The results from our 2017 Animal Behaviour photo contest.
- Winner: Tibor Kércz
A kingfisher grabs its prey from a small pond. I captured this image on a rainy, dark midsummer morning. I used four off-camera remote-controlled radio-triggered flashes.
- Runner-Up: Lorenzo Mittiga
The Green Iguana
A green iguana takes a breath after venturing into a semi-submerged cave on the island of Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean. Green iguanas are everywhere on the island, they are part of every house's garden and pool. It is known that they swim and dive in the ocean, but are rarely seen while in the water. Very inquisitive on land, the green iguanas are shy in the water. Waiting for two hours in the dark cave, I was rewarded with this unique shot.
- Runner-Up: Greg Lecoeur
I captured this image in Scotland. During summertime, gannets hunt pelagic fish like mackerel by diving into the sea from a height of 30 metres, achieving speeds of 100 kilometres per hour as they strike the water and pursue their prey underwater. With the fall in fish stocks, gannet birds have to fight against food competition for their survival. Camera: Nikon D7200 with Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens. Housing: Nauticam Housing. Strobe: two Ikelite strobes. Exposure: 1/320s at f/11, ISO 200.
- Highly Commended: Younghun Kan
Yellow Goby and Squid Eggs
The world of small creatures in the sea is mysterious. I usually photograph small aquatic creatures with a length of one to two centimetres. I was able to photograph rare aquatic creatures during my time in Lembeh, Indonesia.
- Highly Commended: Arnfinn Johansen
The young cheetahs played with this Thomson's gazelle calf for almost 45 minutes before finishing it off. Going through my 1,467 images shows that the calf escaped and got caught again 27 times. They even had him in the stream, which is why he is wet, and two times they dragged him out from under the safari vehicle were he tried to escape. He really tried to save his life this poor little one, but in the end he became the cheetahs' morning snack. Life is hard, and then you die... The photograph was taken in Maasai Mara, Kenya in November 2017 on safari with guides from Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp. The photograph was taken with a Nikon D5 and a Nikkor 600/4E lens, with an exposure of 1/1250sec at f/4 and ISO 360.
- Highly Commended: Pratik Pradhan
Art of Survival
I shot this image in some riverside vegetation in my hometown. I was surprised to see that a weaver ant was carrying a very large caterpillar towards its nest. Their ability to hold a huge weight many times its own body weight is indeed a miracle to witness. As the evening light was disappearing very quickly I started shooting with flash. While the ant was passing by, I positioned a large leaf behind it and back-lit the scene using a speedlite. I had to execute the image very quickly, because within a few seconds the ant entered into thick vegetation, stopping me from taking any more photos. I liked the cartoon-like visuals created by backlighting the scene. The image was taken with a Canon 7D, a 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, and a Canon 430 EX II flash.
- Highly Commended: Giovanni Frescura
A hoopoe made its nest in a wine barrel in the garden of my country house. I used a mobile hide and spent a lot of time trying to take the right shot. I was very happy when I captured this one. It was very difficult because it was taken using manual focus, with a Canon 1D MK IV camera on a tripod, a Canon 300mm f/2.8 lens, with an exposure of 1/3500s, f/3.2 and ISO 800.
- Highly Commended: Nicholas Wei Cheng Tan
The Perfect Circle
An armadillo girdled lizard holds its tail in its mouth and rolls up in defence, protecting itself from approaching predators with the thick, spiny scales on its back and tail, resembling an armadillo.
- Highly Commended: Vegard Lødøen
Red Deer Crossing a River
I have been thinking about this picture for many years, and I have tried and failed again and again to capture it. The Norwegian deers are very smart and sceptical. This picture was taken in the middle of the night on the 5th of December 2017 in Valldal, which is my hometown. No bait was used. I used a waterproof case and two flashes. I also have used a motion detector to trig the camera at the right moment. The photograph was taken with a Nikon D500, a Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens at 14mm, with an exposure of 1/200s, f/10 and ISO 400.
- Highly Commended: Ramesh Chandar
The Great Escape
The sun had already set when this Caspian tern turned up to patrol the almost dark pond. My camera had been packed away and I was already leaving, but I quickly unpacked and crouched behind some trees hoping that ISO 5000 might be good enough to expose the tern in the dark. The tern patrolled for a while and captured a fish despite the dark conditions. Its joy of a juicy dinner was short-lived when the fish struggled free and dropped back into the water. Such an event just never happens with terns and it reminds me of the movie, The Great Escape.
- Highly Commended: Javier Lobon-Rovira
Baby Cobra Territory
The Egyptian cobra (Naja haje) is distributed along north Africa, west Morocco being one of the biggest population hotspots of this species. Juveniles are born with the black head and yellow body. The black coloration increases over time until it the whole body is covered in black. In Morocco, Aisawa culture persecuted these animals for mystical and religious ceremonies. Nowadays, this persecution is still happening, but due to tourism. In the last few years, a new threat has been causing their population to decrease - poaching for terrariums. Habitat destruction is also adversely impacting their conservation. The survival of their population is only in our hands.
- Highly Commended: Syed Hussnain Raza Kazmi
The Indian river tern (Sterna aurantia), or simply "river tern", is a tern within the family Laridae. This species breeds from March through to May in colonies in less accessible areas such as river sandbanks. It nests in a "ground scrape", often on bare rock or sand, and lays three greenish-grey eggs, which are blotched and streaked with brown. This is a medium-sized tern, 38–43 cm long with dark grey upperparts, white underparts, a forked tail with long flexible streamers, and long pointed wings. The bill is yellow and the legs red. It has a black cap in breeding plumage. In the winter the cap is greyish white, flecked and streaked with black, there is a dark mask through the eye, and the tip of the bill becomes dusky.
Congratulations to the featured photographers and a big thank you to all who entered! Thank you also to the generous support of our contest sponsors: