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Jaw-dropping winners at the 2020 bird photographer of the year awards

Flutter speed! Cheeky hummingbirds, camouflaged owls and a stunning hoopoe in flight are among the jaw-dropping winners at the 2020 bird photographer of the year awards

Bird Photographer of the Year has announced its 2020 winner for the fifth year of the prestigious competition’s running. 

The judging team said that most of the 15,000 images entered into the competition are ‘of an amazing standard,  sufficient eye-candy to feed even the most visually gluttonous’. 

But only one person can take the title bird photographer of the year 2020 and this year it was Majed Ali for his impressionistic image of a European Shag taken in Vardø, Norway. 

Majed’s picture, entitled End of the Day, won the Kuwaiti photographer £5,000 and his new, esteemed title. 

The photograph also won Best Portrait category of the competition and for that he won a pair of Swarovski Optik binoculars. 

Majed Ali’s End of the Day photograph, showing a European Shag taken in Vardø, Norway,  won Best Portrait Gold Winner And Overall Winner Of Bird Photographer Of The Year 2020

Majed said: ‘I was thrilled to receive the news that I had won the prestigious award Bird Photographer of the Year 2020. 

‘It was also wonderful to receive the news about the conservation drive being undertaken by BPOTY and the launch of its charity owner Birds on the Brink. 

‘It is great news to think that the artistry of my image will not only inspire fellow photographers but will also help spread the conservation message far and wide.’

The competition’s judging team said: ‘To win this competition it takes a very special photograph. 

‘Technical perfection is simply not enough; it is the imaginative eye and a mind that seeks out the unusual and the artistic in the everyday that will do well.  

‘Create a photograph that makes us sick with envy or cry out with uncontained excitement, then you are in with a chance. 

‘When that collective shout from the judges is: “I wish I had taken that myself”, then you are onto a winner. 

‘Well done Majed.’ 

Creative Imagery 

Winning images in this category often include those that are taken using creative camera techniques such as slow shutter speeds and panning for fast-moving birds.

As opposed to other categories where there are rules about digital editing the competition ‘actively encourages you to use your skills and imagination to create images utilising the full potential of today’s modern digital darkroom techniques’. 

UK photographer James Hudson’s Mandarin Abstract was the competition’s Creative Imagery Gold Winner

Terje Kolaas, from Norway, took Phalarope Reflections and won Creative Imagery Silver

Chengbo Sun, from China, won Creative Imagery Bronze with Make-Up

Best Portrait 

This category looks for pictures that ‘best captures the character of the subject bird and its distinctive features’. 

The judges look for detail, poses, diagnostic features or behaviour.  

Greg Lecoeur, from France, was Best Portrait Silver Winner for his photograph, Cormorant Underwater View

Best Portrait Bronze Winner – ‘A Dipper In The Mirror’ by Terje Kolaas, Norway

Young Bird Photographer Of The Year 

  This category is ‘the encouragement and recognition of the younger generation of birders and photographers’.

Ismael Domínguez Gutiérrez, from Spain, aged 11, won  was the Young Bird Photographer Of The Year 9-13 Years Old Winner for Back-Lighting, showing a Crested Tit in Grazalema, Andalusia, Spain

‘Asian Green Bee-Eater Pair won seven-year-old Deeksha Diya Sambath, from India Young Bird Photographer Of The Year 0-8 Years Old

17-year-old Adam Lake, from the UK, won Young Bird Photographer Of The Year 14-17 Years Old

Attention To Detail 

 This category ‘focuses on the smaller details of a bird’. 

The judges look for images that portray parts of birds people would not usually see in everyday circumstances.   

Attention To Detail Gold was won by Moshe Cohen, from Israel, for Perfect Camouflage

The Attention To Detail Silver Winner was Mathias Putze, from Germany, for Rainbow Of The Forest

Francis De Andrés, from Spain, won Attention To Detail Bronze for Gannet Flower

Birds In The Environment 

Birds in the Environment is an opportunity for photographers to show the relationship between the bird and the space in which the bird is usually found.  

Swifts Over Iguazu Fall won Italian Francesco Filippo Pellegrini Birds In The Environment Gold

Hawk Owl In A Mountain Forest won Pål Hermansen, from Norway, Birds In The Environment Silve

Swayamsiddha Mohapatra, from India, won Bronze for A New Beginning

Birds in Flights 

Judges look for ‘knowledge and control of the camera settings to freeze the action or introduce motion blur’ in Birds in Flights photographs. 

They want photographers to take advantage of the  digital technology of today that have ‘revolutionised flight photography’.  

Hoopoe Flight At Low Speed was taken by Gadi Shmila, from Israel, and won gold in the Birds in Flights category

The Birds In Flights Silver Winner was ‘Touch And Go’ by Nikos Fokas, from Greece

Chinese Sanmenxia, Henan, won Birds in Flight Bronze for ‘Fairy Landing On Earth

 Black and White

This is a new category introduced this year to ‘celebrate the simplicity and drama of the monochrome image’ despite the fact that many birds are extremely colourful.  

‘Single Room Available’ by Robert Sommer, from Germany, won Black and White Gold

Swedish Daniel Stenberg won Black and White Silver for Great Grey Owl

Pyrography by Juan Pablo Plaza Pozo, from Spain, won Black and White Bronze

Bird Behaviour 

Judges have said photographs in this category should ‘invoke an emotional response’ by ‘depicting the unique aspects of bird behaviour’.

Nutcrackers Fighting In The Snow by Roelof Molenaar, from the Netherlands, won Gold in Bird Behaviour 

The Bird Behaviour Silver winner was Greg Lecoeur, from France, for Feeding Frenzy

Ropewalker by Swedish Nicolas Reusens won Bronze

 Garden and Urban Birds

This category ‘celebrates the relationship between birds and people’ and looks for creative representations of how the two co-exist. 

Magdaléna Straková, from the Czech Republic, won Garden and Urban Birds gold for Photobombing A Game

The Old Ship won Spanish photographer silver

Electric, by Spanish Carlos Cifuentes, won bronze

Best Portfolio 

Judges looks at entries of groups of six photographs and award best portfolio to the group that ‘showcases diversity of technique while demonstrating consistency of skill and talent’.

Georgina Steytler, from Australia, won Best Portfolio for The Preen and her other photos

Pacific Gull Blur

On The Run

On the Attack

White on White

The Shake

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