Is Smoke There Is Fire" By Martin Anderson (Shortlist)

Birds In Flight: "Where There Is Smoke There Is Fire" By Martin Anderson (Shortlist)

Spotted Harrier, Brown Falcon, Richmond, NSW

"While pulled over on the side of the road, I was very lucky to witness this epic fight between a Spotted Harrier and a Brown Falcon. The Spotted Harrier was flying slowly across the field, trying to conceal a Golden-headed Cisticola it had just captured when a Brown Falcon showed up with thievery in mind."

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kiringraphics avatar
KC Lancaster
Community Member
3 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Amazing to watch them fight in the wild over food, trying to do the most they can without getting injured, which is super-smart. Things can escalate, of course, if need be.

#29

Bird Portrait: "The Boss" By Teresa Veal (Shortlist)

Bird Portrait: "The Boss" By Teresa Veal (Shortlist)

Emu, Winton, Qld

"The Emu's facial profile is always so filled with character and is impossible not to fall in love with. In this shot, I have specifically aimed to get as much of a profile/portrait shot as possible and be mindful not to invade its space. This particular Emu was one of a small group and appeared to be the Boss, hence the title."

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#30

Birds In Flight: "Airborne Grebe" By Nathan Watson (Shortlist)

Birds In Flight: "Airborne Grebe" By Nathan Watson (Shortlist)

Great Crested Grebe, Perth, WA

"Great Crested Grebes are most frequently seen in the water, snoozing, diving, courting, or with cute fluffy chicks on their backs. So I was thrilled to see one airborne and capture it in flight when I least expected it. Visiting an urban lake that is well known for these grebes, I chose a position to use the shadows and light, hoping to capture something backlit. I saw two birds flying towards me from the far side of the lake and locking onto one, I tracked it as it flew past and captured it as it banked and its wings caught the morning light."

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Note: this post originally had 68 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.